Monday, March 31, 2008

How the Leftist Churches Set a Time Bomb for the Democrats.

If you've ever wondered why black people in America have had such a hard time rising in society, even after slavery ended in 1865, even after the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s, even after affirmative action tilted the playing field in their favor, the answer has to be found in the doctrines that have been preached to blacks by their most powerful leaders. If Black Liberation Theology is to be believed, blacks can never make it on their own. They have to rely on a separatist, rage-filled ideology, supported whole-heartedly by white Leftist churches.

Common Errors in English.

A fun little website.

Some examples:


The earliest meaning of the word “quick” in English is “alive.” When a baby was first felt to move in its mother’s womb it was considered to have come to life, and this moment was called “quickening.” This original meaning of the word “quick” has now died out except in the phrase “the quick and the dead,” kept alive by the King James translation of Acts 10:42, which speaks of Jesus as judge “of quick and dead,” but even more by the continued recitation of the Apostles’ Creed, which says of Jesus that “he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.”


“Yea” is a very old-fashioned formal way of saying “yes,” used mainly in voting. It’s the opposite of—and rhymes with—“nay.” When you want to write the common casual version of “yes,” the correct spelling is “yeah” (sounds like “yeh” ). When the third grade teacher announced a class trip to the zoo, we all yelled “yay!” (the opposite of “boo”!). That was back when I was only yay big.

People who use this phrase to imply that speed is involved—liveliness rather than aliveness—sometimes get credit for creating a clever pun but more often come off as ignorant.

Memo to SuperDelegates: There is No Frontrunner, the Race is Open.

So, Hillary's ahead in popular vote and electoral votes, in the big states and the states most likely to go Democratic in November. She's ahead in the big states that are critical for Dems in November. Obama's got a small lead in overall pledged delegates and has won more Republican states that have a slim to no chance of going blue in November.

The superdelegates need to consider who will bring it home for Democrats in November. The results so far indicate that person is Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama.

NYT admits frogs not global warming victims.

In 2006, the New York Times published an article headlined "Frog Killer is linked to global warming". However it was not true. The Times now has a half-hearted retraction where the author, Andrew Revkin, goes to great lengths to try to explain the background of the story before he admits that the original article was wrong.

Sadly this is pretty much par for the course.

Big Corn and Ethanol Hoax.

With ethanol, we witness an unholy alliance of agribusiness and the Greens, resulting in a policy that is costly, stupid and not even green.

(John) Calvin and (Thomas) Hobbes.

Few historians know of the heartwarming friendship between French Reformation theologian John Calvin and English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, the latter of whom may or may not have been real, considering he was not even born yet.

Classic Photos in Legos

Richard Widmark, 1914 - 2008.

From Kiss of Death, 1947.

Rest in peace.

Man declared dead, says he feels 'pretty good'.

I think it kinda speaks for itself.

Emergency Call Hilarity.

…But this isn’t the burger I asked for!

More here.

How to speak hip.

How to understand all those crazy beatniks...ya dig?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I hadn't considered this aspect of the whole Spitzer thing.

Thankfully The Onion is on the job.

My Country, Wright and Wrong.

The Reverend Jeremiah Wright thinks that, given their treatment by white America, black Americans have no reason to sing "God Bless America." "The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America," he told his congregation. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human."

I'm not a believer in guilt by association, or the campaign vaudeville of rival politicians insisting this or that candidate disassociate himself from remarks by some fellow he had a 30-second grip'n'greet with a decade ago. But Jeremiah Wright is not exactly peripheral to Barack Obama's life. He married the Obamas and baptized their children. Those of us who made the mistake of buying the Senator's last book, The Audacity Of Hope, and assumed the title was an ingeniously parodic distillation of the great sonorous banality of an entire genre of blandly uplifting political writing discovered circa page 127 that in fact the phrase comes from one of the Reverend Wright's sermons. Jeremiah Wright has been Barack Obama's pastor for 20 years — in other words, pretty much the Senator's entire adult life. Did Obama consider God Damn America as a title for his book but it didn't focus-group so well?

Blackwater Fever.

It’s new, it’s so bad they named it after the hated American mercenaries, because it kills the innocent just like they do. Slamming Blackwater is always fun and really adds some zing to this story suggesting that an Iraqi malaria epidemic is being kept secret. Too bad these moron reporters not only don’t know their subject, they apparently don’t know how to use Google.

Global Warming Appears Nonexistent; Scientists Baffled By Mysterious Disagreement of Real Empirical Evidence with their Crazy-Awesome Computer Models.

"When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything."

-G.K. Chesterton
As we've substantially reduced most of the our genuine pollutants without actually paying much of price for our materialism (that is, without wrecking our economy and all becoming sustenance farmers like all those noble third worlders who have so much wisdom and live so close to the land, at least until they die in their early forties), we had to invent a new pollutant that we couldn't possibly reduce without destroying the Western way of life. This time the new sin would not involve nitrous oxide or sulfur or one of the pollutants we could more or less painlessly eliminate without giving up our wasteful, materialistic shallow lifestyles.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dog prays at Japanese temple

Mimicking his master, priest Joei Yoshikuni, a 1 1/2-year-old black-and-white Chihuahua named Conan joins in the daily prayers at Naha's Shuri Kannondo temple, sitting up on his hind legs and putting his front paws together before the altar.

How to tell the Sciences Apart.

"If it squirms, it’s biology; if it stinks, it’s chemistry; if it doesn’t work, it’s physics; and if you can’t understand it, it’s mathematics."

- Magnus Pyke, scientist (mad scientist, actually)

The Mortgage Crisis , Illustrated.

It's more complicated than I thought.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The element song

Castro's legacy.

Cuba in 1958 outranked most other Latin countries in GDP. It was richer than Singapore. Then with cheers from the world’s left, Fidel Castro turned it into a giant, impoverished prison.

Happy Easter

Peep Show.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Poor Vesa Toskala...

This is what he'll be remembered for.

h/t Ace of Spades

In the interest of fairness...

As a general rule I'm pretty tough on Democrats in general and Nancy Pelosi specifically. It's criticism that I think is more than deserved. While I think I do a fair job of avoiding over the top rhetoric (ala Ann Coulter), a fair criticism of me is that tend to overlook good deeds on the left side of the political spectrum. Fair enough.

The simple truth is that there is no American elected official who has been a more implacable foe of the communist government in Beijing than Nancy Pelosi...and no one has been a better friend to Tibet. She deserves all of our thanks.

Al Qaeda Recruiter Blues.

The truth is this. The al Qaeda volunteers have long been enticed by the prospect of killing American soldiers. That rarely happens, and survivor accounts always make that point, and the fact that al Qaeda is mostly killing Iraqis. Last year, most of the Sunni Arabs turned on al Qaeda, and this has been most difficult for the al Qaeda recruiters to deal with.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Touch 'em all.

Alyssa Milano of all people, has a blog about baseball. While she hasn't updated it in a month, it does make for an interesting read.

Tacitus and Political Correctness in the Roman Empire.

I came across this piece by John M. Ellis on the origins of the "noble savage myth". While Rousseau usually gets the credit/blame for the creation of the cult of the primitive, Mr. Ellis points to a much earlier source-one that should have occurred to me but didn't-Germania which I had always taken at more or less face value. Time for me to go reread Tacitus with a more jaundiced eye.

Those who study German culture, as I do, usually get their first account of the early Germanic peoples from the Roman historian Tacitus, who wrote a short treatise entitled Germania in the first century A.D. By the standards of civilized Rome, the Germans were barbarians, which is what Tacitus calls them; in modern terminology, they were part of the Third World of their day. But in Tacitus' eyes they were quite remarkable people. They seemed to be instinctively democratic; all major affairs were discussed by the entire community, and only minor matters were delegated to chieftains. Even the views of a king were heeded, Tacitus tells us, "more because his advice carries weight than because he has the power to command." Similarly, in war, commanders relied on example rather than on the authority of their rank. These natural egalitarians were apparently not bothered by questions of social standing and power. And if they seemed to have the sin of pride well under control, the sin of greed seemed to give them no problems either: Tacitus notes that "the employment of capital in order to increase it by usury is unknown in Germany."

Nor was sexism one of their vices, for they had a high regard for the opinions of women and treated them with the utmost respect: "They do not scorn to ask their advice, or lightly disregard their replies." In fact, these Germanic tribes, though primitive, exhibited high moral character, a point Tacitus stresses repeatedly, with remarks such as "They live uncorrupted by the temptations of public shows or the excitements of banquets" or "No one in Germany finds vice amusing, or calls it 'up to date' to seduce and be seduced" or "Clandestine love letters are unknown to men and women alike. Adultery is extremely rare." Tacitus' Germans were also brave, honest ... and just about anything else one could wish.

Tacitus sums up his idyllic picture by saying that "good morality is more effective in Germany than good laws are elsewhere." That is, of course, because the Germans were a naturally good people who did not need laws to keep their behavior in check. If Tacitus had been speaking about a tribe that had vanished without a trace, we might simply regret that we had never encountered such a splendid and admirable people. Unfortunately, we actually know a great deal more about those Germans than Tacitus did, and they do not seem so admirable in other recorded accounts. Moreover, Tacitus never actually traveled among them. What is going on here?

That vague word elsewhere in Tacitus' summary, suggesting as it does an unspecified place where people must be governed by laws to keep their depravity in check, gives the game away. It refers, of course, to Tacitus' own society, to the first world of the time: imperial Rome. What Tacitus really has on his mind is less the virtue of Germans than the corruptness of civilized Rome--its sexual depravity, greed, and obsession with rank and conquest.

We are surely familiar with this situation in our own time. A sophisticated man of letters, disillusioned and even embittered by the flaws, inconsistencies, and retrogressions of a great civilization, deludes himself that a world of primitive innocence and natural goodness exists in peoples who are untouched by the advances of that civilization. So intense are his hostile feelings toward his own society that he is unable to see the one he compares it to with any degree of realism: whatever its actual qualities, it is endowed with all of the human values that he misses in his own. Consequently, he sees his own culture not as an improvement on brutish natural human behavior but as a departure from a state of natural goodness. This recurring Western fantasy runs from Tacitus' idealized Germans all the way to such twentieth-century versions as Margaret Mead's sentimentalized Samoans and ultimately to one of the most far-reaching outbreaks of this illusion--the political correctness of our own day.

Quiz: Torture Device or kitchen gadget?

I got all of them right...I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Smash The Running Dogs Of Olympicism!

The fuss over Tibet is getting interesting. I still doubt that a big Olympic flop could bring down the communist government of China, and of course Tibet might be forgotten again a news cycle or two from now, having no oil, and with a population insufficiently barbarous, and a religion insufficiently dogmatic to produce terrorists. Still, a boycott of the opening ceremony by leaders of free nations might actually come off. The French seem to be seriously pondering it.

All sort of other ideas for embarrassing the ChiCom gangsters are buzzing around. Some are suggesting, for example, that athletes simply not show up for the opening ceremonies. (They are not required to by their Olympic contract.) There is also the idea, which I rather like, that an entire national team might shave their heads the night before the ceremony to show solidarity with Tibetan monks and nuns, the bravest and most persecuted of Tibetan patriots.

At the Olympics, the Maoists will be dealing with free people from free nations, and there is only so much they can do to control them. It's not clear they understand this. They've been living for decades in a bubble of unchallenged power, and are not very imaginative. The opportunities for embarrassment are endless, and the prospect of it very delicious to anyone who loves liberty. Personally, I hope their stinking Olympics is a huge fiasco, and I see encouraging signs it may be.

Vintage ads for modern products.

Fun with photoshop.

Lost Liners.

The Queen Mary on her maiden voyage.

A great site on the queens of the ocean and their bygone era.

HMAS Sydney found off Australia's west coast.

The Sydney was lost with all hands after a fierce engagment with the Kormoran, a German naval raider disguised as a Dutch merchant ship, off the coast of Western Australia, in November 1941.
The fate of HMAS Sydney, and why none of its crew survived the battle, remained a mystery, conspiracy theories have flourished.

It has been claimed survivors were machine gunned in the water by the crew of the Kormoran, or that the ship was in fact sunk by a Japanese submarine in an encounter covered up by the Australian government.

It was last seen limping over the horizon, black smoke streaming from its hull and decks, by the crew of the Kormoran.

The German ship, badly damaged during the exchange, also sank but most of its crew of 397 survived.

World Heritage sites built from LEGOS.

Mont St. Michelle in Legos

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Kingsley Amis on drink

Evelyn Waugh's grandson opines on the drinking habits of my favorite novelist.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gov. Paterson admits affair.

Spitzer's replacement in New York has preemptively admitted to past affairs. Check the comments for a joke by Admiral Burns about him not realizing the women weren't his wife...because he's blind.

Mikhail Gorbachev admits he is a Christian.

Apparently Ronald Reagan had always suspected this. Chalk up another one for the Gipper.

Calls Mount for Olympic Ceremony Boycott.

PARIS (AP) - Moves to punish China over its handling of violence in Tibet gained momentum Tuesday, with a novel suggestion for a mini-boycott of the Beijing Olympics by VIPs at the opening ceremony.

Such a protest by world leaders would be a huge slap in the face for China's Communist leadership.

Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke dies aged 90.

Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the science fiction writer, has died aged 90 in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, it was confirmed tonight.

Clarke, who had battled debilitating post-polio syndrome since the 1960s and sometimes used a wheelchair, died at 1:30am after suffering breathing problems, his personal secretary Rohan De Silva said.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Why does Hillary Clinton wear such bad clothes?

Well dressed crazy lady Nancy Pelosi.

This little non-story is zipping around the web today and I almost didn't link to it-I think women in powerful positions have a hard time with fashion. "What do I wear that says I'll bomb you into the stone age while still looking feminine?" I've pretty much a;ways given Hillary a pass on the terrible haircuts and awful pantsuits she's subjected me to over the years. After all who does get that sort of thing right? I mean it's not like Margret Thatcher was a fashion plate.

Then it occurred to me. Nancy Pelosi. Now I'll grant you, Speaker Pelosi is a loony but she is elegantly dressed-ALWAYS. Pelosi manages to be feminine in a pants suit, yet secure in her role and gender. Maybe it's the muted tones, maybe it's the strand of pearls, but she always looks put together.

Sure, Clinton might be gun shy of femininity after National Review Online editor Kathryn Jean Lopez criticized Clinton for showing cleavage while speaking in the Senate about a year ago. But embracing her femininity as Pelosi has, instead of fighting it, might aid some of Hillary's image problem.

Bear Stearns Collapses:

JP Morgan is buying the company, recently valued at well over $100 a share, and selling for over $50 as recently as last Thursday, for $2 a share. Bear Stearns is a victim of the subprime debacle. What's next? Perhaps the collapse of large hedge funds that leveraged their investments in mortgage-backed securities? A similar collapse of a major international bank like Citicorp?

I've said it before (e.g.), and I'll say it again. I simply didn't, and still don't, understand how anyone could have thought that giving people, often people with terrible credit histories, mortgages with no money down and often with no documentation of income--and after an unprecedented increase in prices left the market especially vulnerable to a downturn in prices--was a good idea. Maybe if I had studied for an MBA in Harvard and worked my way up to the top of the investment banking industry it would somehow have made sense to me.

Tibet Protests Spread to Other Provinces.

TONGREN, China (AP) - Protests spread from Tibet into three neighboring provinces Sunday as Tibetans defied a Chinese government crackdown, while the Dalai Lama decried what he called the "cultural genocide" taking place in his homeland.

Demonstrations widened to Tibetan communities in Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces, forcing authorities to mobilize security forces across a broad expanse of western China.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The White Swan Hotel

For those of obsessed by strange mix of tragedy and grandeur that is the RMS Titanic, a small hotel in Alnwick England offers a unique opportunity. RMS Olympic was Titanic's sister ship-in nearly every respect an exact copy of the ill-fated liner. Olympic would give yeoman service to the White Star line until 1935 when she was scrapped. Before the great ship was cut up however, many of her fittings were auctioned off with various pieces being scattered about Britain.
The White Swan Hotel got the lion's share of what remains, including the First Class lounge and the aft Grand Staircase. When it came time to make the film Titanic, the makers of the movie made a pilgrimage to The White Swan, meticulously cataloguing every detail. It's on my list of places to visit the next time I'm the other side of the pond.

The Beat Museum

For Admiral Burns.

The Jeremiah Wright Factor.

[W]hen you're left with the choice of either acknowledging that you had sincere close, personal, and political ties with a minister whose views most Americans find beyond the pale, or defending yourself by using the "hey, I'm just a cynical politician who uses religion to get votes just like anything else, and I don't believe in it any more than I really believe that NAFTA is bad" excuse, I think you may be in for some trouble.

The Evolution of Tech Companies’ Logos.

You’ve seen these tech logos everywhere, but have you ever wondered how they came to be? Did you know that Apple’s original logo was Isaac Newton under an apple tree? Or that Nokia’s original logo was a fish?

Ragdoll Physics.

An oddly fascinating website. Basically it's a falling bikini-clad blond. As she falls she bounces off things. That's pretty much it. If she gets stuck click and drag.

Warning: Possibly Not Safe For Work given her bikini and that she might be construed as...well...dead.

The atheist delusion.

An appropriate post for Palm Sunday.

Contemporary opponents of religion display a marked lack of interest in the historical record of atheist regimes. In The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason, the American writer Sam Harris argues that religion has been the chief source of violence and oppression in history. He recognises that secular despots such as Stalin and Mao inflicted terror on a grand scale, but maintains the oppression they practised had nothing to do with their ideology of "scientific atheism" - what was wrong with their regimes was that they were tyrannies.

But might there not be a connection between the attempt to eradicate religion and the loss of freedom? It is unlikely that Mao, who launched his assault on the people and culture of Tibet with the slogan "Religion is poison", would have agreed that his atheist world-view had no bearing on his policies. It is true he was worshipped as a semi-divine figure - as Stalin was in the Soviet Union. But in developing these cults, communist Russia and China were not backsliding from atheism. They were demonstrating what happens when atheism becomes a political project. The invariable result is an ersatz religion that can only be maintained by tyrannical means.

Problems for the Enron prosecution.

The specter of possible prosecutorial misconduct has been raised regarding the prosecution's destruction of exculpatory evidence in Andy Fastow's government interviews.

I can't say I'm surprised. While I'm a pretty strong law and order type guy and am relatively unsympathetic to white collar criminals-we've seen time and again prosecutors acting in a high handed, often corrupt manner in order to secure high profile convictions. I'm not sure how to fix that. Whether it was Ken Starr, Peter Fitzgerald, Mike Nifong, or Eliot Spitzer justice is poorly served by the relentless pursuit of convictions irrespective of the underlying facts. Prosecutors should be focused on a quest for truth-and I'm not sure how to incentivize that.

Media Obsessions

Overall, the odds that one of America’s 48 million children under age 12 will encounter an adult pedophile at the local park are startlingly remote. The Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute puts it like so: “Right now, 90 percent of our efforts go toward protecting our children from strangers, when what we need to do is to focus 90 percent of our efforts toward protecting children from the abusers who are not strangers.”

That’s a diplomatic way of phrasing the uncomfortable but factually supported truth: that if your child is not molested in your own home — by you, your significant other, or someone else you invited in — chances are your child will never be molested anywhere.

Maybe China Shouldn't Be Hosting The Olympics.

Ya think?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Miracle Play is a Heartbreaker!

My boys were at Conseco Fieldhouse last night to cheer on our Hoosiers and catch the Purdue game as well.

This one will be remembered for quite some time. Watch for yourself...stunning. Can you say "Christian Laettner"?!

The Daily Show: Marines in Berkeley

Friday, March 14, 2008

Why Hillary Is Staying In The Race.

Hillary Clinton is not stupid. She knows perfectly well that she’s not going to catch up with Barack Obama when it comes to delegates or the overall popular vote in the primaries, and that her lead with superdelegates is not at all secure. She’s staying in the race to see what happens — to lengthen it so that there is a chance Obama will implode for some reason or combination of reasons, leaving her to pick up the pieces.

Obama Realizes Wright is Outrageous.

Whoa. It is hardly as if this is the church Obama's parents selected and he inherited. He sought out Wright, was moved by Wright, and is now pretending he had no idea Wright said these things.

Too Sexy for My Burkha

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dan Gaines announces for President!

Photo of Stanley Tucci who slightly resembles Dan Gaines

My buddy Dan-whose blog I clearly need to visit more often because he announced March 4th-is running for President (in 2012...if he gets around to it...he may be taking out the trash that day). I'm uncertain at this time whether I'll be working on his campaign (mostly because I haven't been asked) but once he's elected I'd like to be considered for the post of Lord High Executioner.

Mr. Picasso Head

Try your hand at being a world famous artist. My effort is here.

Hamburger Dress.

I'm sure a psychiatrist would say there's something wrong with me-but this makes me want to put condiments on her.

Recycling Rubbish

I felt for a long time that the principal benefit of recycling is how it makes you feel about yourself-hey it's cheaper than Prozac. The sad truth is that that may be the only benefit in some cases. While recycling has been around a long time and frequently makes a lot of sense, many of the most common forms of recycling are a complete waste of resources.

As Dan Benjamin points out:
Recycling is a long-practiced, productive, indeed essential, element of the market system. Informed, voluntary recycling conserves resources and raises our wealth. In sharp contrast, misleading educational programs encourage the waste of resources when they overstate the benefits of recycling. And mandatory recycling programs, in which people are compelled to do what they know is not sensible, routinely make society worse off. Market prices are sufficient to induce the trashman to come, and to make his burden bearable, and neither he nor we can hope for any better than that.

Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Look Out Sesame Street, Move Over Barney For Kids' Rock

Why bother with Baby Bach when you can Kids' Rock?

GW's Inbox

Messy Desks.

The photos range from "a little cluttered" to "shocking". Even Al Gore gets in on the act.

I left my heart in San Francisco.

A little Tony Bennett.

Shameless Plug.

My friend Amy Hampton who occasionally comments here under pseudonym of "Lady Hampton" has gone into the web design business. She and her husband Brett have a company called Lone Daisy Media (remind me to tease Brett about the name next time I see him). The website isn't finished yet but if anybody needs any web design, I'm sure they'd be happy to help...for a modest fee.

Corruption, foreclosure, a dead dog and a skeleton.

The wife sent me this link. It seems some folks bought the home of their dreams (nightmares?) sight unseen at a foreclosure auction. When they finally entered the place what should they find but a corpse.

Sitting upright in the corner of a bedroom off the kitchen was a human skeleton in a red tracksuit. Next to him lay a dead dog. Neighbors told police the corpse was almost certainly Randy Johnson, a middle-age man who lived alone in the North Kenwood house.

This is why we always get a home inspection kids.

Somehow the fact that this occurred in Chicago doesn't surprise me.

Human Statue of Liberty.

My friend Lady Hampton, sent me this photo along with a snarky little joke about the fine people of Iowa (which if memory serves is her home state). Sadly the joke cannot be reprinted here-not because it's dirty or anything like that, but because I'm the one who tells the jokes here. I'm not going to let some transplanted Iowan make me the straight man at my own blog.
A nun, a priest and a rabbi walk into a bar. The bartender looks at them and says "what is this, a joke?".
Ah...I've got a million of them. Anyway, back to the photograph. I've seen several like this before. They are the amazing work of Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas, a couple of photographers who were working out of Zion Illinois. During the First World War they toured army camps took these photos to help raise funds for war bonds.

David Mamet's epiphany.

David Mamet is perhaps America's greatest living playwright. His works include: Glengarry Glen Ross, Speed-the-Plow, and Oleanna as well as the films The Verdict, About Last Night..., The Untouchables, Hoffa, Wag the Dog and my personal favorite Ronin. He has a new play about politics, the writing of which caused him to question some of his most cherished assumptions about human nature. He wrote an article about it which appears in the current issue of The Village Voice. It's fairly long but worth your time.

Oh... the title for those not yet persuaded is: Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal' .

American Thinker

Newer, safer, and worser!

Eric over at Classical Values bemoans the decline of mousetrap technology.

World’s oldest animation, 5,200 years old.

An Italian team of archaeologists unearthed the bowl goblet in the 1970s from a burial site in Iran’s Burnt City, but it was only recently that researchers noticed the images on the bowl tell an animated visual story.

The oldest cartoon character in the world is a goat leaping to get the leaves on a tree.

Goobees: animated candy action-horror short.

The horrific reality behind the modern candy industry.

Fed Giving Away Your Money To Banks.

March 11 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve, struggling to contain a crisis of confidence in credit markets, plans to lend up to $200 billion in exchange for mortgage-backed securities.

This story has the wife in a frothing rage...seriously. You should have seen it when she found it on the interweb machine. I thought she was going to miscarry then and there. Fortunately she's calmed down a bit, but there were occasional dark mutterings about Ben Bernanke's health during the commercials on American Idol. If the wife is after his scalp, I don't give much for his chances.

The men of VT-8

LCDR John C. Waldron takes off from the USS Hornet for the last time.

Lex has a moving tribute to the men of Torpedo 8. Of the 30 men who led the first wave against the Japanese carriers at Midway, 29 were killed. Watching the slaughter, Admiral Chuichi Nagumo was moved to observe that Americans had died like samurai.

Torpedo 8's sacrifice would have the unintended effect of drawing Japanese fighter cover down to wave top level, allowing American dive bombers to hammer the enemy carriers. Midway would become the most complete naval victory since the battle of Trafalgar.

The Roll of Honor:

Lt. Commander John C. Waldron
Lt. Raymond A. Moore
Lt. James C. Owens, Jr.
Lt.(jg) George M. Campbell
Lt.(jg) John P. Gray
Lt.(jg) Jeff D. Woodson
Ens. William W. Abercrombie
Ens. William W. Creamer
Ens. Harold J. Ellison
Ens. William R. Evans
Ens. Henry R. Kenyon
Ens. Ulvert M. Moore
Ens. Grant W. Teats
Robert B. Miles, Aviation Pilot 1c
Horace F. Dobbs, Chief Radioman
Amelio Maffei, Radioman 1
Tom H. Pettry, Radioman 1
Otway D. Creasy, Jr. Radioman 2
Ross H. Bibb, Jr., Radioman 2
Darwin L. Clark, Radioman 2
Ronald J. Fisher, Radioman 2
Hollis Martin, Radioman 2
Bernerd P. Phelps Radioman 2
As well L. Picou, Seaman 2
Francis S. Polston, Seaman 2
Max A. Calkins, Radioman 3
George A. Field, Radioman 3
Robert K. Huntington, Radioman 3
William F. Sawhill, Radioman 3

The survivor, Ensign George H. Gay, Jr. was awarded the Navy Cross and was a pilot for TWA for thirty years. He died of a heart attack in 1994.

Paterson May Be First Blind NY Governor.

It turns out that New York's current Lt. Governor is legally blind. I had never heard of David Paterson until Eliot Spitzer imploded. He seems like a decent guy.
Even better, he tells blind jokes.
I wish him all the best.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Study: 1 in 4 teen girls has an STD

It's almost enough to make me swear off teenage girls...almost...sigh...sorry I just couldn't resist. Some jokes just write themselves.

Outlook cloudy for Florida Re-Vote.

Unless minds are changed, the DNC will be faced with the choice of either seating a delegation that should vote for Hillary Clinton, given her "win" in Florida, or disenfranchising Florida Democrats. When the rubber meets the road, what option do you really think they will choose?

If I were Barack Obama, I would be seriously worried. Hillary Clinton still possesses a tremendous capability to gum up the works.

Passing Bad Laws.

A short guided tour—by a congressman—of the worst bills in Congress.

1960's CIA Plot to Kill Castro Nears Success.

Talk about a long term strategy.

It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

What’s wrong with Eliot Spitzer is not so much that he praised good things and did bad ones. Most of the items he championed in his various moral campaigns were, when you looked behind the rhetoric, of dubious value. Really, he was a power-hungry, regulation-crazed functionary whose chief sin was to harness the power of the state to destroy his enemies and aggrandize himself.
Apparently Wall Street shares my opinion of the man.
Then there's this.

The saddest thing I ever seen in my life.

Click to enlarge.

More here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Know a Candidate.

John McCain

Where He'd Be If Not Running For President:Dead

Awards:Distinguished Flying Cross (Vietnam War); Silver Star (World War II); Bronze Star (Crimean War)

Saturday Night Live Appearance:Solid

Thoughts On Torture:Doesn't support stuff he couldn't handle

Inspiring Example:Co-sponsored a campaign finance act with Democrat Russ Feingold, the aim of which is to leave every campaigner as broke as McCain and Feingold

Things Change.

There are lots of reasons why things change, but one of them is public policy. Ideas have consequences, even if it sometimes takes a long time for those consequences to become evident.

During my formative years, Scandinavia seemed like a sort of paradise--strong economies, progressive cultures, swimsuits optional. Plus, Scandinavian cities were safe. Whereas American cities, especially New York, were sinking into what many thought was a death-spiral fueled by rising crime rates, Scandinavian cities were virtually crime-free, and you could wander the streets at any time of day or night. Europeans viewed Americans as a lawless and dangerous people.

Things changed, though. American cities, led by Rudy Giuliani's New York, rebounded. In Scandinavia, post-Christian culture combined with political correctness to breed ever-scarier urban environments. Today, the roles are reversed...

They Criticized Vista. And They Should Know.

Can someone tell me again, why is switching XP for Vista an “upgrade”?

Here’s one story of a Vista upgrade early last year that did not go well. Jon, let’s call him, (bear with me — I’ll reveal his full identity later) upgrades two XP machines to Vista. Then he discovers that his printer, regular scanner and film scanner lack Vista drivers. He has to stick with XP on one machine just so he can continue to use the peripherals.

Did Jon simply have bad luck? Apparently not. When another person, Steven, hears about Jon’s woes, he says drivers are missing in every category — “this is the same across the whole ecosystem.”

Then there’s Mike, who buys a laptop that has a reassuring “Windows Vista Capable” logo affixed. He thinks that he will be able to run Vista in all of its glory, as well as favorite Microsoft programs like Movie Maker. His report: “I personally got burned.” His new laptop — logo or no logo — lacks the necessary graphics chip and can run neither his favorite video-editing software nor anything but a hobbled version of Vista. “I now have a $2,100 e-mail machine,” he says.

It turns out that Mike is clearly not a naïf. He’s Mike Nash, a Microsoft vice president who oversees Windows product management. And Jon, who is dismayed to learn that the drivers he needs don’t exist? That’s Jon A. Shirley, a Microsoft board member and former president and chief operating officer. And Steven, who reports that missing drivers are anything but exceptional, is in a good position to know: he’s Steven Sinofsky, the company’s senior vice president responsible for Windows.

When everybody’s a victim, nobody’s a victim.

Mark Steyn on the cult of victimhood.

Surveying the Hillary-Barack death match, Maureen Dowd wrote: “People will have to choose which of America’s sins are greater, and which stain will have to be removed first. Is misogyny worse than racism, or is racism worse than misogyny?”

Do even Democrats really talk like this? Apparently so. As Ali Gallagher, a white female (sorry, this identity-politics labeling is contagious) from Texas, told the Washington Post: “A friend of mine, a black man, said to me, ‘My ancestors came to this country in chains; I’m voting for Barack.’ I told him, ‘Well, my sisters came here in chains and on their periods; I’m voting for Hillary.’ ”

I like this part best:

As for victims, you have to feel sorry for John Edwards. He was born in a mill. He weighed 1.6 pounds and what did his dad get? Another day older and deeper in debt. John spent most of his childhood in chains workin’ in the coalmine. He spent most of the 19th century as a spindly seven-year-old sweep with rickets cleaning chimneys in Dickensian London until Fagin spotted him and trained him up as a trial lawyer.

The Epicycles of Global Warming.

When True Believers begin to harbor doubts, they don't immediately give up the faith. So they always try to add on new wrinkles and qualifications to their crumbling story. Today that's happening with the global warming cult.


Movie Scenes Made of Legos.

Very cool.

How to ship a tiger to Canada.

You never know when you're going to need to know this sort of thing.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship

Conservatives care about the environment too. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. It is my opinion that this declaration is the answer.

The Cornwall Declaration intro-
Download the Cornwall Declaration (pdf)

The past millennium brought unprecedented improvements in human health, nutrition, and life expectancy, especially among those most blessed by political and economic liberty and advances in science and technology. At the dawn of a new millennium, the opportunity exists to build on these advances and to extend them to more of the earth’s people.

At the same time, many are concerned that liberty, science, and technology are more a threat to the environment than a blessing to humanity and nature. Out of shared reverence for God and His creation and love for our neighbors, we Jews, Catholics, and Protestants, speaking for ourselves and not officially on behalf of our respective communities, joined by others of good will, and committed to justice and compassion, unite in this declaration of our common concerns, beliefs, and aspirations.

Read the listed concerns and beliefs in the body of the declaration here.

The Conclusion-

Our Aspirations

In light of these beliefs and concerns, we declare the following principled aspirations:

  1. 1. We aspire to a world in which human beings care wisely and humbly for all creatures, first and foremost for their fellow human beings, recognizing their proper place in the created order.
  2. We aspire to a world in which objective moral principles—not personal prejudices—guide moral action.
  3. We aspire to a world in which right reason (including sound theology and the careful use of scientific methods) guides the stewardship of human and ecological relationships.
  4. We aspire to a world in which liberty as a condition of moral action is preferred over government-initiated management of the environment as a means to common goals.
  5. We aspire to a world in which the relationships between stewardship and private property are fully appreciated, allowing people’s natural incentive to care for their own property to reduce the need for collective ownership and control of resources and enterprises, and in which collective action, when deemed necessary, takes place at the most local level possible.
  6. We aspire to a world in which widespread economic freedom—which is integral to private, market economies— makes sound ecological stewardship available to ever greater numbers.
  7. We aspire to a world in which advancements in agriculture, industry, and commerce not only minimize pollution and transform most waste products into efficiently used resources but also improve the material conditions of life for people everywhere.

Click here to sign the Cornwall Declaration!

An Open Letter to the World

The following essay was written in 1988 by Rabbi Meir Kahane, only a couple of years before he was murdered by an Arab terrorist, Egyptian-born El Sayyid Nosair, who not only was convicted of his murder but also of conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.


It appears that you are hard to please. I understand that you are upset over us, here in Israel. Indeed, it appears that you are quite upset, even angry and outraged? Indeed, every few years you seem to become upset over us. Today, it is the brutal repression of the Palestinians; yesterday, it was Lebanon; before that it was the bombing of the nuclear reactor in Baghdad and the Yom Kippur War campaign. It appears that Jews who triumph and who, therefore, live, upset you most extraordinarily.

Of course, dear world, long before there was an Israel, we, the Jewish people - upset you. We upset a German people who elected a Hitler and we upset an Austrian people who cheered his entry into Vienna and we upset a whole slew of Slavic nations - Poles, Slovaks, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Russians, Hungarians, Romanians. And we go back a long, long way in the history of world upset. We upset the Cossacks of Chmielnicki who massacred tens of thousands of us in 1648-49; we upset the Crusaders who, on their way to liberate the Holy Land, were so upset at Jews that they slaughtered untold numbers of us. We upset, for centuries, a Roman Catholic Church that did its best to define our relationship through Inquisitions. And we upset the arch-enemy of the Church, Martin Luther, who, in his call to burn the synagogues and the Jews within them, showed an admirable Christian ecumenical spirit.

It is because we became so upset over upsetting you, dear world, that we decided to leave you - in a manner of speaking - and establish a Jewish State. The reasoning was that living in close contact with you, as resident-strangers in the various countries that comprise you, we upset you, irritate you, disturb you. What better notion, then, than to leave you and thus love you - and have you love us? And so we decided to come home - to the same homeland from which we were driven out 1,900 years earlier by a Roman world that, apparently, we also upset.

Alas, dear world, it appears that you are hard to please. Having left you and your Pogroms and Inquisitions and Crusades and Holocausts, having taken our leave of the general world to live alone in our own little state - we continue to upset you.

You are upset that we repress the poor Palestinians. You are deeply angered over the fact that we do not give up the lands of 1967, which are clearly the obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Moscow is upset and Washington is upset. The Arabs are upset and the gentle Egyptian moderates are upset. Well, dear world, consider the reaction of a normal Jew from Israel. In 1920, 1921 and 1929, there were no territories of 1967 to impede peace between Jews and Arabs. Indeed, there was no Jewish State to upset anybody. Nevertheless, the same oppressed and repressed Palestinians slaughtered hundreds of Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Safed and Hebron. Indeed, 67 Jews were slaughtered one day in Hebron - in 1929.

Dear World, why did the Arabs - the Palestinians - massacre 67 Jews in one day in 1929? Could it have been their anger over Israeli aggression in 1967? And why were 510 Jewish men, women and children slaughtered in Arab riots in 1936-39? Was it because of Arab upset over 1967? And when you, World, proposed a U.N. Partition Plan in 1947 that would have created a Palestinian State alongside a tiny Israel and the Arabs cried and went to war and killed 6,000 Jews - was that upset stomach caused by the aggression of 1967? And, by the way, dear world, why did we not hear your cry of upset then?

The poor Palestinians who today kill Jews with explosives and firebombs and stones are part of the same people who - when they had all the territories they now demand be given them for their state - attempted to drive the Jewish State into the sea. The same twisted faces, the same hate, the same cry of "idbah-al-yahud" - "Slaughter the Jews!" that we hear and see today, were seen and heard then. The same people, the same dream - destroy Israel. What they failed to do yesterday, they dream of today - but we should not "repress" them.

Dear World, you stood by the Holocaust and you stood by in 1948 as seven states launched a war that the Arab League proudly compared to the Mongol massacres. You stood by in 1967 as Nasser, wildly cheered by wild mobs in every Arab capital in the world, vowed to drive the Jews into the sea. And you would stand by tomorrow if Israel were facing extinction. And since we know that the Arabs-Palestinians daily dream of that extinction, we will do everything possible to remain alive in our own land. If that bothers you, dear world, well - think of how many times in the past you bothered us. In any event, dear world, if you are bothered by us, here is one Jew in Israel who could not care less.

A wonderful video tribute to Rabbi Kahane's Letter.

The Scientific Community, Academic Freedom and Hypocrisy Exposed

This is a movie the scientific and academic world doesn't want you to see. Ben Stein is brilliant and it is coming to theaters across the country April 18, 2008. Don't miss Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

Ken Ham says:

After seeing the movie, I urge all people NOT to miss it. It is eye-opening, astonishing, exposing, fascinating, entertaining, and intriguing! Ben Stein (presidential speechwriter, commentator, and comedian—and starring as the boring economics teacher in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) does a masterful job of exposing the overwhelming bias against belief in any intelligent design behind the origin of life on earth, something that is so rife through the scientific academic community.

You will be shocked by what you see and hear because you will begin to experience the hypocrisy in the scientific world concerning so-called academic freedom. The interviews with God-hating atheist Richard Dawkins (from Oxford University) will stun you. At the end of the movie, Richard Dawkins, considered the world’s leading evolutionary spokesperson, makes one of the most amazing statements I have ever heard him utter—admitting, without realizing or understanding what he himself said, and totally contradicting the other statements he made, that there has to be an intelligence behind life on earth—something he rejects! You have got to see this clip in April to believe it!
Watch the trailer.

What the women in Obama's life reveal about him.

This little article was sent to me by a friend. It has an interesting take on the whole "who is Barack Obama really" debate that has titlated the blogisphere of late.

"Cherchez la femme," advised Alexander Dumas in: "When you want to uncover an unspecified secret, look for the woman." In the case of Barack Obama, we have two: his late mother, the went-native anthropologist Ann Dunham, and his rancorous wife Michelle. Obama's women reveal his secret: he hates America.

We know less about Senator Obama than about any prospective president in American history. His uplifting rhetoric is empty, as Hillary Clinton helplessly protests. His career bears no trace of his own character, not an article for the Harvard Law Review he edited, or a single piece of legislation. He appears to be an empty vessel filled with the wishful thinking of those around him. But there is a real Barack Obama. No man - least of all one abandoned in infancy by his father - can conceal the imprint of an impassioned mother, or the influence of a brilliant wife (emphasis mine).

I have some difficulty with this analysis, perhaps because of my own bias. Like Obama, I too was more or less abandoned by my father at an early age and there can be little doubt that the greatest influence on upbringing was my mother followed closely by my maternal grandmother. Despite that, my mother and I are very different people. She remains a Hubert Humphrey Democrat and I as my readers know, am very much a man of the right.

We have similarities of course-we share a commitment to free trade and a hostility to illegal immigration. We are also both deeply patriotic with an ill concealed contempt for hippies. In the final analysis though, I think it would be a mistake presume that the ideology of the child will mirror the parent. If Obama's followers are guilty of wishful thinking about how he will govern (and they are), we on the right who oppose him should not be similarly guilty of filling in the blanks in a way that suits our proposes. Better to ask hard questions and demand answers than to brand Obama anti-American because of his wife and mother.

"Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers. Everyone shall be put to death because of their own sins" (Deut. 24:16).

"The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the son's iniquity. The righteousness of the righteous will be upon him and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon him" (Ezekiel 18:20).

Echo Park Time Travel Mart.

I have got to visit this place.

Derelict London.

Amazing views of urban decay.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

In Gaza Thousands Celebrate the Brutal Massacre in J'lem

Gaza's streets filled with joyous crowds of thousands on Thursday evening following the terror attack at a Jerusalem rabbinical seminary in which eight people were killed.

In mosques in Gaza City and northern Gaza, many residents went to perform the prayers of thanksgiving.

Armed men fired in the air in celebration and others passed out sweets to passersby.

article in full here

Smooth Stone says:
Now, 10 Israelis are dead, and the detestable palestinian muzbots in Gaza are celebrating. It's amazing how much money and time and effort the world spends on the fraudulent palestinianppeepull. Why is that? They are a petri dish of petulant, pathological, gutless assassins. The Arabs of Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia want the palestinianpeepull in a constant state of agitation so that they can attack Israel. If the palestinianpeepull wanted peace or security or prosperity, they could have had it many times over by now. But now? Now, they sealed their own fate. They wanted war, now they're going to get war. They wanted war, now they are going to pay the consequences. It is not the job of the Israelis to destroy THEIR own state in order to accomodate palestinian barbarians. It is ludicrous to impose a peace on a barbaric backward people who don't want it.
Ludicrous, no doubt! Watch the blood lust celebrations of this barbaric "people".

The Youth Vote Scandal

Going Back to Cali...NOT! California Exodus

Many of us have been aware for a long time of the battle for the hearts and minds of our children. While many more have chosen to ignore or deny it. Recent events in California should open even the blindest of eyes of those dwelling in the comfy land of "De Nial". Oh where shall I begin? Have you heard of SB777?

The issue is the state legislature's adoption of Senate Bill 777, which requires only positive portrayals of homosexual, bisexual, transgender and other alternative lifestyle choices.

"First, the law allowed public schools to voluntarily promote homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality. Then, the law required public schools to accept homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual teachers as role models for impressionable children. Now, the law has been changed to effectively require the positive portrayal of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality to six million children in California government-controlled schools," said Randy Thomasson

The law itself technically bans in any school texts, events, class or activities any discriminatory bias against those who have chosen alternative sexual lifestyles, Meredith Turney, legislative liaison for Capitol Resource Institute, said.

There are no similar protections for students with traditional or conservative lifestyles and beliefs, however. Offenders will face the wrath of the state Department of Education, up to and including lawsuits.

"SB 777 will result in reverse discrimination against students with religious and traditional family values. These students have lost their voice as the direct result of Gov. Schwarzenegger's unbelievable decision. The terms 'mom and dad' or 'husband and wife' could promote discrimination against homosexuals if a same-sex couple is not also featured," she said.

There is more, read it all here.
This is completely unacceptable to a vast number of California families. The answer to this is a campaign called The California Exodus. It is estimated that over 600,000 families will leave the govt. school system turning to homeschool and private Christian schools.

A rogue judge in California just this week decides that he is going to throw a monkey wrench into these plans. The court has ruled homeschooling in California illegal if not led by a certified teacher. There is so much chatter, I am still trying to dig through it all to find out the bottom line. The homeschooling community (which is diverse yet tight) is all a buzz. I am on several hs email lists for everything from curriculum reviews or support to policy policing. Everyone is talking about it and rallying together. This ruling will NOT stand. It is important that everyone who values their freedom to parent their own children without the intrusion of govt. come together on this, regardless of educational preferences.

Here is a good place to start- Please Sign this Petition to Support Homeschool Freedom in California. 127,599 signatures so far!

Homeschooling is the fastest growing form of education in the US at 7-12% each year. It now is a proven successful alternative to the traditional government compulsory form of education. Check out some of these statistics on homeschooling.

These issues of forced indoctrination, banning of alternatives all against and in the face of parents must be addressed and not passively accepted.

Parental rights are under attack in our nation, with the first threat originating from within the federal court system. As this story illustrates, a growing disregard for parental rights has been spreading within the courts of our nation.

Across the country, many judges are beginning to deny the vital role of parents in the lives of their children, instead inserting the government into a "parental" role in a child's life. This dangerous assertion is leading to the severance of the child-parent relationship in numerous instances across the nation—removals that cause unnecessary pain to both children and their parents.

A thirteen-year-old boy in Washington State was removed from his parents after he complained to school counselors that his parents took him to church too often. His school counselors had encouraged him to call Child Protective Services with his complaint, which led to his subsequent removal and placement in foster care. It was only after the parents agreed to a judge's requirement of less-frequent church attendance that they were able to recover their son.
more at Parental

Public Education And Higher Taxes.

The successes of lower tax rates, deregulation, privatization, and freer trade are obvious to all who care to look, yet both in Europe and the United States many in the political class are running from these successful policies.

Reduction in both maximum individual tax rates and corporate rates for the world's freest and most successful countries, such as Singapore, New Zealand, Ireland, the US, and others has resulted in much greater tax revenues for the governments as tax impediments to work, save and invest are diminished.

Despite this evidence of success, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama want to increase the top tax rates, though there is no evidence that raising the top rates will result in any more revenue but there is evidence it will result in slower growth.

Six Houses Guaranteed to Make Yours Look Puny.

Drive just 50 miles away from the sleek, modern skyscrapers of New York City and you’ll find yourself at Bannerman’s Castle – about as opposite from “sleek and modern” as you can get.

Francis Bannerman VI bought the island in 1900 to use as an arsenal. Bannerman bought 90 percent of the U.S. army’s leftover supplies from the Spanish-American War and thought that the island would be an ideal place to keep them. He even advertised that fact by having “Bannerman’s Island Arsenal” engraved into a wall that faced the eastern bank of the Hudson River. In 1920, the arsenal backfired – literally. Two hundred pounds of shells and gunpowder exploded, destroying a good chunk of the castle and its surrounding buildings. New York State bought the island and all of its buildings in 1967, but after a fire consumed the grounds in 1969, the castle and the island were pretty much abandoned by all. In recent years, tours have been conducted by Bannerman’s Castle Trust, but only if tourees consent to wear a hard hat.

Turkey in radical revision of Islamic texts.

Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam - and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.

The ruins of Detroit.

More than any other North American city, Detroit has been ravaged by forty years of riots, drugs, gangs, white flight, and economic decline. The photos at the link are haunting and more than a little sad.

The joys of chlorine trifluoride.

It sets sand on fire. Think about that for a second.

[D]uring World War II, the Germans were very interested in using it in self-igniting flamethrowers, but found it too nasty to work with. It is apparently about the most vigorous fluorinating agent known, and is much more difficult to handle than fluorine gas. That’s one of those statements you don’t get to hear very often, and it should be enough to make any sensible chemist turn around smartly and head down the hall in the other direction.

The compound also a stronger oxidizing agent than oxygen itself, which also puts it into rare territory. That means that it can potentially go on to “burn” things that you would normally consider already burnt to hell and gone, and a practical consequence of that is that it’ll start roaring reactions with things like bricks and asbestos tile. It’s been used in the semiconductor industry to clean oxides off of surfaces, at which activity it no doubt excels.

There’s a report from the early 1950s (in this PDF) of a one-ton spill of the stuff. It burned its way through a foot of concrete floor and chewed up another meter of sand and gravel beneath (emphasis mine), completing a day that I'm sure no one involved ever forgot. That process, I should add, would necessarily have been accompanied by copious amounts of horribly toxic and corrosive by-products: it’s bad enough when your reagent ignites wet sand, but the clouds of hot hydrofluoric acid are your special door prize if you’re foolhardy enough to hang around and watch the fireworks.

The video that the "Church" of Scientology tried to suppress. has the Tom Cruise Scientology video that's caused such a stir lately.

I have mixed feelings about this sort of thing. On the one hand I take religious liberty seriously. Cruise has taken some knocks for his faith and I tried to imagine how I'd feel if this was a video of someone talking about his faith in Christ. On the other hand...he comes off as stupid and possibly crazy. Add to the mix the bizarre nature of Scientology and it thuggish tactics toward it's opponents and you're left with something rather unpleasant.

Warning: There's no nudity or foul language in he video but if you watch it you'll probably never want to see a Tom Cruise movie again. I'll miss A Few Good Men.

h/t the wife.

Could You Pass 8th Grade Science?

JustSayHi - Science Quiz

A surprisingly difficult little quiz. I only got 84%. Give it your best shot.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Obama Aide: Neither Candidate Ready for 3 a.m. Call

I think this goes without saying. I think it also goes without saying that John McCain is ready.

Are Guns on Campus Uniquely Dangerous?

"Gun-free zones" clearly do not protect people from gun-wielding maniacs (or ordinary criminals or scary ex-boyfriends) and may well attract them to places where they know their victims will be unarmed. Guns in the right hands can deter attacks or at least cut them short.

The downside of letting people carry weapons on campus is the same as the downside of letting them carry weapons anywhere else: Everyday arguments might escalate into deadly violence, accidents might happen, police (assuming they ever arrived in time) might mistake a law-abiding gun owner for an attacker, drunken gun owners could start whooping it up by wildly firing shots into the air, etc.

These are the same arguments that gun controllers deployed in opposing the liberalization of concealed carry laws across the country, and the nightmare scenarios never materialized, even though 39 states now have nondiscretionary permit policies. On the whole, permit holders turned out to be remarkably well-behaved, committing crimes at a lower rate than the general population and rarely doing anything bad enough to lose their permits.

Instead of an increase in violence, adoption of Florida-style concealed carry policies has been followed by a decline in violence. The extent to which that decline can be attributed to more guns in the hands of law-abiding people in public places remains a matter of much controversy. But one thing seems pretty clear: The fears stoked by opponents of concealed carry liberalization were unjustified. Are there good reasons to think their dark predictions about guns on campus will be any more accurate?

Oil Bubble About to Pop?

The flood of speculative investment into oil markets is inflating a price bubble that could pop and send crude prices sharply lower if U.S. petroleum demand continues to slump, analysts warned yesterday.

I could live with that.

Freedom Means Responsibility.

George McGovern speaks out against today's economic paternalists.

From the article:

Why do we think we are helping adult consumers by taking away their options? We don't take away cars because we don't like some people speeding. We allow state lotteries despite knowing some people are betting their grocery money. Everyone is exposed to economic risks of some kind. But we don't operate mindlessly in trying to smooth out every theoretical wrinkle in life.

The nature of freedom of choice is that some people will misuse their responsibility and hurt themselves in the process. We should do our best to educate them, but without diminishing choice for everyone else.

This sounds better than anything Clinton and Obama are saying.

Court ruling effectively bans homeschooling in California.

A California appeals court ruling clamping down on homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials sent shock waves across the state this week, leaving an estimated 166,000 children as possible truants and their parents at risk of prosecution.

The homeschooling movement never saw the case coming.

via Drudge.

Update: Bill on home schooling rights urged

Governor criticizes court requirement of a teaching credential and says he will move to protect practice.

h/t the wife

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Hypothetical Planets.

There have been a number of objects that were once thought to exist by astronomers, but which later 'vanished'. Here are their stories.

Transforming Furniture.

Why is transforming furniture so alluring? Does it appeal to our sense that innovation is progress, the fact that fewer materials for more uses is sustainable or simply a return to the childhood love of things that we can actively change and shape as we wish? Whatever the reason, these designs range from humorous and impractical to jaw-droppingly cool.

Uncomfortable Questions: Was the Death Star Attack an Inside Job?

I'm not normally inclined toward conspiracy theories but this case is too compelling to ignore.

Typical examples:

6) How could any pilot shoot a missile into a 2 meter-wide exhaust port, let alone a pilot with no formal training, whose only claim to fame was his ability to “bullseye womprats” on Tatooine? This shot, according to one pilot, would be “impossible, even for a computer.” Yet, according to additional evidence, the pilot who allegedly fired the missile turned off his targeting computer when he was supposedly firing the shot that destroyed the Death Star. Why have these discrepancies never been investigated, let alone explained?

7) Why has their been no investigation into evidence that the droids who provided the rebels with the Death Star plans were once owned by none other than Lord Vader himself, and were found, conveniently, by the pilot who destroyed the Death Star, and who is also believed to be Lord Vader’s son? Evidence also shows that the droids were brought to one Ben Kenobi, who, records indicate, was Darth Vader’s teacher many years earlier! Are all these personal connections between the conspirators and a key figure in the Imperial government supposed to be coincidences?

8) How could a single missile destroy a battle station the size of a moon? No records, anywhere, show that any battle station or capital ship has ever been destroyed by a single missile. Furthermore, analysis of the tape of the last moments of the Death Star show numerous small explosions along its surface, prior to it exploding completely! Why does all evidence indicate that strategically placed explosives, not a single missile, is what destroyed the Death Star?