16 December 2008

So what happens

when the Fed gets into the 0% financing game? I'm just curious.

09 December 2008

Illinois governor arrested

over corruption charges  related to choosing the President-elect's senate replacement. Wow. Corruption in Illinois politics. Who'd have guessed?

08 December 2008

RNC chair candidate

vows "to restore [Republicans] confidence by re-emphasizing the party's stance on issues like abortion and gay marriage."

I don't think that's the way do it. I'd rather see them move away from the religious issues to the smaller government, lower taxes planks of the platform. I don't expect that to happen, though.

02 December 2008

Dave Barry is

fuh-knee.

Literally sitting at my keyboard with tears of laughter welling up - but not actually running down my face. Not quite.

"Blow 'em outta the water, Dad!"

I'm glad the cruise ship got away, but I'd rather hear they shot back. Seems like we ought to be able to put some guns on some of these ships that are getting hijacked and kill the pirates. There seems to be a reluctance to do that which I don't understand. Six guys in two speedboats shouldn't expect to be able to hijack a ship with 700 people on it. Seriously.

25 November 2008

Dubai beach no place for funny business

Two drunken westerners were arrested for having sex on a beach in Dubai. They were subsequently convicted "for having sex outside of marriage, public indecency and drunkenness" and sentenced to three months in prison. The jail time was eventually dropped on appeal. 

I'm just going to go ahead and cross Dubai off my list of places to visit.

16 November 2008

Palin: What he said...

5. McCain made a huge mistake in picking Sarah Palin.

No subject is more likely to break up a dinner party early than the Alaska governor McCain chose as his running mate. Everyone not only has an opinion about her qualifications (or lack thereof) but also feels it necessary to share those opinions with anyone within shouting range.

Love her or loathe her, the data appear somewhere close to conclusive that Palin did little to help -- and, in fact, did some to hurt -- McCain's attempts to reach out to independents and Democrats. But just because Palin doesn't appear to have helped McCain move to the middle doesn't mean that picking her was the wrong move.

Remember where McCain found himself this past summer. He had won the Republican nomination, but the GOP base clearly felt little buy-in into his campaign. A slew of national polls reflected that energy gap, with Democrats revved up about the election and their candidate and Republicans somewhere between tepid and glum.

Enter Palin, who was embraced with a bear hug by the party's conservative base. All of a sudden, cultural conservatives were thrilled at the chance to put "one of their own" in the White House. In fact, of the 60 percent of voters who told exit pollsters that McCain's choice of Palin was a "factor" in their final decision, the Arizona senator won 56 percent to 43 percent.

For skittish conservatives looking for more evidence that McCain understood their needs and concerns, Palin did the trick. It's hard to imagine conservatives rallying to McCain -- even to the relatively limited extent that they did -- without Palin on the ticket. And without the base, McCain's loss could have been far worse.

From this.


12 November 2008

Minnesota election fun

Big write up in the WSJ about the recount shenanigans surrounding the Minnesota Senate race. 

I will admit with a little embarrassment that I supported our wrestler-turned-governor Jesse Ventura. I would have voted for him, but we had just moved to the cities and I didn't realize how easy it is to register at the polls. I liked his anti-status quo attitude and his desire to shrink government. In the end I think he was an experiment that didn't do a whole lot, but where government's concerned I'd typically rather see them do nothing than do something that costs more money.

As for the current race, I really hope we don't wind up with a comedian for a Senator. 

11 November 2008

About time

McCain comes out and says Palin didn't hurt campaign. Duh. He should have issues a statement earlier.

07 November 2008

So I was watching the news

last night before bed, and I was amazed to learn that the president doesn't actually have the power to affect the economy single-handedly. It was almost as if the news people were resetting expectations for the new president. I can't imagine why that should be. It's too bad they didn't stumble upon this epiphany sometime in the last year when they were content to blame every bad thing in the world on the 'Bush Administration'. 
I keep saying I'm going to quit talking about politics, and I keep not doing that. Oh well.

06 November 2008

Interesting thoughts on what the Republican party could do to attract youth

So what does the Republican Party need to do to get the youth vote back? If these Harvard students are typical (and perhaps they are not, as Harvard students are hardly a random sample), the party needs to scale back its social conservatism. Put simply, it needs to become a party for moderate and mainstream libertarians. The actual Libertarian Party is far too extreme in its views to attract these students. And it is too much of a strange fringe group. These students are, after all, part of the establishment. But a reformed Republican Party could, I think, win them back.
From here . 
Actually this would work to attract me back, too. Unless something like this changes, I'll just go ahead and vote libertarian or some other third-plus party going forward. 
I've been voting Republican for the past X years because defense and smaller government are key issues for me. And while I stand by their record on defense, the smaller government thing hasn't so much worked out.
I've voted GOP in spite of their social conservatism, certainly not because of it. I'm pro-choice. I'm fine with gay marriage. I'm a Christian, but it's not important to me that my representatives is or that they go to church. 

This seems

about right . I haven't agreed with everything President Bush has done, but I've never understood the bile and rage that he has inspired. I have always felt that he was straightforward and about as honest as a politician can be. I wish he had worked to shrink government instead of grow it. I'm not entirely comfortable with his evangelical tendencies, but I think he's done what he thought was right, and I give him a great deal of credit for his execution of the war on terror. He did not wreck the economy, that honor goes to the democrats who were in charge of Fannie and Freddie. It will be interesting to see how history treats him a few years down the road.

04 November 2008

Seriously ...

This  really sounds like something out of a cartoon .... What's scary is realizing I'm actually not cynical ENOUGH.

03 November 2008

A good person

Somehow I can't picture Senator Obama visiting anyone in the hospital without a full press contingent.

31 October 2008

Obama

was on CNN when I went into the cafe for lunch. The pull quote they were showing under his talking head was "We will respond swiftly and strongly to any attacks" - at least that's what I saw, so I thought he was trying to reassure people in light of Biden's gaffe of a couple of weeks ago regarding an Obama administration being tested early on. 
Then I looked at it again and saw that it actually said "...to any GOP attacks" and that made a lot more sense. 

so gas prices

are down. Shouldn't the price of everything that went up because of increased transportation costs be coming down, too?

29 October 2008

the multi-tasking myth

Interesting piece that definitely sounds familiar.

28 October 2008

23 October 2008

21 October 2008

Orson Scott Card points out

the obvious: newspapers are part and parcel of the Democratic party. And they're perpetuating lies - which seems to be the opposite of what one would expect them to do with their vaunted Freedom of the Press - to help Obama and all the rest.

Yawn. Tell me something I didn't know.

(Incidentally, I'm a big fan of Card's. It doesn't even bother me that he's a Democrat.)

Bachman backpedals under pressure

I would say that Obama's pastor of 20 years certainly has anti-American views. Why is it so wrong to wonder the same about Obama ? He worked with Bill Ayers for years. Bill Ayers seems to have some anti-American views. Even Michelle Obama has had some unkind things to say about this country. 

Why aren't more people saying the same thing that Rep. Bachman said?

"I agree with Biden"

From the Captain :
I agree with Biden.  Obama is exactly like Kennedy in this regard, and our enemies will test us by threatening our interests around the globe if we elect Obama.  I'd rather avoid the problem altogether and elect a man who puts enough fear into the minds of our enemies to keep them from testing us at all.

Absolutely. 

Poor Joe.

Be careful what you say when Obama  shows up uninvited in your neighborhood.

Change can mean many things ...

not necessarily good.

Colin Powell called Obama a "transformational" figure. Roger Kimball doesn't deny it.

20 October 2008

Favre

was obviously acting as a double agent ... giving the Lions disinformation to help his old team. 

Back home

We were on Fall break last week and took the opportunity to tool around Wisconsin a bit. We visited Number One Son at UW-Oshkosh then headed to Green Bay for a few days. We visited the Packer Hall of Fame which was terrific. We had the place mostly to ourselves since it was a random Thursday afternoon.
We spent Saturday at the Northeast Wisconsin (aka N.E.W) Zoo. It was a beautiful fall day - perfect for walking around looking at mostly bored animals. There were a couple of lion cubs who were fun to watch, and the otters put on a show for the crowd. Daddy lion panthered back and forth by the fence seeming eager for an opening to cull the young and weak from among the crowd.
Saturday night I 'got' to watch Saw 4. I'm not a horror movie fan, but this one was more interesting than I expected. The plot was interesting if you could sit through the gore.
Sunday we headed for home back via Oshkosh to drop off the student. We listened to a Patterson book on the way back - Beach Road (?) I think. It was okay, if occasionally annoying and often predictable. Anyway it passed the time quite well.

07 October 2008

Obama's friend

From Hugh Hewitt's interview with Stanley Kurtz :

HH: All right, one last time for one last question, Stanley Kurtz, Rashid Khalidi again. Would most Americans be, I don't know much about his work other than that he's at Columbia, would most Americans who support Israel be upset that Obama is close to Rashid Khalidi, so close that they share many, many… 
SK: Rashid Khalidi. They would be horrified, Hugh. They would be horrified. It would be like saying that the strongest advocate for the Palestinians and the greatest critic of Israel in the United States was close to Obama. And you know something? He is, and he was and he is. And so friends of Israel are rightly horrified by this.  

"Change" can mean anything.  Maybe this is what Obama means - sitting down with Bill Ayers , Rashid Khalidi and Ahmadinejad and just figuring out how to fix the Middle East. 

Not that John McCain is any better - after all, he spent several years living with Communists during the 60's. 

06 October 2008

What he

said. The keywords the dems keep repeating: "Bush", 
"Right-wing", "Deregulation". 
Reality is actually the opposite of those words, but where 
will we hear that?

Please, please, please

don't elect Al Franken. 

01 October 2008

Making it in America

A college kid graduated, moved to South Carolina and set out to see if it was still possible to make it from having nothing to having a good life. He succeeded and then he wrote a book about it. Glenn and Helen interviewed him and a person who immigrated and also started with nothing wrote some interesting comments about their interview.

30 September 2008

Gotta love Mark Steyn

quoting Boy George on the economic crisis. 
I'm conflicted on the bailout. I'm generally suspicious - like big red flags and fireworks going off suspicious - of big government intervention, but a lot of people I respect are saying it needs to happen. And selfishly I'd be happy with a little quicker recovery in the housing markets. I guess on the other hand my variable rate is pretty low right now. :-)

25 September 2008

19 September 2008

"... but not THIS day ..."

Via Instapundit , Bill Whittle's essay  on the war hero and the hockey mom in a Tolkien world.

Maureen Dowd braves 'Sarahville'; Finds regular folks amusing

Is anyone surprised at the disdain Ms. Dowd has for icky products available at Wasilla's Wal-Mart:
Wal-Mart has all the doodads that Sarah must need in her career as a sportsman — Remingtons and "torture tested" riflescopes, game bags for caribou, machines that imitate rabbits and young deer and coyotes to draw your quarry in so you can shoot it, and machines to squish cows into beef jerky.
 
And the people were amusing, too:
I talked to a Wal-Mart mom, Betty Necas, 39, wearing sweatpants and tattoos on her wrists.
Sweatpants and tattoos. Wow. No top? You'd think Alaska would be the last place you'd find that sort of thing. 

I think the liberal elite should definitely keep making fun of people who hunt and shop at Wal-Mart. That's a great idea.

16 September 2008

Medical Errors

Looking forward to those robot doctors and nurses.

15 September 2008

edumacation

Like many college students, she wishes she'd been worked a little harder in high school. 
She's a victim. it's not her fault she got away with being lazy in high school. It's the system.

Actually, I do think education is in a bit of a downward spiral and there's plenty of blame to go around - parents, politicians, teachers, administrators, and students alike.

But, the fact that she seems to take no responsibility at all seems like a separate issue. 

Fun with Earmarking

This seems to indicate that Governor Palin may have requested some earmarks. She's also been accused of being for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it. These are supposed to be marks against her and maybe they are, but I think there's another way to look at it.

As Governor it's her job to do what's best for her state. So if she can get somebody else to pay for projects that help the citizens of Alaska then that seems like a good thing from her perspective and that of her constituents. 

If the system allows earmarks, then it's hard to fault people who try to take advantage of that. It's not necessarily good - you might prefer someone who refuses to take advantage of a loophole for any reason - but that's not to say it's bad, and certainly it's not uncommon.

I think earmarks are a problem. But we can't rely on people not to take advantage of them, we need to fix the system so that they can't happen. 

11 September 2008

Never forget

A couple of things to look at if you're in the mood to remember ...
It's easy to not think about 9/11/2001. But I think it's good to remember. The war is not over.

09 September 2008

Spore

I'm not a gamer. But I've actually been looking forward to Spore ever since I saw a demo video on the interweb a couple of years ago. I probably still won't bother to get it. 
I have kids. 
They play games. 
I drive them places. 
That's how we roll.
I did read this pretty thorough review here .

04 September 2008

The Palinator

Maybe in retrospect it seems obvious that John McCain would select a woman running mate - hindsight and all that. But I don't remember seeing her name on any of the 'short lists' that were passed around the 'net and the airwaves. So I was surprised when Sarah Palin's name was announced and I quickly read all I could about her.
It makes me think, now, of the movie When Harry Met Sally. It's one of my wife's favorites, and I like it, too. Sprinkled throughout the movie are scenes of couples telling the story of how they came to be together. The scene I'm reminded of is of the Asian couple where the husband who talks about sneaking to the nearby village to see the girl who has been proposed as his bride. He says if he didn't like the way she looked then he would not agree. "But she look very good to me," he decides.
That's what I thought about Gov. Palin - "She looks very good to me" - and I'm not talking about her appearance. I'm talking about her character and who she is. She beat an incumbent Republican who was ethically challenged. Her approval rating among those she governs is stratospheric. She has five kids. Neither she nor her husband attended Yale or Harvard. She's never lived in Washington or New York or LA or Chicago. Those are all plusses to me.
She's pro-life. That, to me, is the only negative, but it's not the main issue to me in the election. I believe abortion needs to be legal, but I'd be fine if nobody had one.
She talks about lowering taxes and cutting expenses - and she did it as governor. She supports the second amendment. And she understands how people like me in the flyover states live their daily lives. She understands that we love the United States. It's not perfect, but it's the best country there is - the most generous country on the planet; the land of opportunity where the American dream is still possible. Certainly we have our problems but we're always trying to do better.
I would have voted for McCain-Whoever because I think a vote for Obama is a vote for higher taxes, higher gas prices, and a weaker approach to the war on terror. I would have voted for McCain, but I wouldn't have been especially excited about it.
I'm excited about McCain-Palin.
I know the vice-president doesn't do much, but that's not the point. The point is that possibl.y the GOP is thinking about getting back to its conservative roots. Smaller government; lower taxes; protecting individual liberty.
When McCain won the nomination, I was concerned that the party was moving even more to the center than we've seen the last few years. If my governor - Tim Pawlenty - had been selected for VP, that would have confirmed my fears. But the selection of Sarah Palin gives me a little hope for the future of the party.
We'll see how that turns out.

12 August 2008

Holy cop cameras, Batman

The only way I'd consider it is if they reduced my property taxes. But that would never happen ....

05 August 2008

health care

Reading through this story (via Instapundit) I remembered a short story I read a while back about a person who invented a robotic doctor. The AMA insisted that they could only be used under a Doctor's supervision and the protagonist refused, but his partner somehow did an end-run and worked out a deal with the AMA. Fast-forward a few years and the disillusioned inventor visits a Doctor's office where the MD is basically an alcoholic figurehead while the robot flawlessly manages all the medicine. Seeing the Minute-Clinics and Wal-Mart's clinics reminds me a little bit of that story.

04 August 2008

You're kidding ...

So you can't make smog disappear in two months by ruthlessly oppressing your people and promising like Capt. Picard to "make it so"? I'm shocked. Shocked!

Higher intelligence wetware

This is an interesting read. Of course my favorite part fits with what I've been saying for years:
Studies show that practice and perseverance contribute more to accomplishment than being smart does. 
 (another tip of the hat to Instapundit)

This is a bad idea

An international law banning 'defamation of (Islam) religion'. How about an international law protecting free speech, instead.

30 July 2008

Advanced searching on Craigslist

UPDATE: Looks like Craigslist has documented this info here.  The info below is no longer accurate.
There are several tricks for creating more powerful, focused searches on Craigslist.
  • The NOT search - placing a dash "-" in front of a search term will exclude items that include that word. So if you're shopping for a car and you want to look at Hondas but you don't like Civics you can search for "honda -civic".
  • The OR search - placing a single quote in front of multiple terms will search for items that include any of the terms. Craigslist searches are by default AND searches - that is an ad has to include all of the entered terms to turn up in a search. So if you want to search for Civics or Accords you can search "'civic 'accord".
  • Combined AND/OR searching. Parentheses can be used to combine two OR searches. So if you want either a Honda or a Toyota, but you only want to see newer models you can search "('honda 'toyota) ('2005 '2006)"
Thanks to the crew at Lifehacker for the first two tips.

11 July 2008

Don't quit drinking ...

I don't want to say that people who quit drinking get stupider, so I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

08 July 2008

depressing but not surprising

Cop arrests a designated driver for DWI, writes in report that her breath smelled strongly of alcohol, then drops charges when her blood test comes back 0.0 for alcohol content. Luckily the police department stands behind the officer.

25 June 2008

No death penalty for child rapists.

I'm disappointed. Can we brand their crime on their foreheads, then? And castrate them?

23 June 2008

Is this a Juno Effect?

Mayor denies pregers pact. Principal 'foggy in his memory'. Doesn't really seem to matter if there was an actual 'pact' - however that might be defined - but it definitely sounds like at least some of the girls were trying to get pregnant. I hope this isn't in some way related to Juno, which I thought was a fabulous movie. I watched it with my kids, and was a little uncomfortable with my girls watching it. I don't think it really glamorized teen pregnancy, but Juno is such a compelling character that she might make it seem a bit more attractive.

10 June 2008

Speechless and sad

This kind of think really tears me up. I have two daughters and they're all I can think about when I read about this horrible act. I want to send them to self-defense classes and then lock them in their rooms.
I think we've become over-protective of our children in recent years. I have to consciously try to make myself let them do things that we never thought twice about when I was a kid - like walk to a friend's house a block away. I want them to develop a sense of independence and self-reliance, but stories like this - few as they are - make it harder for me to not smother them with "no, you can't do that".
Happiness will be a long time away from those families.

Forget Carbon Dioxide

we need to figure out how to turn down the sun.

09 May 2008

Blind Hammer

bowls a perfect game to win league.

And he's 78. Apparently there's still time for me to improve my game.

08 May 2008

Eco-adventurers should have brought a mechanic along

I thought this was just funny 'til I read that they actually killed a guy ....

So far the crew has enjoyed far better luck than it experienced during its first attempt, which ended when when Earthrace collided with a fishing vessel off the coast of Guatamala. One fisherman was injured and another lost at sea. Earlier voyages have ended with propeller failures and when the Colombian navy fired upon the boat.

They should probably find a new hobby.

07 May 2008

I think

this is dead on:

As a product of the Korean GI Bill I can hardly denounce the concept. The problems really came when the intellectuals convinced people that "investment" in trade schools and such like wasn't as desirable as "investment" in higher education meaning universities. At the same time, the State Colleges became "State universities" and in the "upgrade" put more into graduate schools to the detriment of undergraduate education. We then poured more money into the "university" system which is quite unsuitable for education of more than about 25% of the population (I'd put that at a lower figure, but we can stay with that).

Now a lot of students who would do well at "college" level education can't get that; they have to go to "universities" and learn French Narrative Theory in Freshman Comp.

If investment is needed in "education" -- and it is -- it's in training in technical skills. Most of that could be done in high school. Of course the high school teachers don't want to work that hard and will stand in union solidarity with the college professors who want the large number of students willing to borrow money to go listen to foreign graduate students teach introductory math courses in incomprehensible dialects, but it's "world class" isn't it? Doesn't everyone deserve a "world class university education"?

So we continue to neglect the great majority of our citizens to benefit a handful of intellectuals. And they never catch wise.

                                        -- Jerry Pournelle

via the usual suspect
I don't pretend to know the history of it, but I completely agree that most of what I learned in college (the first time - for the BA) was useless. I had a lot of fun in college. But I didn't learn much that I've ever used again - except as answers to trivia questions.

27 April 2008

crime and guns and stuff

The writer of this article from the BBC (via instapundit) seems to find it paradoxical that that the US - with it's legal guns and high rate of homicide - feels safer than the UK where guns are banned. Statistics showing the burglary rate for various countries might be relevant. The US sits at No. 17 on the list with a rate of 7 per 1000 people - well below the UK at No. 7 (13/1000) or No. 1 Australia with a staggering  21 burglaries per 1000. (Let me add now that I haven't vetted the site providing the stats, so consider the source)

It's true that our murder rate is higher than the UK's - 4 per 100,000 people (3.6 using guns) vs. the UK's 1 per 100,000. Hey that's 4 times the UK rate, it's 400% higher. That's what you'd see in the headlines, but look at the numbers 1/100,000 vs. 4/100,000. That's not much real difference, certainly not compared to the burglary rates.

Guns are dangerous - no question about it. And tragic accidents happen with guns all too often. And they always make the headlines.

Unfortunately, it's also true that there are bad people in the world. Guns provide a way for 'regular' people to defend themselves and their loved ones regardless of age or physical condition. They are equalizers. Criminals in the US have to consider the real possibility that anyone they might decide to rob may have a gun.

23 April 2008

food into fuel

Does anyone take ethanol seriously as a fuel? As a replacement for petroleum? It just seems so obviously a political move to give money to farmers for pure political gain. It seems like such an obviously bad idea that it's hard to imagine how anyone could take it seriously.

And I know Prof. Reynolds is keen on using non-food biofuels like switch grass - whatever that is - which at least has the advantage of not taking grain out of our food supply. But I just don't see ethanol as a viable replacement. I think going electric makes more sense. I thought his advocacy to build more nucular plants for plug in cars was a better idea. If the French can manage to not screw up nuclear then we ought to have a fighting chance.

You mean natural processes also increase carbon ...

how can this be?

That was quick

Global Warming is over. Here comes the ice. And there's more to fear from global cooling than from global warming.
Global warming would increase agricultural output, but global cooling will decrease it.

Millions will starve if we do nothing to prepare for it (such as planning changes in agriculture to compensate), and millions more will die from cold-related diseases.

 And more chilling, still: (punny, huh?)

The bleak truth is that, under normal conditions, most of North America and Europe are buried under about 1.5km of ice. This bitterly frigid climate is interrupted occasionally by brief warm interglacials, typically lasting less than 10,000 years.

The interglacial we have enjoyed throughout recorded human history, called the Holocene, began 11,000 years ago, so the ice is overdue. We also know that glaciation can occur quickly: the required decline in global temperature is about 12C and it can happen in 20 years.

The next descent into an ice age is inevitable but may not happen for another 1000 years. On the other hand, it must be noted that the cooling in 2007 was even faster than in typical glacial transitions. If it continued for 20 years, the temperature would be 14C cooler in 2027.

I don't really like the sound of any of that. We need to boost our carbon dioxide output immediately.

22 April 2008

I don't like the sound of

this. China selling counterfeit Cisco equipment to government agencies. Somebody call Tom Clancy.

21 April 2008

hawking

Stephen Hawking is an interesting person, and I admire him. This quote, however, disturbs me a bit:
I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own image.
  - Stephen Hawking
I guess I still have a little more faith in Man and I don't think he's evil. I'm a little sad that Hawking apparently does.

17 April 2008

Wikipedia not to be trusted on global warming

This article chronicles one writers experience trying to edit an article on Wikipedia that suggests that some scientists might not agree that global warming is proven from a scientific standpoint.

02 April 2008

Sounds good to me ...

real lifestyles of the interesting and brilliant.

Really, it does sound good, I just don't think my boss will go for it. It's fine for world leaders and self-employed composers. Who's going to tell them they're 'wasting time' or 'not getting enough done'? Seriously.

10 March 2008

Spitzer spitted

Gotta fiture Eliot's gonna be seeing this quote a lot:
""This was a sophisticated and lucrative operation with a multitiered management structure," Mr. Spitzer said at the time. "It was, however, nothing more than a prostitution ring."
considering this. (Hat tip, Instapundit)