Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Here I go Vlogging again...

By now, everyone has heard of Rev. Wright's crazy antics essentially damning Obama's campaign...A stellar performance by all! I have SOOO much I would like to say but I tried hard to limit it to just a single consideration.

Lou Reed: Take a Walk on the Wild Side.

Hear it here.

Guantánamo drives prisoners insane, lawyers say.

Somehow I doubt it. It does however, drive liberals insane. That alone makes it worthwhile.

Greenspan's Long Lost Thesis.

Barron's Jim McTague had a chance to review one of only two existing copies of Greenspan's 1977 NYU Doctoral thesis. Astonishingly, it focuses on Housing booms and busts.
Some highlights:

• A discussion of soaring housing prices and their effect on consumer spending;

• An anticipation of a bursting housing bubble. Greenspan even wrote: "There is no perpetual motion machine which generates an ever-rising path for the prices of homes."

• A failure to anticipate a broader housing mania spilling into the general economy;

• Its doubtful anyone in 1977 could forsee the securitization process of subprime loans, including Greenspan. He did write, however, "a sharp break in prices of existing homes would pull down the prices of new homes to the level of construction costs or below, inducing a sharp contraction in building."

• In the introduction to Greenspan's thesis, he noted that homeowners were refinancing for larger amounts than their original mortgage, in essence monetizing increases in their home's market value and spending the excess cash on goods and services. This broke new ground in 1977, as the economic models at the time were not tracking this source of income.

Tax Problems Threaten Al Franken's Senate Candidacy.

As I've noted before, liberals are big on getting you to pay more in taxes. Themselves...not so much.

Democracy and International Human Rights Law.


The undemocratic origin of most international human rights law greatly reduces the desirability of allowing it to change the domestic law of democratic states. Most international law is made through highly undemocratic procedures. Thus, on average, the quality of what we call raw international law rules that have not been ratified by domestic democratic processes is likely to be lower than that of domestic legal rules established by liberal democracies.

Our article does not rest on theoretical arguments alone. We describe several concrete effects of the nondemocratic generation of international human rights law. For example, we show how the influence of unrepresentative legal elites and authoritarian states has led to the establishment of potentially harmful international law norms with respect to hate speech, the humanitarian law of war, and comparable worth.

Nevertheless, our conclusions about international human rights law are not wholly negative. Our embrace of democratic processes as an effective generator of human rights naturally leads to a willingness to consider domestic enforcement of international human rights that directly strengthen citizens' control over government policy. We thus seek to reorient international human rights law from generating controversial substantive rights to protecting norms that will facilitate the leverage of citizens in controlling their own governments. As an example, we advocate more ample protection and enforcement for migration rights because these allow citizens around the world to vote with their feet and thus help them control the actions of the governments under which they live.

Cindy Sheehan files to take on Pelosi.

I think it says a lot about San Francisco that someone can campaign for office there based on the premise that Nancy Pelosi is too conservative. I can't see Sheehan winning (with the war both winding down and going reasonably well her big issue is more or less off the table), but she has real potential to embarrass Democrats this fall. Should be fun.

Neoconservatism, circa 1776.

The Iraq War will always be linked with the term ‘neoconservative,’” George Packer wrote in his book on the war, and he is probably right. The conventional wisdom today, likely to be the approved version in the history books, is that a small group of neoconservatives seized the occasion of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, to steer the nation into a war that would never have been fought had not this group of ideologues managed somehow to gain control of national policy.

This version of events implicitly rejects another and arguably simpler interpretation: that after September 11, 2001, American fears were elevated, America’s tolerance for potential threats lowered, and Saddam Hussein naturally became a potential target, based on a long history of armed aggression, the production and use of chemical weapons, proven efforts to produce nuclear and biological weapons, and a murky relationship with terrorists. The United States had gone to war with him twice before, in 1991 and then again at the end of 1998, and the fate of Saddam Hussein had remained an unresolved question at the end of the Clinton administration. It was not so unusual for the United States to go to war a third time, therefore, and the Bush administration’s decision can be understood without reference to a neoconservative doctrine. After September 11, the Bush administration weighed the risks of leaving Saddam Hussein in power against the risks of fighting a war to remove him and chose the latter, its calculus shaped by the terrorist attacks and by widely shared suppositions about Iraq’s weapons programs that ultimately proved mistaken.

I know what I'll be doing May 22.

I think there is no fictional character that I ever loved more (and not so secretly wanted to be) than Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr. Good to see he's back at it.

Home Inspection Nightmares.

Now that can't be good.

About the whole Bill Ayres thing...

I think Hugh Hewitt hits the nail on the head when he points out just how unreasonable Barack Obama's friendship with this guy is.

Some of My Best Friends Are Liberals. None of Them Are Terrorists.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Professor decides to sue students over poor evaluations.

How clever. Given the state of the academy and our legal system, its a wonder that nobody thought of this before. Perhaps next we'll have politicians suing reporters for "intentional infliction of emotional distress" when they ask hard questions.

Is there anybody out there?

Grendel muses on our lonely universe.

Alarmists are destroying the credibility of the environmental movement.

Crying wolf will do that.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chinese Taxi Driver: "I refuse to carry Frenchmen and dogs".

Now I can understand the Frenchmen...but dogs?

The ABA's 'Diversity' Diktat.

If you have ever wondered why colleges and universities seem to march in lockstep on controversial issues like affirmative action, here is one reason: Overly politicized accrediting agencies often demand it.

Maggie's Farm to host "The Day The Universe Changed"

Maggie's Farm, one of my favorite interweb destinations is devoting the bulk of their bandwidth over the next few weeks to broadcasting the old BBC series The Day the Universe Changed. When I first saw the series as a teenager, it was a revelation. The host James Burke is clever and amusing and you'll learn more from the series than you will by going to college...seriously. They start broadcasting Sunday.

The Man Who Invented Mars.

Long before the space race and space shuttle, a brilliant, wealthy, charming Boston Brahmin named Percival Lowell popularized the idea that we are not alone in the universe. As the next US spacecraft prepares to descend upon the Red Planet, it's an idea worth revisiting.

The Last Meal on the Titanic.

Ten courses, I kid you not. Back when first class really was first class.

Robbing Las Vegas (4 Who Got Caught and 1 Who Got Away).

Not exactly Ocean's Eleven but still pretty cool.


An interesting site where people reenact their childhood photographs.

Monday, April 28, 2008

An Anatomy of Surrender.

The cultural jihadists have enjoyed disturbing success. Two events in particular—the 2004 assassination in Amsterdam of Theo van Gogh in retaliation for his film about Islam’s oppression of women, and the global wave of riots, murders, and vandalism that followed a Danish newspaper’s 2005 publication of cartoons satirizing Mohammed—have had a massive ripple effect throughout the West.

Motivated variously, and doubtless sometimes simultaneously, by fear, misguided sympathy, and multicultural ideology—which teaches us to belittle our freedoms and to genuflect to non-Western cultures, however repressive—people at every level of Western society, but especially elites, have allowed concerns about what fundamentalist Muslims will feel, think, or do to influence their actions and expressions. These Westerners have begun, in other words, to internalize the strictures of sharia, and thus implicitly to accept the deferential status of dhimmis—infidels living in Muslim societies.

When truth becomes "inappropriate" for campaign debate.

[I]t's difficult not to conclude that what is really going on here is an attempt by Obama and his sympathizers to put all discussion of his relationship with Wright off-limits by branding it somehow "inappropriate" or vaguely racist. Ditto his relationship with unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers and Chicago political bagman Tony Resko. For clarity on this point, simply ask yourself how these same people would react if the tables were turned and McCain had sat passively in the pews for 20 years listening to an unreconstructed Southern Baptist bigot in the pulpit damning America for seeking racial equality, accusing the government of inventing AIDS to punish sinners and extolling KKK Imperial Dragon David Duke for defending the superiority and purity of the white race. The double standard at work here is absolutely breath-taking.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Charles Trenet - Boum.

For those who remember that cool Absolut commercial where rioters are hitting police with pillows.

Talking Dogs

Saturday, April 26, 2008

33 Of The Most Intricate & Realistic Lego Creations.

Anybody who reads this blog regularly knows that I'm more than a little fond of Legos. Here are some of the best uses of those little blocks I've seen.

The Rules Change for Obama.

Barack Obama seemed puzzled. Angrily puzzled. The apostle of hope seemed flummoxed by the audacity of the question. At the April 16 Philadelphia debate, George Stephanopoulos, longtime aide to Democratic politicians, was asking about his longtime association with Weather Underground bomber William Ayers.

The Weather Underground attacked the Pentagon, the Capitol and other public buildings; Ayers was quoted in The New York Times on Sept. 11, 2001, as saying, "I don't regret setting bombs; I feel we didn't do enough."

It was at Ayers' house that Obama's state Senate candidacy was launched in 1995; Obama continued to serve on a nonprofit board with Ayers after the Times article appeared.

Obamaites live-blogging the debate were outraged. The press is not supposed to ask such questions.

Tax Hypocrites.

Consider, for instance, the tax returns of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The returns were not released during FDR's presidency, but had they been, they would have proved an embarrassment. Tax Analysts has recently acquired from the National Archives copies of the tax returns that Roosevelt filed between 1913 and 1937. And as a group, they reveal something striking: Roosevelt -- a vicious and moralistic scourge of tax avoiders everywhere -- had a penchant for minimizing his own taxes.

Throughout his 12 years in office, Roosevelt was a frequent critic of Americans who tried to avoid taxes, even using legal means. "Mr. Justice Holmes said, 'Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society,'" Roosevelt told Congress in 1937. "Too many individuals, however, want the civilization at a discount."

Roosevelt reserved special scorn for the "clever little schemes" devised by tax lawyers, insisting that they posed a threat to the tax system, and even to society as a whole. "In this immediate problem the decency of American morals is involved," he declared. "The example of successful tax dodging by a minority of very rich individuals breeds efforts by other people to dodge other laws as well as tax laws."

Roosevelt's 1937 message on tax avoidance decried a variety of popular techniques, including the use of overseas and domestic personal holding companies, the creation of multiple trusts for the support of family members, and the incorporation of money-losing country estates and personal yachts.

Such bombast carried the day in 1937, when FDR pushed a tax bill through Congress that tried to eliminate some of the more glaring loopholes. Other high points in Rooseveltian tax policy -- including the Wealth Tax Act of 1935, the undistributed profits tax of 1936, and the tax bill veto of 1944 -- were also rooted in a conviction that rich Americans were gaming the tax laws.

But Roosevelt's tax returns reveal him to be something of a hypocrite. At various points, both before and after his election to the White House, he indulged in the sort of tax avoidance that he claimed to find so objectionable.

Obama's Plan for NASA.

It's grim.

From the article:
Translated into English, that means that he'll maintain the Constellation project at a minimum $500 million per year budget as the band takes an extended break between sets, taking their instruments with them. And for how long does the U.S. postpone a new space transport capability? Obama's answer is the "minimum possible time period." (Now is that in human or dog years?)

In the meantime, the U.S. space program sits on the tarmac. This will free-up funding for his aggressive plans to federalize pre-school.

Which is a lot worse than it sounds. Once you tell all those engineers there's not going to be any work for the next five years, how many will still be around when you decide you want to go back into space after all? Odds are they'll be working for the Chinese space program by then.

The brand of Oscar Wilde.

Last Sunday I made a pilgrimage to the Père Lachaise cemetery, in the northeast of Paris, to pay my respects to the shade of Oscar Wilde. I found I was not alone.

The great man’s grave was surrounded by quite a crowd, including a party of Japanese students, a family of Germans (the father was wearing lederhosen) and an assortment of young people in their twenties: French, Italian, British and American.

As I arrived, one of the young women (an English student from St Andrews) was planting a kiss on the huge Jacob Epstein effigy that surmounts the poet’s grave. She was kissing the marble deliberately, to leave the lipstick impression of her mouth on the monument. “Why did you do that?” I asked. “Because I love him,” she replied. “We all do,” added another of the girls. “He’s one of us.”

Cigars 101.

A useful guide for rubes like me who can't tell a Lonsdale from a Churchill.

The Great Terror at 40.

Robert Conquest in Red Square, May 1990.

Robert Conquest's The Great Terror is probably the most important piece of non-fiction of the second half of the twentieth century. It records in painstaking detail for all to see, the evil that was Soviet communism. Anyone who wants to understand the terrible cost of totalitarianism should begin with this book.

What’s Wrong With Hollywood?

The old bread-and-butter genres—like the Western or the war movie—are either moribund or merely landscapes for political revisionism.

One difference is the steady decline in the quality of male actors. We simply do not have a James Stewart, Burt Lancaster, Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, Bill Holden, or John Wayne any more, much less brilliant against-the grain actors like a Robert Duvall, Lee Marvin, Jack Palance, or a Yul Brenner, nor character actors like a Slim Pickens or a Ben Johnson.

Biblical Scholars Challenge Pelosi's 'Scripture' Quote.

Tip for politicians of all parties (Mike Huckabee had trouble with this too):

If you're going to rely on a Biblical quote to advance a policy position...make sure the quote actually exists.

The Democrats and National Security.

[W]hy it is that we go after Obama hammer and tongs on natsec issues but largely give Clinton a pass. It's actually very simple: we don't believe a word she says on the issue, which makes her more reliable.

No, really.

Read on.

It's like this, you see: Senator Clinton is trying to get elected, and she's been trimming on this issue from Day One. She's stuck in a Party that dislikes national security policy questions, is not very good at formulating those questions, and is even worse at answering them - so she's been stuck with pandering to them. She's not even trying to get more votes from them; her realistic objective was always to minimize the damage. In other words, we don't believe that she actually has a principled stance on the subject, which means (paradoxically) that she's not going to either ignore objective reality if she gets in the Oval Office, or let her past utterances adversely affect her in any way, shape, or form. And Clinton certainly won't take any risks on this. At all. We can work with that.

As for Senator Obama... well, the only thing that he has been clear and unambiguous about is his opposition to the war - which, by the way, is going fairly well at the moment (see also Bill Roggio) - and we cannot give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. When he says he'd have us bug out of Iraq, the only thing that any reasonably objective observer can conclude is that he means it. He probably wouldn't mean to let happen next what will happen next if we bug out, but that's not exactly a comfort, particularly if you happen to live anywhere near an instantly-recognizable American landmark.

Put another way: God help us all, he's just not playing to the antiwar crowd. Senator Obama really does have the national security awareness of a walnut.

How Possessions Bend Our Perceptions.

Anyone who's ever tried to sell a house, a car, or practically anything, quickly discovers that buyers and sellers rarely see eye-to-eye on price. A quick skim through the classifieds in the back of the local paper will reveal endless examples of people overpricing what seem like pretty ordinary items. But that's not how the seller sees it.

There's no doubt that sellers want to get the best possible price and they also want to introduce some wiggle-room for negotiation. But does this really explain the unrealistic prices people sometimes demand, or is there something else going on?

California foreclosures up 327% from '07 levels.

And we haven't even seen the worst of it.

Obama and the "William Ayers Thing".

[F]irst with Jeremiah Wright and now with Ayers and Dohrn, we're supposed to believe that he was clueless about all of this. What does that say about "judgement" and "character"? He's either oblivious or he's as calculating as any politician who has ever come down the pike. And given his refusal to confront the questions about Wright and Ayers, I'm inclined to believe the latter. To believe otherwise requires, as Hillary Clinton would be likely to say, a willing suspension of disbelief that I'm just not prepared to make.

Specific Performance & the 13th Amendment.

Here's the abstract:

Black-letter law declares that a contract to perform personal services cannot be specifically enforced. Many courts, scholars, and commentators have claimed that to do so would constitute "involuntary servitude" under the Thirteenth Amendment. This claim, however, has never been the subject of extensive scholarly analysis. This article fills that gap and rejects the conventional wisdom.

Neither the original meaning of "involuntary servitude" nor its subsequent interpretation by the Supreme Court justifies a per se prohibition on specific performance of such contracts. The non-constitutional arguments supporting the rule are likewise weak, and substantial policy and moral arguments counsel in favor of specific performance of at least some personal service contracts. Accordingly, this article concludes that the per se rule should be abandoned and that specific performance should be available for the enforcement of personal service contracts on the same basis as other contracts.

Mommy, What's An Eagle Eat?

A goldfish would eat you if it could get you in his mouth. That's all you need know about Nature. Go out in it, and have something real to do with it. Life and death; or a test of will, anyway. You can never respect it if you don't know about it. And remember it's still as cruel and remorseless as God made it in the first place.

Building the Eiffel Tower.

A great handful of photos showing the construction of one of the world's most recognizable landmarks.

B-36 Flying Aircraft Carrier.

It's an huge plane, much larger than the more famous B-52 (which is freaking enormous). When I used to live in Nebraska, I'd go and visit the example they had at The Strategic Air Command Museum from time to time. The one they had on display had it's bomb bay doors open and you could climb inside where the H-Bombs used to be. To say it was spacious is something of an understatement. You could park your car in there. Several cars really. Anyway, the idea here was to provide long range fighter cover on bombing missions over the Soviet Union.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Indentical Triplets, 200 Million to One Odds

Midwife mum's identical baby triplets are a 200 million to one miracle!

Cradled by their adoring parents, Gabriella, Alessia and Olivia are happy to be known as the 200 million to one girls.

Their arrival in the world caused quite a stir as these are the odds of a mother giving birth to naturally-conceived identical triplets.

The blonde-haired, blue-eyed babies were born seven weeks prematurely last January when doctors performed an emergency Caesarean section.

read all about it here

Joshua Bell and an Experiment at Rush Hour in D.C.

It was 7:51 a.m. on Friday, January 12, the middle of the morning rush hour. In the next 43 minutes, as the violinist performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by. Almost all of them were on the way to work, which meant, for almost all of them, a government job. L'Enfant Plaza is at the nucleus of federal Washington, and these were mostly mid-level bureaucrats with those indeterminate, oddly fungible titles: policy analyst, project manager, budget officer, specialist, facilitator, consultant.

Each passerby had a quick choice to make, one familiar to commuters in any urban area where the occasional street performer is part of the cityscape: Do you stop and listen? Do you hurry past with a blend of guilt and irritation, aware of your cupidity but annoyed by the unbidden demand on your time and your wallet? Do you throw in a buck, just to be polite? Does your decision change if he's really bad? What if he's really good? Do you have time for beauty? Shouldn't you? What's the moral mathematics of the moment?

On that Friday in January, those private questions would be answered in an unusually public way. No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?

What do you think happened? What would you have done?
Find the article in full with videos of the event and a link to the audio of the entire concert here.

I read about this a year ago and was so intrigued but failed to blog it. I wonder how I would have reacted had I been there. Firstly, I never have to be anywhere at 7:51 am and if need be I would most likely be running late. No doubt, I would have zoomed right past Mr. Bell with a glance over my shoulder longing to linger. I so love the violin. However, if it were to have taken place in the afternoon, a more convenient time, while out and about with the children I would have paused to enjoy the concert in it's entirety. I tend to be easily distracted and have no problem stopping to "smell the roses", that is if I am not already way behind from all my dawdling and rose sniffing along the way. Would I have recognized him as the great Joshua Bell? No, I would have assumed him to be a starving artist type or college student. Would I have thrown in some cash? Again, probably not as I never have cash on hand. When cash manages to find it's way into my wallet, hubby promptly helps it find it's way out again. Bottom line, I would have missed out on something really special.

Some Baby Love

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Catch 22 And A Half.

Drought strikes. People, exhorted by the politicians and functionaries of municipal utilities exert themselves and conserve water. Then comes the reward for all their scrimping on water: Massive fee increases because the water authorities didn't make enough money what with people saving water and all.

Via Instapundit.

The Stupidest Business Decisions in History.


Executive: Robert Uihlein, Jr., head of the Schlitz Brewing Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Background: in the 1970s, Schlitz was America’s #2 beer, behind Budweiser. It had been #1 until 1957 and has pursued Bud ever since. In the 1970s, Uihlein came up with a strategy to compete against Anheuser-Busch. He figured that if he could cut the cost of ingredients used in his beer and speed up the brewing process at the same time, he could brew more beer in the same amount of time for less money … and earn higher profits.

Decision: Uihlein cut the amount of time it took to brew Schlitz from 40 days to 15, and replaced much of the barley malt in the beer with corn syrup - which was cheaper. He also switched from one type of foam stabilizer to another to get around new labeling laws that would have required the original stabilizer to be disclosed on the label.

Impact: Uihlein got what he wanted: a cheaper, more profitable beer that made a lot of money … at first. But it tasted terrible, and tended to break down so quickly as the cheap ingredients bonded together and sank to the bottom of the can - forming a substance that "looked disconcertingly like mucus." Philip Van Munchings writes in Beer Blast:

Suddenly Schlitz found itself shipping out a great deal of apparently snot-ridden beer. The brewery knew about it pretty quickly and made a command decision - to do nothing … Uihlein declined a costly recall for months, wagering that not much of the beer would be subjected to the kinds of temperatures at which most haze forms. He lost the bet, sales plummeted … and Schlitz began a long steady slide from the top three.

Schlitz finally caved in and recalled 10 million cans of the snot beer. But their reputation was ruined and sales never recovered. In 1981, they shut down their Milwaukee brewing plant; the following year the company was purchased by rival Stroh’s. One former mayor of Milwaukee compared the brewery’s fortunes to the sinking of the Titanic, asking "How could that big of a business go under so fast?

Fun With Old Record Albums.

Some people have too much time on their hands...much like your author.

Scared to death.

Scaring people, of course, being the operative idea here. Patient advocacy groups such as the American Cancer Society have long believed that the way to improve the nation's health is to increase "awareness" of this or that disease, and the best way to increase awareness is to frighten people into their doctors' offices. As early as 1936, the American Cancer Society was using slogans like "No one is safe from cancer" in an effort to get women to go in for a breast exam.

Today, patient-advocacy groups routinely sound the alarm about whatever condition they're trying to eradicate, either by inflating the number of people affected or by exaggerating the danger. The
National Sleep Foundation, for example, a group dedicated to encouraging Americans to get more rest, recently released a poll claiming that a whopping 75 percent of us are so sleep-deprived that it's interfering with our sex lives. That's one heck of a lot of sleepy, undersexed people, and it's pretty hard to believe, given that the National Institutes of Health find that at most 21 percent of the population has recurrent insomnia. A few years back, at least one breast cancer patient advocacy group was claiming their disease as the No. 1 killer of women. In reality, far more women die of heart disease, followed by lung cancer.

The Heretical Church of Oprah

Oprah is serving up New Age religious kool-aid for the sheeple. In this video as she twists Scripture, she exposes her ignorance of the Holy Writ. Oprah then goes on to design a god according to her own desires and package him up to sell to the unwitting, vulnerable and scripturally illiterate.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end of it is the ways of death.

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who secretly will bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their pernicious ways, and because of them the way of truth will be evil spoken of. And through covetousness they will use you for gain with well-turned words; for whom judgment from of old does not linger, and their destruction does not sleep.
(2 Peter 2:1-3)

Oprah can try to claim Christ all she wants, but this apostate rubbish she is spewing has nothing to do with Christianity anymore than Constantine who attempted to merge Christ into the Pantheon.

Obama Advisor Mocks Christianity

Is it any wonder that it is the self-loathing, anti-Christian, hate-America crowd who look to the Obama candidacy as their messianic redemption...sheesh.

Another Barack Obama adviser is under scrutiny for showing disdain for America's mainstream, this time after the unearthing of video footage in which the candidate's key technology guru gleefully introduced a YouTube piece that mocks Jesus Christ.

Larry Lessig is shown at a 2006 seminar for Google employees introducing a clip that depicts an effeminate Jesus singing Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive." The Jesus figure throws off his robe, revealing a diaper-like covering, and eventually is run over by a bus as he sashays through city streets, reports Erick Erickson of the blogsite RedState.


Citing Erickson's post, Warner Todd Huston of the blogsite Newsbusters said Lessig is "another close Obama supporter and adviser that seems to hate the things that the average American holds dear. The list of America hating Obama associates is getting longer every day, and now we can add a Christian hating, communist to that list."

"It's really hard to believe that any real American can support a man for President of the United States of America who surrounds himself with people who so hate this country and all it stands for," Huston said.

full article with the video

I couldn't bring myself to put it up here, it made me sick. I wonder how much play this story will get. I am guessing less than if it were an Obama advisor mocking Islam.

The Obamassiah and his followers are building their own religion.

I couldn't pick just one. Notice the freakishly, worshipful, obsessive quotes of his Jedi Mind Tricked followers.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Swimming with Elephants.

The Wife found this for me.

The problem is nobody's going to believe them when they tell their classmates:

"What did you do on your summer vacation?"

"I swam in the ocean with elephants."

"Now just because your family couldn't afford to go on vacation, that's no reason to make up stories."

h/t The 5th of May

Indianapolis Colts Named Top Franchise in all of Pro Sports

In light of this great honor, don't ya think Mike should let me put up a Colt's widget on the sidebar?! ;)

The top franchise in pro sports is the Indianapolis Colts, according to ESPN The Magazine.

In the current issue of the publication, the Colts are No. 1 in “The Ultimate Standings," which ranks the 122 professional teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball.

The sixth annual rankings are a compilation of eight categories: Title Track (the Colts are 15th); Ownership (11th); Coaching (9th); Players (8th); Fan Relations (8th); Affordability (25th); Stadium Experience (66th); and Bang For the Buck (3rd).

Colts Leadership-The Dream Team!
Irsay-Class Act
Polian-Shrewd Tactical Genius
Dungy-Most Respected Man in the NFL

Pennsylvania Primary Tonight.

To borrow an analogy from Pat Buchanan, Obama is Apollo Creed and Hillary is Rocky. I'm just not sure which movie it is.

The Ugly Truth About the Blogging Industry.

Rumors that I'm keeping Indy Jane in similarly squalid conditions are (mostly) exaggerated.

P. J. O'Rourke aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Some say John McCain's character was formed in a North Vietnamese prison. I say those people should take a gander at what John chose to do--voluntarily. Being a carrier pilot requires aptitude, intelligence, skill, knowledge, discernment, and courage of a kind rarely found anywhere but in a poem of Homer's or a half gallon of Dewar's. I look from John McCain to what the opposition has to offer.

There's Ms. Smarty-Pantsuit, the Bosnia-Under-Sniper-Fire poster gal, former prominent Washington hostess, and now the JV senator from the state that brought you Eliot Spitzer and Bear Stearns. And there's the happy-talk boy wonder, the plaster Balthazar in the Cook County political crèche, whose policy pronouncements sound like a walk through Greenwich Village in 1968: "Change, man? Got any spare change? Change?"

Via Theo and Maggie's Farm.

The Ukraine and Genocide.

The Ukrainians want to call the organized murder of Ukrainians "genocide." The Russians don't. One of the things I find particularly interesting is how this disagreement cuts across the whole "Which Was Worse: Communism or Nazism" argument, which as some can imagine I've spent a lot of time thinking about while working on my book.

The Russians defend themselves by arguing that they were merely trying to slaughter an economic class of people, not an ethnicity. I understand why, as a technical matter, this might be a defense against the charge of "genocide" which, after all, is about killing a type of people....

Now, part of what fascinates me is why anyone would think murdering people because of their economic status is somehow any less evil than murdering people because of their ethnicity. I know what many of the whys are, and I think they reveal something profound about how different people see the world. In America and the West generally, vast numbers of leftist intellectuals forgave Stalin, Mao and others for murdering people who stood in the way of Progress — and historians continue to do so today. Indeed, "modernization" was one of the great excuses and rationalizations for murder, theft and, yes, genocide in the 20th century and, I fear, people will be going back to this intellectual well for a good long time.

English As a Second Language

I have always enjoyed listening to people speak English with a foreign accent. Sometimes it is fascinating, sometimes sexy, even comical and at times it can be frustrating. Last week was a frustrating time when I was trying to deal with getting my wireless internet back online and the at&t customer service rep was from a distant land. I can't be sure but it sounded like a thick Indian accent. I really tried to understand him (or her couldn't tell which). After 10 minutes of "could you repeat that", " I don't understand what you just said, no not the whole thing again, just the last phrase", I requested to speak with someone else with English as their first language. I felt embarrassed and guilty. I apologized profusely for failing to understand their Punjabi-English. When the new clearly English speaking rep came on, we cleared up the issue quickly and with ease.

Here is another example of Engrish frustration when it matters most. I crack up everytime I watch this video, "The German Coastguard".

An oldie but goodie:
English Rather Than German Will Be Official Language of the European Union

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy.

The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spel ling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.......:-)

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Adventures of Jet Guy.

A Modest Proposal.

The calls for a military draft are in fact calls for forcible enlistment in the anti-war movement, which has suffered greatly from its failure to recruit in the current voluntary political involvement model. The calls for a draft are nothing more than frustrated efforts to bolster the effectively non-existent anti-war movement to Vietnam levels by swelling its ranks with suddenly concerned suburban Americans.

It’s populist anti-war posturing, not based on any kind of political or military reality. One place you’re not hearing much about a draft these days is Congress, which figured out some time ago it was a non-starter, as noted here by Dan K. Thomasson at Scripps Howard. His op-ed underscores the lack of reality, as he rattles on about the unfeasibility of invading Iran, on the erroneous assumption that curtailing the nuclear ambitions and support of terrorism by Iran would entail a massive onslaught of ground forces.

The idea is further detached from reality by the fact that, under Bush or McCain administrations, a draft doesn’t have a prayer. Under an Obama or Clinton administration, presumably it becomes unnecessary as they rapidly pull us out of Iraq and theoretically eliminate the need for a larger military.

But these people take themselves seriously, so it is only right we should consider their proposals with all the seriousness they deserve. There is after all a serious underlying problem, even if it isn’t the problem they are trying to address.

A Creature of Habit.

Ex-leader recalls Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

LODZ, Poland (AP) - Marek Edelman, the last surviving commander of the 1943 uprising in the Warsaw ghetto by a handful of scrappy, poorly armed Jews against the Nazi army, becomes emotional when he speaks of the fighters he led.

"I remember them all—boys and girls—220 altogether, not too many to remember their faces, their names," says the 89-year-old doctor, who still works in a Lodz hospital. Edelman will lay a wreath in their honor at the Monument to the Heroes of the Ghetto on Saturday, the 65th anniversary of the uprising.

The Nazis walled off the ghetto in November 1940, cramming 400,000 Jews from across Poland into a 760-acre section of the capital in inhuman conditions. On April 19, 1943, German troops started to liquidate the ghetto by sending tens of thousands of its residents to death camps.

Several hundred young Jews took up arms in defense of the civilians—the first act of large-scale armed civilian resistance against the Germans in occupied Poland during World War II.

Seeing Soviet Russia.

A great collection of travel art from the golden age of western denial about the nightmare that was the Soviet Union.

"Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?" by the Lovin' Superdelegates.

Did you ever have to make up your mind,To nominate one and kick the other's behind?It's often quite sleazy and never refined,Did you ever have to make up your mind?

Did you ever have to finally decideTo nominate one and let the other one slide? There's just so much bullshit and lies you can hide.Did you ever have to finally decide?

Sometimes you're hot for the Hill, an ex-President's honey,With lots of sharp pants-suits, but not too much money,And just when you think she'll John McCain whack,You brain gets drained by some hustler named Barack.

And then you know you'd better make up your mind.Declare you're for one and kiss the other's behind.It's often quite sleazy and never refined,Did you ever have to make up your mind?

Sometimes you really dig the chick who says she's got cred,But without your black voters you are better off dead,Then up jumps his pastor who's not all that divine.... Whoa, you better go home, Dems, and make up your mind!

And then you bet you'd better finally decide...To nominate one and watch your party divide.There's just so much bullshit and lies you can hide.Did you ever have to finally decide?

Abu Ghraib America vs. 9/11 America.

It has always struck me that in terms of foreign policy, Obama appeals most profoundly to people who view the current age primarily through the lens of Abu Ghraib, in which American arrogance and cruelty has caused a great deal of suffering in the world — suffering that has engendered resentment and grievances that must be addressed at the highest levels of government. Perhaps the subtext of the presidential race, assuming an Obama-McCain matchup, will be the cultural clash of the Abu Ghraib Americans versus the 9/11 Americans.

The Pennsylvania Primary.

The Onion has all the key details.

A sample:

While the area's steel industry has struggled financially in recent years, it still wields a certain amount of influence over delegates who are suspended above vats of molten lead.

Pennsylvania has 188 Democratic delegates up for grabs, down from 211 following a tragic mine collapse in 2005.

NORAD Releases 9/11 Tapes.

The Web site says NORAD and U.S. Northern Command "have released a copy of their audio files, telephone conversations and situation room discussions, from the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001."

And has posted them all to its site, in .zip files linked within a .pdf document.

Not so Great Moments in Engineering.

We all make mistakes, its just more entertaining when smart people do it.

Can the English-Speaking nations prevent full metrication?

Metrication is unnecessary, unpopular and contemptible. Despite years of metric teaching, the overwhelming majority of people still think, not in metric units, but in miles, feet, inches, gallons, pints, pounds and ounces. They find traditional units of measurement more convenient, practical and efficient because they correspond to the human scale and the mind's perceptions. They evolved naturally out of generations of experience and embody a wisdom that cannot be overlooked in the rush for "progress". Imperial measures are very much a continuing and useful part of our cultural heritage.

Media Myth: Nine Worst Business Stories.

Actually I'm not sure I'd put the Food Lion story on this list since it seems that the allegations of repackaging expired meat may have been true. What tripped up ABC was lying on their job applications. Still it's an interesting reminder how sensationalist reporting can damage reputations, innocent companies, and occasionally lives.

Obama Appeals to Academics and Clinton Appeals to Jacksonians.

In state after state, he [Obama] has carried only a few counties—though, to be sure, in many cases counties with large populations. There are exceptions, particularly in the southern states with large numbers of black voters in both urban and rural counties. But overall, the geographic analysis has pointed up to me a divide between Democratic constituencies—a divide as stark as that between blacks and Latinos or the old and the young—which has not shown up in the exit polls. It's a division that helps to explain the quite different performances of Obama and Hillary Clinton in general election pairings against John McCain.

An Engineer's Guide to Cats.

A Timothy Hsu, friend from my brief career in the insurance industry sent me this. It's hilarious.

Parental Rights, Spanking Bans and Bratty Kids

Have you noticed all of the children making the news these days? To the shame of our society it is for heinous acts of violence, sexual exploitation, theft and vandalism. What happened to the days of Boy Scouts helping little old ladies across the street? Oh yeah, the homosexuals want to shut them down. Those whose relationships can't produce their own boy scouts. The NEA think they can do better than parents. Liberal politicians think that big government is more capable. Well, our youth culture is in a huge mess and getting worse by the day. It sickens me to watch it.

Last week we had to deal with a loser, thief teenage boy who stole my daughter's new, expensive cell phone out of her car. We got it back no thanks to his mother. A police officer acted as a judge and just took it from the little brat and gave it back to us. The kid had stripped it and it was impossible to prove it was ours, yet it was obvious. Only six months before another punk kid stole her ipod and hawked it at a pawn shop. Since she has been enrolled at the public school (1 and 1/2 years) it has been one drama after another. She is getting quite the education...

Let's consider for a moment past generations that produced well-behaved, respectful, and moral young ladies and gentlemen. What did they do that we are missing today? I would say corporal punishment at school and at home. Parents were in charge and cooperated with other adults that were involved in the lives of their children. If I got paddled at school it would only be far worse for me when I got home.

In contrast today, often you see the parents against the school and teachers. God forbid you must speak to your neighbor about their little monster terrorizing your children, pets or property. I have tried to help a little feller out by getting them out of the street before they were flattened by oncoming traffic and warned them of the dangers of playing in the street. Only to have them look me straight in the eye and declare with a Napoleon-like authority, "You're not my Mom!". Uhh, that didn't happened in my day. We would respond with a "Yes, maam or yes, sir".

My children are not permitted to address adults by their first names. However, often adults will insist they do. My kids will say we are not allowed. Then the adult will continue to go against the very clear parental instruction of my children and refuse to allow them to address them in this respectful manner. Children need to be taught respect and be expected to practice it all times. On the other hand these same adults would be very annoyed if my children were unruly and disrespectful.

Yet again Sally Lieber is pushing for an all out assault on parental rights in the California Legislature.

Spanking apparently is headed for another swatting in the California Legislature, as Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, has reintroduced a proposal to effectively ban such discipline, even by parents, according to the Capitol Resource Family Impact organization.

"Last session this same bill received national attention because of its assault on parents rights to discipline their children," said Karen England, executive director with the group. "We succeeded in stopping the bill because parents were so outraged that an arrogant lawmaker thinks she knows better than parents how to raise their children."

Last year's plan as AB755, and this year's, AB 2943, is virtually the same, England said.

"According to AB 2943, a parent who spanks their child would be placed on probation for a minimum of four years, and would be forced to attend a 'nonviolent parental education class' and the child would receive a criminal court protective order 'protecting the victim from further acts of violence or threats' and 'residence exclusion or stay-away conditions,'" England said.

The bill itself dumps parental discipline into categories previously reserve for child abuse.

article in full here has a petition that calls for an amendment to the constitution protecting parental rights. Sadly, it has become necessary.

Nipping teen crime in the bud

* 10 April 2008
* Anna Gosline
* Magazine issue 2651

It's late at night. You're all alone, walking home past the dimly lit park. You feel a sudden chill when you see them. Teenagers. They snigger as you pass, probably about the old lady they mugged that morning while skipping school. Kids today...

From shopping malls banning youths in hoodies to media coverage of the latest teenage stabbing or shooting, there is growing public concern over crime and antisocial behaviour among young people. Politicians and media commentators wrangle endlessly over whether the cause is single-parent families, binge drinking, TV, or simply society going to the dogs, but no one seems to know what to do about it.

I have a suggestion, public caning.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Danica Patrick Makes IndyCar Racing History

Way to go, Danica! She quiets her critics on her 50th race. Danica is the first woman to win an IndyCar Series race.

Danica Patrick made history Saturday as midnight struck.

Patrick became the first woman to win a major auto race by capturing the IndyCar Series' event at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan.

Patrick, led by a smart call by team manager Kyle Moyer, Monrovia, Ind., went the final 51 laps without a pit stop to become the surprise winner of the Indy Japan 300.

Patrick passed two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves three laps from the finish to take the lead as the front-runners pitted.

Patrick, Castroneves and Ed Carpenter had pitted five laps after the front-runners, including Scott Dixon, who dominated the second half of the race.

"It's a long time coming," Patrick said on ESPN's television broadcast. "Finally!"

full article at the Indy Star

Espn article, a video of the victory and an interview with Danica- here.

We hope to watch her here in Indy this May!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Questions posted on Canadian Tourism Website.

Q:Will I be able to see Polar Bears in the street? (USA)
A: Depends on how much you've been drinking.

Q:I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto. Can I follow the railroad tracks?(Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only Four thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q:Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada? (Sweden)
A: So it's true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATM's (cash machines) in Canada? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto , Vancouver , Edmonton and Halifax? (England)
A: What, did your last slave die of?

Q:Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle-shaped continent south of Europe Ca-na-da is that big country to your North...oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary. Come naked..

Q:Which direction is North in Canada? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada? (England)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-t ri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is...oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Vancouver and in Calgary, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Stolen from The Last of the Few.

Swing on a Star.

The late great Bing Crosby.

Firing Employee for Lawfully Carrying a Gun When on Company Business.

Eugene Volokh has the scoop:

The plaintiff pleads in count one that his termination from Concentra for carrying a lawfully concealed firearm to work in the absence of a clearly established company policy to the contrary violates the fundamental right to possess firearms for self-defense enshrined in article I, § 15, of the constitution of Connecticut. [“Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.”]

Ergo, the plaintiff has alleged that his termination violated an explicit constitutional provision, which safeguards an individual's limited right to bear arms in self-defense. Furthermore, while our Supreme Court has not fully elucidated the contours of the right guaranteed by this constitutional provision, it has recognized “that the constitution protects each citizen's right to possess a weapon of reasonably sufficient firepower to be effective for self defense.” Indeed, the court has explained that this limited right “would be illusory ... if it could be abrogated entirely on the basis of a mere rational reason for restricting legislation,” citing Lakewood v. Pillow, 180 Colo. 20, 23, 501 P.2d 744 (1972) (statute prohibiting possession of firearm in vehicle or place of business for self-defense invalid); In re Brickey, 8 Idaho 597, 599, 70 P. 609 (1902) (statute prohibiting carrying of deadly weapon in any form in cities or towns invalid). Accordingly, the plaintiff has explicitly referenced a right that is articulated in a specific provision of the constitution of Connecticut, and which has been judicially recognized by our courts as embodying a public policy that is not easily abrogated.

Judge Awards Heather Mills Writing Credit On 'Eleanor Rigby'.

As usual, the Onion has the story the liberal media is afraid to print:

LONDON—In addition to the $48.6 million in child support recently awarded Sir Paul McCartney's estranged wife, Heather Mills, the 40-year-old activist announced Tuesday that she has successfully sued the legendary former Beatle for a writing credit on the classic 1966 song "Eleanor Rigby." "After being married to Paul for six long years, I have as much of a claim to that song as he does," Mills said of the pop masterpiece penned two years before her birth, which will henceforth be credited to "Mills-McCartney-Lennon." "But I'm not going to back down until I get everything I deserve, and that includes recognition for the guitar solo on 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps.'" A spokesperson for Mills said that the former glamour model will seek further damages in the form of having herself Photoshopped into all existing images of the iconic 1969 Abbey Road album cover.

Don't count on a candidate's campaign stances to tell you how he'll behave in office.

It might sound odd coming from a libertarian, but I wish the Pelosi-Reid Democrats had more in common with Franklin Roosevelt. Not the Franklin Roosevelt who occupied the White House from 1933 to 1945, but the Franklin Roosevelt who aspired to the White House in the election of 1932. The Democratic platform of that year is a remarkable document, considering the way the party's candidate went on to govern. It isn't a libertarian manifesto—it endorses several subsidies and regulations—but it hardly embraces the enormous expansion in federal power that FDR would achieve.

The very first plank calls for "an immediate and drastic reduction of governmental expenditures by abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating departments and bureaus, and eliminating extravagance to accomplish a saving of not less than twenty-five per cent in the cost of the Federal Government." (It also asks "the states to make a zealous effort to achieve a proportionate result.") Subsequent planks demand a balanced budget, a low tariff, the repeal of Prohibition, "a sound currency to be preserved at all hazards," "no interference in the internal affairs of other nations," and "the removal of government from all fields of private enterprise except where necessary to develop public works and natural resources in the common interest." The document concludes with a quote from Andrew Jackson: "equal rights to all; special privilege to none." It sounds more like Ron Paul than Pelosi.

6 Cities Caught Shortening Yellow Light Times For Profit.

I thought it was all about safety?

More here.

The Peril of Obama.

Obama’s glamour also accounts for some of his campaign’s other stumbles. Plenty of candidates attract supporters who disagree with them on some issues. Obama is unusual, however. He attracts supporters who not only disagree with his stated positions but assume he does too. They project their own views onto him and figure he is just saying what other, less discerning voters want to hear. So when Obama’s chief economic adviser supposedly told a Canadian official that, contrary to campaign rhetoric, the candidate didn’t want to revise NAFTA, reporters found the story credible. After all, nobody that thoughtful and sophisticated could really oppose free trade.

Unlike Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan, the two glamorous presidents who shaped 20th-century American politics, Obama has left his political philosophy a mystery. His call for “a broad majority of Americans—Democrats, Republicans, and independents of goodwill—who are re-engaged in the project of national renewal” is not a statement of principles. It’s an invitation to the audience to entertain their own fantasies of what national renewal would look like.

Lender Abandoned Foreclosures.

Consider this troubling question: Do mortgage lenders have any obligation to take over a property that has defaulted on its mortgage?

The short answer, it appears, is no.

The Power of Cook County, Illinois.

In the race for the most popular votes in the Democratic Party's presidential primary contests, Sen. Barack Obama's lead over Sen. Hillary Clinton is about 711,000 votes -- not including Florida or Michigan -- according to Real Clear Politics.

Of Sen. Obama's 711,000 popular-vote lead, 650,000 -- or more than 90% of the total margin -- comes from Sen. Obama's home state of Illinois, with 429,000 of that lead coming from his home base of Cook County.

That margin in Cook County represents almost 60% of Obama's total lead nationwide.

Interestingly, Sen. Obama's 429,000-vote margin in Cook County alone is larger than the winning margin of either candidate in any state. Chicago Dems still know how to support their candidates better than anyone else in the country...

Italy's Conservative Comeback.

Since the start of the Iraq war Canada, Germany and Italy have replaced anti-American left wing governments with right wing pro-American ones. France too has replaced an anti-American government with a pro-American government (though there was no change of party in that case).

Something to remember the next time somebody says we need to rebuild our image with our allies. What they really mean is rebuild our image with left wing European elites...who have already been rejected by European voters.

U. Maine Law Students Trying To Shut RIAA Down.


Remember those pesky student attorneys from the University of Maine School of Law's Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, who inspired the Magistrate Judge to suggest monetary fines against the RIAA lawyers? Well they're in the RIAA's face once again, and this time they're trying to shut down the RIAA's whole 'discovery' machine: the lawsuits it files against 'John Does' in order to find out their names and addresses. They've gone and filed a Rule 11 motion for sanctions (PDF), seeking — among other things — an injunction against all such 'John Doe' cases, arguing that the cases seek to circumvent the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act which protects student privacy rights, are brought for improper purposes of obtaining discovery, getting publicity, and intimidation, and are in flagrant violation of the joinder rules and numerous court orders.

If the injunction is granted, the RIAA will have to go back to the drawing board to find another way of finding out the identities of college students, and the ruling — depending on its reasoning — might even be applicable to the non-college cases involving commercial ISPs."

Police Find IED and Iraqi Cash in Stolen Car in New Mexico.

As usual, they have ruled out terrorism.

Must get one of these.

Perhaps the coolest coffee cup ever.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Democrats and Gun Control.

Imagine an election race of Pat Robertson versus James Dobson, each of them appearing at organic grocery stores and Starbucks throughout Massachusetts, with each candidate insisting that he alone deserves the vote of gay-marriage advocates. An equally silly spectacle is taking place these days in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky, as Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama compete for the pro-gun vote.

The Power of Wishful Thinking.

Greg Ross over at Futility Closet has this wonderful post today.

In 1610, thinking he had discovered two moons orbiting Saturn, Galileo composed a message:
ALTISSIMUM PLANETAM TERGEMINUM OBSERVAVI ("I have observed the most distant planet to have a triple form")

… and sent it to Kepler as an anagram:

Remarkably, Kepler managed to "solve" this as a message about Mars, not Saturn:
SALVE UMBISTENEUM GEMINATUM MARTIA PROLES ("Hail, twin companionship, children of Mars")

The German astronomer had predicted that the Red Planet had two moons, and imagined that Galileo was confirming his belief.

There's a message in this, somewhere.

Greg is on hiatus at the moment so he won't be updating his site for a while. Still, it is one of the neatest collections of weird and interesting facts I've ever come across. Definitely worth your time.

Contract killers were 'short-changed'.

If there's one group of people you really don't want to shortchange, it's contract killers.

Pro-Choice Lawmakers to Receive Communion

WASHINGTON (AP) - Catholic members of Congress who publicly support the right to abortion will trek to Nationals Park Thursday for a Mass celebrated by a pope who has said such lawmakers should not receive Communion.

Leading these lawmakers, some of whom have repeatedly complained about remarks by Pope Benedict XVI and a few bishops on the subject, will be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the government's highest-ranking Catholic and a supporter of abortion rights. Nowhere in her remarks or her actions this week has she referred to strains with the new pontiff.

It would nice if he took the opportunity to give them a stern talking to.

As an aside, the author refers to Nancy Pelosi as "the government's highest-ranking Catholic". No doubt this will come as a surprise to Chief Justice Roberts (a devout Catholic) who had been led to believe that the three branch's of government are co-equal.

When Irony Becomes Farce.

David Bernstein reminds us of how much Janet Reno has to answer for.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Diary of Maasai Warrior in London: "The marathon is easy. There are no lions".

Six Maasai warriors ran in the London Marathon to raise money for a well in their village. Isaya, 24, is their chief. The Guardian has a diary of his week in London, the first time he has left Tanzania.

What fresh hell is this...

My Beautiful Mommy" is aimed at kids ages four to seven and features a plastic surgeon named Dr. Michael (a musclebound superhero type) and a girl whose mother gets a tummy tuck, a nose job and breast implants. Before her surgery the mom explains that she is getting a smaller tummy: "You see, as I got older, my body stretched and I couldn't fit into my clothes anymore. Dr. Michael is going to help fix that and make me feel better." Mom comes home looking like a slightly bruised Barbie doll with demure bandages on her nose and around her waist.

The text doesn't mention the breast augmentation, but the illustrations intentionally show Mom's breasts to be fuller and higher. "I tried to skirt that issue in the text itself," says Salzhauer. "The tummy lends itself to an easy explanation to the children: extra skin and can't fit into your clothes. The breasts might be a stretch for a six-year-old.

Ya think?

Orthodox Jewish Terrorists Threaten Britain!

...or perhaps they're Mormons...maybe Zoroastrians? Well the article doesn't say who these terrorists are but I'm sure if they had some kind of religious motivation CNN would let us know and encourage "moderate" members of their sect to decry violence.

Jim the Dancing Dog.

Hmm...I can't even get my dog to stay out of the cat's litter box. I don't know how she does it.

Joe Lieberman May Give RNC Keynote Address.

The Hill reports:
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), the Democratic Party’s 2000 vice presidential nominee, is leaving open the possibility of giving a keynote address on behalf of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) at the Republican National Convention in September.

Republicans close to the McCain campaign say Lieberman’s appearance at the convention, possibly before a national primetime audience, could help make the case that the presumptive GOP nominee has a record of crossing the aisle. That could appeal to much-needed independent voters....

A Guide to the Conjugal Aspects of Marriage.

Probably not safe for work.

via Free Market Fairy Tales.

A Great McCain Ad.

h/t Freeman Hunt

Survivor Zimbabwe.

Click to enlarge.

via Free Market Fairy Tales.

The Spirit of Fred Thompson Lives in John McCain.

Last fall, Fred Thompson issued a tax plan that included an optional flat tax with two tax rates and a generous standard deduction. Another element of the Thompson plan was reducing corporate tax rates. I don’t know if Thompson and McCain have spent any time together since McCain became the GOP nominee. Like I wrote above McCain for some time has been talking about cutting the corporate tax rate. The optional alternative tax came out of the blue. I wonder how much influence Thompson had?

via Instapundit.

Winghunter has some related thoughts here.

The 5 Most Ridiculous Lies You Were Taught In History Class.

As a child, we were told, George Washington came into possession of a hatchet, and went about his days chopping the shit out of everything he saw. One day he came upon his father's prize cherry tree, and without so much as a second thought he chopped that sucker down, presumably because it was a Monarchist. Upon being quizzed by his father about the event, Washington proudly admitted that he had been the culprit, due to his inability to lie. The story was later loosely adapted to film with Jim Carrey in the leading role.

Warning: Language


German schoolboy, 13, corrects NASA's asteroid figures.

No wonder we can't get to Mars.

Update: Nevermind.

via Instapundit.

Court Rules Against Coach to Join Student-Led Prayer.

So much for the Free Exercise Clause.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment I, Constitution of the United States.

Speaking of which, it seems clearer every day that the EU is in desperate need of a First Amendment. This just in from Paris: Brigitte Bardot on trial for Muslim slur. A free society requires honest, even offensive dialog to survive. Sadly too few people seem to realize this. I wish I had a dollar (well maybe a pound, the dollar's been taking a beating lately) for every time I've hear the demand that somebody be silenced in the name of "tolerance". More often than not the speaker has no sense of irony whatsoever.

Indianapolis Colts Cheerleader Tryouts: Updated

I need your help. My cousin April is trying out to be a Colts cheerleader. She is a senior in high school, an excellent student, kind and a talented dancer. She has made it through the first three cuts. She needs to make two more cuts. You can help by following this link and voting for her at as April A. #477. Thanks for your support!

Update 4/17/08: April made it through another cut last night. The Muncie Starpress has a great article about her and her experience trying out for the squad. Check it out

Update 4/18/08: Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote! April did not make last night's cut. While she is a bit disappointed, she never dreamed she would get this far along in the process. She came really close to being an NFL cheerleader as a high school student. It has been a great learning experience and perhaps she will try again. She is looking forward to playing volleyball next fall as a freshman at IU East.