Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It...Is...Alive!

I've decided to resume posting here. Further bulletins as events warrant.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hiatus

This blog is going on hiatus. One, I hosed the template, and I really don't feel like re-doing it for a site that's getting 50 visitors a day. Two, I'm blogging over at Creative Destruction and BNN, and two sites is enough.

Will it return? Probably. When? Dunno.

Oh For Heaven's Sake

Don't these people have anything better to do?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Interview With The Shah's Son

Reza Pahlavi, son of the late Shah of Iran, has an interesting inteview in Human Events. He seems like a sensible fellow; his dad was a sensible fellow. (A son of a bitch, but he was our son of a bitch.) We could do business with him, if he was to take the throne. I am less sanguine about the prospects for an Iranian revolution than he is, however. It would be bloody and ugly.

Dolphins Have Names

Say these scientists. Fascinating stuff.

My dolphin name would be "he who sits in easy chair and types".

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Genius

...sheer genius. American Digest presents "The Law of the Blogger", a link-notated reworking of (I believe) a Kipling poem; I thought it was Kipling's "The Gods of the Copybook Headings", but it isn't; it's his "The Law of the Jungle". Either way, it's awesome.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Jeff Goldstein Has a Fundraiser

JeffG of Protein Wisdom is having a fundraiser. I am reliably informed that he intends to spend the money on supple young Thai boys, but don't let that stop you.
 
But seriously; Jeff does good work and deserves some support. I sent in MY thirty-five cents; I urge you to do the same.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

"There is nothing good that comes out of that"

When I saw the headline, I was going to post snark about wishing I had the same problem. But I think he actually means it. Probably because of his kids. Having children is a source of infinite worry when you're very rich, because your kids are realistically and actually the target of kidnapping plots. It's hard enough to be a dad when the abduction threat facing your children is mostly hypothetical; how would it feel to know that at any moment, there really are people idly or actively thinking of ways to take your kids for ransom? Horrifying.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Pro-Choice Vandalism Strikes Another Pro-Life Display

Following the vandalism last month of a pro-life display at Northern Kentucky University, pro-choice activists destroyed another pro-life display, this time at Princeton University.
 
Pro-life group Princeton Pro-Life had erected a display of 347 flags, with each flag representing a student who might have been in the Princeton class of 2010, had they not been aborted. The display was torn down and vandalized; pro-choice activists cut up 30 coat hangers and spread them on the ground, and added sarcastic pro-choice messages to the display's signage.
 
Campus police are investigating the incident, but Princeton Pro-Life expressed skepticism about the investigation, saying that they believed investigating the vandalism was low on the priority list.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ben Affleck to Play Young Kirk?

No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
 
NO.

Want Citizenship? Enlist.

Interesting proposal from The Futurist.
 
As one of the commenters notes, I think we have something like this now - but it would be fascinating to greatly widen its scope.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Licensed Torrent Model the Way to Go

An idle thought about selling video and music content online.
 
To optimize customer choice and satisfaction, companies ought to specialize in selling either data delivery service, or content delivered through the service.
 
I pay Adelphia for cable TV. I have DVR software and a machine to run it. I have a home network. I have a high-speed Internet connection.
 
If I want to watch a pre-existing episode of South Park, I can tell my DVR to record it the next time it comes around, and then watch it either on the TV connected to the DVR PC, or on my PC's monitor. That's legal.
 
Alternatively, I can illegally use a free BitTorrent client to download the same episode. I can't quite download it at real-time speed yet, so I'd have to get the file first. So it would take maybe an hour or so. For a new episode, I might have to wait an hour or a day for someone to put the file out into the torrentsphere.
 
Doing any of this would be piracy, pure and simple.
 
It wouldn't feel much like piracy, emotionally. I'm paying somebody for a mechanism that allows me to watch their show; whadda they care how I get my hands on the goods? But of course it does matter to the content producers, who get unhappy.
 
The difficulty with their unhappiness comes from the difficulty of fighting digital piracy. Information wants to be free; its legitimate and rightful owners are having, and will continue to have, trouble keeping it owned.
 
IF content companies want to get their product out into the marketplace and still own it, I suggest a compromise. Issue subscriptions and provide legal torrents to subscribers on a regularly scheduled basis. Make the torrents of decent quality, and ad-free other than (say) a one-minute promo at the beginning of the file. The torrentsphere will absorb such legitimate services and genuine emotional pirates will continue to steal the goods, but people who understand and believe that you have to pay the piper if you want to hear a tune will still subscribe - and the nature of torrenting is that even pirates contribute to the network effect and make the user experience better and better.
 
In essence, such a scheme would cut companies like Adelphia out of the loop when it comes to content for a large and increasing base of technologically gifted viewers. If I can get my ad-free South Park directly from Matt and Trey (or even from Comedy Central), and pay 'em 50 cents a month, I'll be glad to do so. I have to think that with - say - a million viewers willing to make this deal, a direct, continuing revenue stream of $500,000 a month is worth something - particularly since the deal would be non-exclusive, and they could continue selling their product via content distribution companies for anybody who wants to buy it that way.
 
(If any of my legions of idle wealthy techie readers feels like being the guy who gets really rich off this idea by pumping me with funding to acquire content and make distribution deals, you know where to send the check.)

Senator McCain: "Clean Government" More Important than First Amendment Rights

Arizona Senator and Presidential hopeful John McCain, appearing on the Don Imus show, said that "I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government."
McCain's assertion reminds me, yet again, exactly why the Arizona Republican cannot be trusted with the presidency, or indeed, with any high office. I don't have any input into who the people of Arizona send to the Senate, but I have my own voice when it comes to the presidency, and I will never vote for a candidate who displays such disregard for the values of free political speech that our country is predicated upon.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

"Are You a Registered Republican?"

That's what the nice candidate running for state senate called out to me as I exited the Safeway. He had a little table with a chair and a sign and some literature. I didn't get a good look at him; white guy in a suit. Didn't get the name.
 
"Yes, I am," I called back as I strode across the parking lot, heading straight for my car. Unspoken - because I didn't want to take the time - was "and thus, I have a job and I'm very busy and I don't have time to chat with a political candidate."
 
Valuable lesson for people buttonholing me in public:
 
You only get one shot. Ask the question you need to ask, not a prefatory question. I'll answer your prefatory question, because I'm polite, and then I'll move on. If you want my vote so you can stop the invading Mongol horde, you pretty much need to say "Mister, I want your vote so I can stop the invading Mongol horde!" If I am also worried about the Mongols, maybe I'll stop and listen to you bloviate. But try and save yourself time by wasting mine ("let's prescreen for registered voters, and let's prescreen for Republicans"), and you'll get nothing. I've got stuff to do.
 
Although, admittedly, not so much stuff that I can't take a moment to blog about it. But that's different - it happens at my convenience, not his.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Saturday Puppy Blogging



His widdle paws say "cute"...but his eyes say "I will cut you for putting me in this suit, you son of a *****".

Attack of the Ants

A few days ago my wife made some really outstanding chocolate cookies. Last night I had a few (*cough*) in my office. Apparently some crumbs went "rogue" and fell, unnoticed, behind some boxes scattered on the floor.

Today I grabbed a sandwich for lunch. A green pepper fell out of it and was on the floor; when I noticed it had fallen, I leaned down to pick it up and recoiled - ants! Dozens of 'em, Mr. Rico!

I prepared to engage when I realized - one or two random ants finding my green pepper, I could see. But it had only been there a few minutes. Where had they come from? I cast my gaze farther afield - and there, swarming in their hundreds, were little ant-mountains on top of the cookie fragments. Ewww!

This is why God invented little handy battery-powered vacuum cleaners, however. A few minutes of cleaning (which the floor needed, anyway) and the little ant raiding party was no more. I'll be engaging in tactical ant-squashing over the next few hours, undoubtedly, as ants-come-lately follow the scent trail to where the cookies used to be. Wish me luck as I commit to battle.

We fight the ant infestation we have, not the ant infestation we'd like to have.

UPDATE:

Q. What does my office have in common with the Pink Panther movies?
A. "Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant dead ant dead ant dead ant dead ant...deadantdeadantdeadantant"

UPDATE 2:

A small squad of six highly-trained, stealthy ants crept onto the battlefield. Ignoring the corpses of their fallen brothers-in-arms, they ant-handled one last remaining crumb onto their collective shoulders and started maneuvering it out of the conflict zone. They didn't see the shadow looming. They didn't see the pencil descending like the hand of an angry God. All they saw was the carpet suddenly looming large as they were crushed, as though beneath the awful weight of their own crime.

Don't steal my food.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Johnny Cash Kicks A**

I've been listening to Johnny Cash's last "real" album, American IV. If you haven't heard his version of "Hurt" (a song Trent Raznor of NIN wrote), you need to hear it. It may be the most raw and powerfully emotional song I have ever heard. Cash was the rare performer who never stopped developing, but in his case, it's emotional layers that he added, not technical virtuosity. (Well, maybe he developed more virtuosity too, but my uneducated ear is not going to pick up on it.)

Put it another way: as you know, I'm a cold-hearted cynical bastard, but I hear his lifelong pain distilled into that song and I just want to cry and cry (as the little one says when confronted with a tragedy on the order of not getting applesauce with dinner).

Members of Congress Arrested at Darfur Protest

Five Democratic members of Congress were briefly arrested at a protest in front of the Sudanese Embassy. Six citizen activists, along with Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston), Jim McGovern (D-Worcester, Mass.), Jim Moran (D-Virginia) and John Olver (D-Massachusetts), were taken into custody for blocking the entrance to the embassy as part of protests against the ongoing genocide in Darfur.
 
Sudan is governed by a military dictatorship which has been committing an ongoing genocide against non-Arab citizens of the African nation. The sitation in Darfur appears to be deteriorating, with hundreds of thousands of people being driven from their homes by government-allied gangs of brigands. Some aid agencies have reported being forced to leave the country, and the United Nations claims that if the aid network in Sudan collapses, as many as 100,000 people per month could begin dying from starvation, in addition to those being directly killed by the Sudanese state.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Circumcision and Monogamy Most Effective Against HIV Transmission

Very interesting study done in the field in Africa.

Get The Door...It's Dominoes

Pennsylvania man uses car to deliver pizza AND corpses. Now there's somebody who really has to keep his two jobs straight in his mind...

Britney Fat-Bashed at Celeb Site

This video shows Britney Spears practicing dance moves for a new song of hers. The video is unremarkable. It shows a pretty woman who has had a baby doing some dance exercises. Every straight man I've ever known would think "that's a nice looking baby mama there, that is". 
 
What's remarkable (but sadly, not unusual) is the incredible fat-bashing going on in the comment thread attached to the video.
 
"Britney should give up on trying to look sexy and just embrace her new image of 'beached whale'"
 
"Big booty = more balance for spins...staple the stomach, please"
 
"Oh my god how much do you guys think she weighs- seriously.... I'm gonna guess 140.... that's being nice."
 
"Brit's doing a great job of getting as fat and foul as Anna was prior to the latest drug addictions."
 
"It's like watchin a WHALE chase a TicTac! "THERE SHE BLOWS""
 
And so on.
 
I hold no brief for Britney Spears or for celebrity culture in general. But it is sickening to see the contempt that these people have no compunction about pouring out in a public forum. What kind of mentality thinks it appropriate to crap on other human beings like this? Knock it off, knuckleheads; you're forcing me into agreement with moonbats, and I hate being in agreement with moonbats.

Today In History - the Sultana Disaster

On this date in 1865, the steamboat Sultana, transporting formerly-captured Union soldiers being repatriated home after the end of the Civil War, exploded, killing 1700 people in the worst maritime disaster in US history.
 
Although at the time the disaster received only limited press attention (Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated only 12 days previously, and war-hardened Americans were accustomed to seeing gory casualty figures), over time the tragedy has been memorialized all through the Mississippi valley.
 
Perhaps the most compelling element of the Sultana story is the fact that after the explosion, some 500 survivors, most terribly burned, were taken in and nursed by the ordinary citizenry of Memphis - people who had been the enemies of these soldiers just weeks before. One speculates about how much goodwill must have been generated in northern homes when their wounded finally arrived, bearing tales of the kindness and charity of the people of Memphis.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Let The Iraqi People Vote

When should the US get out of Iraq? When the Iraqis ask us to, of course. This proposal by Jonah Goldberg for a referendum on withdrawal is a darn good idea. It undercuts the antiwar movement here and in Europe, it legitimizes the presence of the troops, and it injects a much-needed dose of honesty and realism into the Iraqi political process.
 
The only modification I would make is that the referendum should be annual, from now until such time as the Iraqis vote "yes" on withdrawal. That sets up a timeline and a process, and also creates political viability for the "the Americans should go, but not quite yet" position.

Ronald Bailey on Peak Oil

Good analysis and overview of the peak oil nonsense.

Stop Genocide

Ampersand of Alas! and Creative Destruction lists some suggestions for stopping the ongoing atrocities in Darfur. They are all very nice suggestions and no doubt seem very effective in the parallel world inhabited by the earnest left. They are good people, the earnest left. God keep them.
 
Here's an idea for stopping genocide. Let's take a page from the history of the last racist imperialists to go around practicing genocide: smash their stuff and kill their thug overlords. I don't know what level of force it would take to persuade/demonstrate to the small tyrants of Africa that maybe peaceful co-existence is better for the actuarial tables. I have my suspicions that it would take a pretty high level, but a level we're capable of achieving.
 
"Never again" implies "whatever it takes". A strong word, "never".
 
One wonders if we're as strong as a word.

I Agree With Ginmar (It Burns!)

...It burns!
 
Ginmar expresses shocked approval for something Glenn Beck said. I agree with both of them; the boys in the Duke case - regardless of what the truth of events proves to be - have proven themselve to be beyond the pale by their behavior.
 
You can't go around hiring escort services and then trying on various "Me? But I'm a Boy Scout!" defenses for size. It doesn't fly.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Avoiding The Charge of Rape

With all the "to avoid being raped" guidelines floating around, it seems only fair to turn the tables around.
If you want to avoid false charges of rape, don't hire escorts for your parties. People whose job involves breaking the law are unlikely to have strong convictions against using the legal system against you if you tick them off.
If you want to avoid false charges of rape, avoid situations where you have 40 guys and 2 girls in the house. Juries who see that situation are inclined to give automatic credence to the view that something untoward was going on, or planned to go on.
If you want to avoid false charges of rape, but you insist on having massive all-guy parties where you hire prostitutes, hire women who you have hired before and know to be trustworthy - and then pay them what you promised to pay them.
If you want to avoid false charges of rape, don't prejudice the community and the neighborhood against you by shouting slurs at the people you've hired in the full sight and hearing of people who already are predisposed not to like you.
If you want to avoid false charges of rape, treat the women in your life as if they were actual human beings, instead of as sex dolls for your employment.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

April 25 is Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorated here with a series of photographs and links. (Warning: disturbing images and text.)
 
All too timely a memorial, as the spectre of another Holocaust looms over the Jewish people.

Monday, April 24, 2006

400-odd Page Rough Draft Done

Whew!

Tomorrow, golf and barbeque and family.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Where's My Omni?

OK, so now that Macs will run Windows XP (and the horsemen of the Apocalypse start idly warming up their chargers), I have a question:
 
Where's my Omni-computer?
 
I now have the theoretical capacity to have a computer that sits on my desk that runs all three of the major operating systems: Windows, Unix, and Macintosh.
 
Someone please make it, put the hardware and software (so it all just works - turn it on and flip a toggle switch) together, and sell it to me.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Threatening Passenger Subdued By Others On Flight

The Fox headline was "Airline Passenger Subdued After Bomb Threat".

I assume that "subdued" is a polite way to say "got three kinds of **** kicked out of him".

Via Instapundit.

Reproductive Rights Now - As Long As I'm Comfortable With It

Jill at Feministe is conflicted about a reproductive right. Some of her commenters are less conflicted - "I'm opposed to surrogacy outright".

Apparently, for at least some of the gals, reproductive rights are an absolute only when they approve.

(H/T GNXP.)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Scott Crossfield, RIP

One of the brave men who pioneered the way into space, dead at 84, the way he wanted to go. Godspeed.

Battle of San Jacinto Day

Today is the 170th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, in which Texas won independence from Mexico by defeating the armies of General Santa Anna. Go Texas!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Moment of Bipartisan Cooperation

Hey, you know what left-wingers and right-wingers can both enjoy? A delicious hot roast beef and melted cheddar sandwich, served on a warm Dutch crunch roll with sauteed onions and peppers, and a cold beer.

Mmmm, good.

(Paid for by the Committe to Boost Beef Sales.)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Angry People Suck?

Interesting discussion of the contagiousness of emotion, and why surrounding yourself with positive people might be better for you.
 
(So much for blogging!)

Tuesday Kitten Blogging



As always, cheerfully stolen from Kitten Wars.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Don't Question My Patriotism - I'm Busy Doing It For You

Via Instapundit, the sad tale of the cultural evils breathed out by us red-state Americans.

Appalled Beyond Measure

I'm just incoherent with sorrow and anger over this one.

I don't understand how they're ever going to get a jury trial for this man. I could not be in a room with him. Who could be? I can't imagine the discipline it is taking for the police not to just finish him.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Why, Finland? Why?

Finland. Fine nation. Good soldiers; brave fighters. The reindeer are also of high quality.
As a new center for pop videos? Not so much.

Via GNXP.

Happy Easter

and a blessed Passover.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Why "Peak Oil" Is Hooey

and other unorthodoxies.
 
Energy is complex, and I don't want to oversimplify, but I pretty much have to because I don't have the time to write and you don't have the patience to read the 200-page monograph that ought to answer claims "peak oil", energy shortages, and similar bugaboos.
 
First, some descriptions of reality.
 
Are petroleum reserves dwindling? Indubitably. Most likely Thomas Gold is wrong, and we're not laying down new oil beds constantly - so we will run out of oil someday if we pump it to the last drop. (We won't.)
Do we have 20, or 30, or 40 years of oil left, or whatever figure-of-the-day is being bandied about by doomsingers? Hardly.
 
The pace of oil discoveries is dwindling. This is because the low-hanging fruit has been found. Now it starts to get more expensive and more difficult to find each new field - but we are still finding new fields, albeit at a reduced rate.
 
Is China ramping up its oil consumption? Yes, tremendously so. This is actually probably a good thing in terms of the oil economy, as it means there is a new source of demand. The relatively flat level of consumption - we've all got cars, and how many miles can you drive in a year? - has meant stagnation in the development of new oil extraction technologies, because it looked like those technologies wouldn't be needed for a loooooong time. Now it looks like they'll be needed within the time frame that corporations can operate in, so I'd expect to see a big surge in oil shale tech research. (World oil shale and sand reserves are estimated at 14,000 billion barrels. The US has 2,000 billion. If the world uses 10 times the amount of oil it now uses, we run out of oil from shale around 2200 AD.)
 
So the sky is not falling.
 
But for fun, let's pretend that the sky is falling. Let's pretend that all the oil will be gone, not 34 years from now, but 10 years from now. Gas won't be $4 a gallon, it will be $12 a gallon. The moon will be red as blood, and dogs and cats will join in conjugal union. George Lucas will direct a movie that does not suck.
 
Big freaking deal. We find new fuels. Hydrogen vehicles are 5 years from commercially-feasible prototypes, maybe less. In 10 years - let alone 34 - they'll be economically competitive and then some. (In fact, the development of hydrogen technologies is likely to shut down oil production for fuel use long before any shortage.)
 
Hydrogen is an energy distribution technology, of course, not an energy source itself. So that means that development of energy production capacity will be a critical component to making a hydrogen economy work.
 
But energy production capacity is a solved problem. It's not a PERFECT situation, but we know perfectly well how to build the solar plants and the wind farms and the nuke plants and the coal plants and the orbital microwave stations. We just have to do it. We're not doing it now because there isn't a market for the power that those stations will produce - there won't be until we stop burning the oil and start burning the H2. Basically, whether we go hydrogen or develop oil shale is an economic question - which is cheaper, learning to extract oil shale efficiently or building a hydrogen economy. I'm betting H2, as are most oil companies, but we'll see.
 
The hysteria of the oily chicken littles is exactly the same as the hysteria of a teenage kid whose dad is about to retire. "The figures show your income dropping by 50 percent! We'll STARVE TO DEATH! The neighbors will take our furniture! We have no manufacturing base left!" Yeah, but there's a lot of stuff you don't know about, kid. 401(k)s, for starters.
 
We will adjust to changing economic circumstances as time goes on. Those adjustments may sometimes be painful, although there is literally nothing in the energy situation per se that would lead any rational observer to believe there will be pain in this transition. If anything, hydrogen cars are going to be way vrooooooooom cooler than boring gas vehicles.
 
Here's the sentence in oil-is-doomed propaganda that you have to watch for:
 
"...Within the coming few years, the era of cheap unlimited energy is expected to come to a close"
 
That's what this is really all about. The fact that individual people have access to cheap energy that is (practically) unlimited drives a certain species of control freak absolutely insane. People who have access to cheap energy can live out in the wilderness, far away from social control. People who have access to cheap energy aren't afraid of political change. People who have access to cheap energy aren't dependent upon a political class for the necessities of life.
 
Leftoid environmentalists, central planners, and other fans of undemocratic authority have been pounding the "no more cheap energy!" drum for the last fifty years, at least. It's not a prediction for them.
 
It's a policy platform.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I Am Glenn Reynolds' Brother

And I didn't even know it!

The pictures of his bro in these snaps are me, to a T.

If you've been wondering what I look like.

I wear better colored t-shirts, though.

Stifling of Dissent at Northern Kentucky University

"Any violence perpetrated against that silly display was minor compared to how I felt when I saw it."
 
So says the literature professor who apparently led nine female students in tearing down a university-sanctioned display put up by a campus pro-life activist group. She continued "Some of my students felt the same way, just outraged." Outraged? That other people dared to have a pro-life viewpoint? And that they further dared to actually express it?
 
Apparently, the free speech rights of other people don't count for anything, if they make you feel angry or outraged. (Note the contradiction, as well - the display is "silly" when its importance to other people is being deprecated to minimize the offense, but it's an "outrage" when it comes to her feelings.)
 
This is classic. MY feelings are so important that they trump other people's rights. YOUR feelings are so insignificant that I can ignore you. This is the moral calculus possessed by a five-year old.
 
The symbolism of crosses - each of which represented an aborted fetus - being thrown into the garbage can by female students speaks for itself.
 

Highway Thoughts

Coming back from driving my kids to the Denver airport to send 'em back to their biodad until summer, I had two observations.

1) The stretch of I-25 between Denver and Monument is the Ronald Reagan Highway. Every time I enter that stretch of pavement, it seems like the sun shines a little brighter and food tastes a little better.

2) If you're driving 150 miles round-trip, it would be a good idea not to eat a two-pound salad as the snack the night before. Hello, rest stop my old friend; I've come to gross you out again.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Moving Forward on Immigration

Let's move forward on the immigration question. I submit that we should make it an item of national policy that we want to acquire the loyalty and citizenship of the world's brightest and most successful people.
 
Here's how we do it. 

First, we index nations on their level of Western cultural attainment. (Britain is high. Russia is medium. Zimbabwe is low.) That index value would become the base score for immigrants. These numbers should range from 0 to 100. Why this ranking? Because people from Zimbabwe are hard to integrate and people from Britain are easy. We're cherry-picking here - and we're doing it to advance our national interest, not the interests of the people who are immigrating.

To that base score, add bonus points for high educational attainment, high economic attainment, and high scientific/cultural attainment. (25 points per category.) Add bonus points for youth and for number of children (5 points total) and a ten point bonus for English fluency. Have a discretionary 10 points that Congress can use to set priorities. (If you’ll enlist when you get here, we give you 5 points. If you’re a nuclear physicist, that’s worth a bonus 10. And so on.)

So you can have anywhere from 0 to 200 points. For maximum score, be a British millionaire PhD Nobel laureate, 28 years of age with 4 kids, and possessed of whatever skill or attribute is floating Congress' boat this year. Minimum score is to be a destitute Third Worlder with no education or skills, 70 years old, infertile.

Annually, globally rank every immigration applicant in an ordinal list. Ask Congress how many people to let in this year, X. Admit the first X people on the list.

(Lest the heartlessness quotient be too high, I do support a limited number of refugee/hardship admissions as well. Say, 10% of the total, divided among the countries of the globe on the basis of each nation's existing representation in our population and administered at the discretion of the State Department.)

Under this system, once the inevitable bugs are worked out, I'd support a high level of immigration - say, 4 million people per year, maybe more. They would more than pay for themselves, with their existing wealth and their existing skills and talents. Furthermore, their availability to US companies, and their own entrepreneurial activity, would accelerate our economy tremendously.

Hippie Invasion

Get a haircut and a job, punk.

(He's so cute!)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Woohoo!

They'll be partying in the evidence locker tonight.

An Insight Into the Human Psyche

At toddler gym the other day, Stephanie was asked by the leader/facilitator to "come on over here" for the next programmed event. At the time, Stephanie was playing on the slide by herself. She ignored the first request.

"Stephanie, can you come over here for a minute, please?" said the facilitator. Nothing.

Finally, she looked up. To the world at large she announced, "I don't think I can hear you." And then she returned to her individual play.

I suspect that Stephanie merely vocalized the implicit thought that underlies a great deal of partisan division.

"I don't think I can hear you."

Tuesday Kitten Blogging



Via Kitten War.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Not a Cute Widdle Bunny

This story is boring, but the photo accompanying it is one impressive lepusoid. I wouldn't want to come around a row of corn on a dark night and see that thing nibbling away.

Why Do Men Run Things?

Some interesting thoughts here. (Hint: it's not because we're superior beings.) I think the element most likely to be right is the bit about male variance making male homosocial groupings larger and less internally contentious than female groupings.

Romance Novels Gone Horribly Right

A blogger "reimagines" the romance novel cover.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Punished for Hugging

Unreal.

Stephanie will hug anyone who'll have her. Damned if I'm going to stop her.

Another Nail in My PC Coffin

I'm not a super gamer by any stretch (I prefer games where you stare at a spreadsheet showing the economic performance of your colonies for an hour, then click to advance the turn counter). But this innovation appears to really seal the Mac transition for me.

If it'll run Oblivion it'll run any PC software I need to run.

This Woman is Interesting

I don't know what to make of her. But I like, or am interestingly outraged at, what I've seen so far. Go read!

Iraqi Air Force Sought Volunteers for Suicide Mission Against US Interests

An Iraqi document captured in the fall of Baghdad appears to indicate that the Iraqi Air Force sought volunteers for suicide missions to "liberate Palestine and to strike American interests". The document is a memo, written by Abdel Magid Hammot Ali, the commander of Ali Bin Abi Taleb Air Force Base.
 
An approximate translation of the document reads as follows:
In the Name of God the Merciful The Compassionate

Top Secret

The Command of Ali Bin Abi Taleb Air Force Base

No 3/6/104

Date 11 March 2001

To all the Units

Subject: Volunteer for Suicide Mission

The top secret letter 2205 of the Military Branch of Al Qadisya on 4/3/2001 announced by the top secret letter 246 from the Command of the military sector of Zi Kar on 8/3/2001 announced to us by the top secret letter 154 from the Command of Ali Military Division on 10/3/2001 we ask to provide that Division with the names of those who desire to volunteer for Suicide Mission to liberate Palestine and to strike American Interests and according what is shown below to please review and inform us.

Air Brigadier General

Abdel Magid Hammod Ali

Commander of Ali Bin Abi Taleb Air Force Base

Air Colonel

Mohamad Majid Mahdi

This document section was translated by jveritas of FreeRepublic.

Lasik at Home?

For $100? It's hard to see how this could be real. But it sure looks real.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Boil Him In Oil

Katie Who?

Why in the name of God's green apples am I expected to care about this?
 
Katie Couric's location, activities and intentions are material in two scenarios:
 
1) She is in my presence, interacting with me, and I need to be civilly interested in her life in order to be a decent human being.
 
2) She is being held hostage by terrorists on top of the Empire State Building and Nicholas Cage and Harrison Ford and Bruce Willis are all crawling through the ductwork to rescue her.
 
Otherwise, I don't care where you work, lady. Just get a job and do it, already.

Pedophilia Hysteria May Have Contributed to Child's Death

Four years ago, a two-year old English toddler drowned in a pond near her home after wandering away from a day-care center. A passerby saw her walking along the road but did not stop, fearing that he would be thought an abductor. A tragic story, ably explored by Wendy McElroy.

Web Singer Gets Contract

A woman who sang via the Web from her London flat has signed with a major record label. Sandi Thom, 24, signed with conglomerate RCA/SonyBMG on April 3, 2006, after building a respectable audience of 100,000 daily listeners.
 
I suspect that agile record companies have found their new low-cost method for finding talent: wait for the audience to find it for you.

Self-Parking Cars

As one of the world's truly incompetent parallel parkers, I would buy this technology.

Let Them Starve

Withdraw the law and let the idiots starve to death.

UPDATE: Well, except for the lavish social welfare programs that will keep them alive.

Why Poor Countries Are Poor

Interesting Reason article on Cameroon, and why despite an entrepreneurial spirit and hard work, the country is so desperately poor.
 
(Hint: it isn't because you drive a nice car.)

Humans Are Viruses

Ever wonder where the trope comes from that leftists slash feminists think the human species is worthless and want us to die out?

It comes from people's accurate observations of what they say in unguarded moments.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Sexy TV Leads to Sexy Behavior

...at least, according to this study.

Although the study bolsters my preconceptions - actually, because the study bolsters my preconceptions - I have to wonder about the direction of the causal arrow. If I am starting to get interested in sex, then I'm going to seek out cultural material that has sexual content, to get information. That has to be accounting for some of the connection.

(Which on closer reading I see the story mentions. So never mind.)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Joys of Textual Literalism

Stephanie was picking her nose.

"Stephanie, are you digging for gold?"

"No. I'm digging for snot."

Well, OK then.

"Die, Puny Humans"

So says this scientist. You first, doc.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Google Romance Just a Joke

Sorry, lonelyhearts, this is just an April Fool's joke.

Although I don't see why they wouldn't implement such a service. The first line of the joke is empirically true; finding true love really is mostly a search problem. Hooray for the Internets!

Friday, March 31, 2006

Presenting...The Plan!

I was going to fisk the Democrat's national security plan when things calmed down, but why bother now? Stupid Iowahawk, taking all the good jokes!

Ready for the Deep Fryer Hugs and Cuddles



Stolen, as always, from Kitten War.

UPDATED: Title modification to please one of my hotter readers.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

OK, One More

Two economists are walking along the street. One of them spies a $100 bill lying on the pavement, and leans down to retrieve it. The second one restrains him. "Don't be ridiculous, John! If that were really a $100 bill, someone would already have picked it up."

Via Asymmetrical Information.

OK, I Lied

One post.

But it has thousands of must-see images of rock-n-roll idiots. Go. Click. Now.

Buried

No blogging today, and probably not much tomorrow, either.

I'd get a guest blogger, if I had any readers.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Death Spiral

When does a movement start to die?

There are a number of indicators.

One of the easy ones: when it loses the ability to tolerate internal criticism.

The principal actor here, Tlaloc, is a bit of a jerk. He's also an apparently bona-fide feminist, or at least feminist-friendly, male, with plenty of left-wing chops. In the course of a couple of long threads (you can dig around and find them if you want) he ends up getting into a pissing match with Feministe's new management and eventually is banned.

The main reason seems from here to be that Tlaloc believes the leadership of the feminist movement to be more interested in acquiring power for women than in restructuring society to be more equal. This is a problem that all ideology-based movements have - the desire to use organizational resources to accumulate wealth and/or power, rather than to move forward the agenda of the group. It can be forestalled, in my experience, only by being aware of the possibility, and frankly suspicious of movement leaders and prominent spokespeople. Which, in a movement as dispersed and decentralized as feminism is, means pretty much anyone who gets up on the soapbox and starts talking.

Tlaloc's case could certainly have been made with more diplomacy. But it's somewhat revelatory that the eventual reaction to his criticism isn't "you're wrong, and we've been discussing this for long enough, so we're finished" - but is instead "you're wrong, go away and never come back."

Ouch

Kevin Phillips' latest screed gets a thumping from Slate. Via NRO.

Why Does PayPal Punish Me?

If you have an existing balance with PayPal, and want to send someone money, the only options available are to use the existing balance (which I don't want to do for an arcane and boring reason) or use an "e-Check" which takes 3-4 extra days. You can't do an instant transfer.

So if I had NO money with them, I could get my new Sonicare 7800e toothbrush immediately. But since they're holding on to a stack of my cash, it will take extra time.

That makes sense.

Save Nazanin

Via NRO, a petition to pressure the Iranian government to release Nazanin, the 18-year old Iranian woman facing a death sentence for killing the man who tried to rape her.

Can't hurt. Might help.

Let's Hear it for the Reconquista



The flagpole at a California high school after immigration protests. Via Michelle Malkin.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Monday, March 27, 2006

Immigration Protesters Step It Up A Notch



Uh oh. They've deployed a Protest Babe.

(H/T that Drudge fellow.)

(Also available at Creative Destruction.)

Scotty: The Next Generation

My three-year old is running around upstairs, going from room to room, shouting "I need more power! We're not going to make it in time!"

That's my girl.

The Taliban Yalie and John Fund

John Fund is really starting to get pissed off. No intemperate rhetoric, just a quietly building anger.

Can't blame him; I feel pretty much the same way myself.

Sean Penn Has Ann Coulter Torture Doll

Charming.

Not a big fan of Ms. Coulter myself, but that isn't material.

People like this have real psychological problems.

Another Step Forward for Airborne Volcano Laser Lancing

Boeing's aerial laser gets another at-bat.

I'm not particularly committed to any specific implementation (I have no idea if this is a good weapon program, for example) but the general concept is sound and we should definitely build some of these.

Zap!

Banned at Feministe

Apparently I don't fit in with the new order. I think this thread, where Zuzu thinks a bilateral treaty modification is TEH APOCALYPSE and gets mocked, is what did it.

Ah well. The site isn't worth [as] much without Lauren.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

San Diego

San Diego contains many beautiful beaches, lovely scenery, a genuinely competent highway layout, nice clients, pleasant if modest hotels, and a lot of work for me to do.

No blog for you!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Small World, But I Wouldn't Want to Paint It

Sitting in the San Francisco airport waiting for a connecting flight (yay cheap fares! boo sitting on my butt in San Francisco!), I just saw a fellow I worked with about 15 years ago walk by. I was paralyzed, though, and didn't go after him - I couldn't remember his name!

(Ten minutes later - it was Darryl.)

Just as well. He was kind of a jerk.

Don't Blame Me...

I Voted for Roslin.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Kitten of the Day



How busy am I? So busy that this pathetic excuse for a blog post represents WAY more time and energy than I can afford to spend blogging today.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Death of France

Tragic.

I mock the French a lot. Because it's fun.

But Gallic civilization is indeed civilization. France used to be a foundation stone of the West. Now she's an unemployed shell, with a youthful underclass that riots when given the economic equivalent of the "soda pop rots your teet" lecture.

If they go down into the night, it bodes ill for the rest of us.

Blog Sadness

Sorry for the lack of bloggy goodness. Got a call from a grantwriting client this morning, pleased to inform me that a potential foundation funder had asked us to submit a formal application - due in a week. Eeep. Been busy.

Balko on Maye

Radley Balko has been down in Mississippi, talking with Cory Maye's family and jurors from his trial. The link is a roundup of his (many excellent) posts and research on the case.

Maye, you may recall, is the young man currently serving a prison sentence for the shooting of police officer Ron Jones. It appears painfully clear from the evidence that Balko, among others, has collected that Maye was acting reasonably and prudently in self-defense.

Kudos to Balko for continuing to run with this story. Cory Maye should get a new trial.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Yay

Feministe is back. Guess Jill got a refund from the Lebanese.

Florence King Ill

The legendary Florence King is ill and having trouble with her local doctors. Send some positive vibes 'n prayers her way.

Giant Lego Aircraft Carrier

This sucker is big. And very detailed. Next up: the Death Star, life-size!

(Via Vodkapundit, who's been hitting the muscle relaxants lately.)

Mmmm, Hairy Lobster



Undoubtedly delicious, but you'd always have the fur getting stuck in your teeth.

The Wisdom of Jonah Goldberg

Increasingly middle-aged family man Jonah G has something to say about seeking out viewpoints that oppose your own:
Here’s some advice, for what it’s worth. The way to tell if a liberal — or a conservative — is to be trusted is to see how fairly he or she deals with the other side’s arguments. Obviously, you can’t give a full airing to the other side’s point of view or you’d be spending all your time making the other side’s case. And not every column has to be a on the one-hand, on-the-other-hand affair. But, over the long haul, you can tell which liberals actually have the intellectual self-confidence to engage with the other side’s best arguments and not just their worst ones. Meanwhile, if you look at, say, Maureen Dowd, there isn’t even an attempt to be fair to the other side. It’s all bile, snark, and sneer — which would be a good name for a law firm in mordor. Lord knows, I don’t mind bile per se, but it can only be a single ingredient, not the whole thing. Dowd's stuff is closer to fiction writing than opinion journalism. I think a lot of rightwingers have a similar problem — and I wouldn’t recommend them to liberals trying to get a fair read on the conservative point of view either. That doesn’t mean they’re not worth reading. But entertainment is not necessarily argument.
Boy, is this on-target! Jonah is writing about columnists, but it applies equally to bloggers.

I have found a number of bloggers out there who are really good at presenting their own point of view, while also being intellectually honest about the views of people who disagree with them. There are also a lot of bloggers (of all stripes) who seem to be victims of the Moral/Intellectual Fallacy: the idea that anyone who holds Wrong Views must do so because of personal evil or personal stupidity. You find this a lot on college campuses; it's forgivable there, because the victims are usually people who are engaging in the life of the mind for the first time (and thus are going to fall into a lot of errors), and because part of the point of college is learning to get past the idea that there's only One True Way of looking at things.

The problem with the "you must be stupid or evil" position is that it limits our ability to learn. The extreme complexity of the universe, coupled with our own individual foibles, frailties, and fallibilities, mean that nobody living on Earth has the complete puzzle. We each only have one little piece. Even worse, the piece we have is usually worn and scuffed and chewed and has dog spit on it from when the little rascal got into the box. Through our own efforts, we can improve our piece. We can clean off the spittle, mend the cracks, perhaps polish the scuffs. But we still only have one piece of the puzzle. In order to really expand our understanding, we have to talk to other people.

And some of those other people are going to have very different understandings and worldviews than we do. It's an inevitability; the world is, as noted, complex. Things that work for one person don't work at all for another. There's just no way that a single philosophy or worldview is going to encompass all the truth that is out there.

There are people who are so stupid that their contribution to any possible discourse is limited to "didja catch Idol?" and there are people so evil that anything that has run through their brain needs to be considered toxic and dangerous. But these are a tiny fraction of the minds which we will encounter over the course of our lives. Nearly anyone with the cognitive capacity to boot up a web browser, and the moral integrity to stay out of prison, is going to have something to say that you can learn from - even if they seem to be wrong about many things.

Being intellectually honest about people we disagree with makes us smarter, in the long run, because we learn things that we wouldn't have picked up if we had insisted that those who disagree with us had nothing to contribute. I have definitely noticed in my life that the people who seem to know the most - those who have the most wisdom - are also people who really understand the positions of their political, moral or spiritual adversaries.

Snark is fun, but listening is the path to understanding.

Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog

E I E I O. And on this blog he makes some jokes...

(H/T Derb at The Corner - who has a great suggestion for any medieval literature specialist looking for a blog niche.)

Futurama To Return!

According to voice actor Billy West, anyway.

(H/T Gene Expression.)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

New Group Blog Gig

I've been invited to be part of a group blog called Creative Destruction, which is oriented towards civil discussion among people of widely-varying views. It's a worthy experiment, and I look forward to crushing my enemies many good conversations.

Feministe Down

Apparently Feministe has been down for two days now. My theory: Jill, realizing the futility of her doomed love for Anderson Cooper, has sold the site to Lebanese marriage brokers and is wandering the streets, disconsolate.

Or maybe someone forgot to pay a hosting bill. One of those two, I bet.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Diego Bound

I'm visiting San Diego on a business trip in the coming weeks. I won't have much free time but I'll have a little bit. Any must-see attractions or quick but worthwhile places to drop in?

French Protest Laws of Economics

French students are upset at a law that would give companies the ability to fire young workers. The quotes in the article are telling; these are people who are absolutely clueless about how economies work.

GGP Up 4.3 Percent in 2005

According to this report. I know that I was working harder.

Say No To Public Campaign Finance

Had a nice exchange with old college acquaintance Charles, an occasional poster at Alas, regarding public funding of campaigns. Public campaign funding is one of those ideas which sound eminently reasonable and tempt even the purest of conservative hearts.

However, in the course of ruminating over our exchange, I hit upon the reason that public campaign finance isn't acceptable.

Political campaigns are speech. Paying for speech promotes the speech. Collecting tax revenue and then using it to support political speech which may be deeply repellent to the taxpayer is highly objectionable. Compelling support from the public for figures and views they may find offensive is an across-the-board issue: everyone has candidates who they would be profoundly unwilling to support. I don't want David Duke to get my money. Barry is an opponent of the Slade Gorton for President ticket. And so on.

I can think of few non-corporeal punishments more awful for many people. Give us $20 to pay for Pat Robertson's televised spot on why gay marriage causes global warming, or we'll throw you in jail. If a private citizen did it, it would be extortion.

I can see that there are some real merits to a publicly-funded system. But this objection seems to me insuperable.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Film to Look at Life of Mary

This will be interesting - a biopic on Mary (and Joseph, but mainly Mary) before the Nativity. Definitely on the must-see list. (At least until we get the word that the producers decided to "go in a new direction" and have Mary as a stripper with a heart of gold who gets entangled in Joseph's screwball manger-rental scam.)

Pentagon Researches Robotic Bugs

We might see some actual, literal army ants.

I apologize for that.

Headlines Which Say Enough

From this San Antonio media report: "Flying Cow Leaves 2 Police Cars In Flames"

Don't go to the link. Don't read the story. The headline is perfect the way it is; any additional information will simply detract from the story's utter, eternal, perfection.

Microsoft Remarkets the Ipod

It's too scary to be funny. (Video, sound.)

(H/T Vodkapundit.)

Congress Raises Debt Limit to $9 Trillion

That's a lot of money.

Man, I wish it worked that way for me. I'd call up the bank - "Hi! My lending limit has just been raised $10,000. Oh, and I need to borrow $10,000. In small bills, by the door, just like last time. Thanks!"

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Worst Day Ever

Woman sitting with her father as he dies; her husband is killed in a traffic accident 20 minutes later.

Remind me not to complain about having to take out the trash.

(H/T Alabama Improper.)

Want a Job?

I really need to hire someone to help with sales for my writing and editing services company.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

From Blogger's Status Page

Regarding a server problem they've been having:

The offending server is being replaced and then shot. We’ll let you know when things are back up. Shouldn’t be too long.

Bad Christian Chronicles

I'm a bad Christian, because I read this, and I think "kill them all" and I'm not kidding even a little bit.

(Warning: sexual abuse triggers.)

Liberty University Debate Team

This is an interesting story. Look out, my liberal friends; Liberty's gonna getcha!

Chortling at the hypothetical discomfiture of lefties aside, there's a classic correction at the bottom of the story:

Correction: In the original version of this report, NEWSWEEK misquoted Falwell as referring to "assault ministry." In fact, Falwell was referring to "a salt ministry"—a reference to Matthew 5:13, where Jesus says "Ye are the salt of the earth." We regret the error.

No doubt, no doubt.

A Little Rodent



So cute.

(H/T, i.e., stolen from, here.)

British Judges Rules Boy Can Live

A British judge has denied a petition by a hospital to cease ventilation support for an 18-month old baby boy.

The boy (who is physically troubled but mentally normal) relies on a ventilator to live. His parents wanted him to stay alive. The hospital wanted to let him die.

I cannot imagine living in a country where I had to go to a court and beg a judge to let my son continue to breathe. A good outcome to an absolutely chilling scenario.

Rooftop Tennis

I'm not in these pictures.

If I were in them, I'd be a little figure in the geometric center of the roof, in the fetal position, rocking back and forth and saying "gib-gib-big" until someone let me back inside.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Taliban at Yale

Cathy Young has a great summation of the story to date, with extensive quotes.

The Personal Supercomputer

I so want one of these. Loyal minions! Sell your kidneys and send me the money!

(Note to slower loyal minions: sell one kidney, and send the money. Then sign a pre-pay contract to sell the second one, send me the money, and proceed)

No More "Chef" On South Park

Isaac Hayes has quit the show in protest over its treatment of religion. Although Hayes did not say so, there is speculation that the show's recent satire on Scientology was the deciding factor in his decision. Hayes is a member of the Church of Scientology.

Positive Body Image Has Different Impact on Men and Women

A recent study indicates that young men with good body image are more likely to engage in unprotected sex with multiple partners. Young women with good body image are less likely to do the same thing. Story is here.

(H/T to TangoMan.)

As BG Ends, Sopranos Begins...

and so the circle of life continues! Or at least the circle of us having something good to watch once a week.

BG finale was a shocker, wasn't it?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Rejected Potty Training Book Titles

1. "Every Time He Buys a Pack of Diapers, Daddy Loves You a Little Bit Less"
2. "Go In The Toilet, Like Our Real Baby Would"
3. "Mommy Drinks Because You Pee"
4. ?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Is It Just Me...

or is the Great Outdoor Fight sequence at Achewood the best thing he's done to date?

(Other than the baby of course...who turns one in a few days. Happy birthday, baby!)

Run, Hillary, Run!

Hillary is expected to run for President, but has only lukewarm support in California and New York, two absolute bastions of Democratic politics.

Interesting. I would have thought she had more backing than this. Perhaps my Rice-Clinton dream scenario is doomed, not because of the obstacles facing Condi in a Presidential bid, but because Hillary's polling is so bad she might be denied the nomination.

"Ripping Off The Man Is Fun, Beavis!"

Nest self-foulers.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Mars Orbiter Makes Successful Burn

The Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter made its orbital insertion and is stably orbiting the Red Planet.

Hooray!

An Equal Protection Argument Against Abortion

And interestingly enough, it becomes an argument for why we have to get the courts out of the abortion business.

(This isn't going to become The Abortion Blog, I promise. I just have been thinking about it a lot recently. At some point we will switch back to pictures of puppies playing with jello. )

Musing about the guy who's suing for the right to terminate his own fatherhood of a child on the grounds that he didn't want it and didn't get an abortion, I wonder if there is a 14th amendment case against abortion, on the following lines:

Once a child is born, both a man and a woman share financial and custodial responsibility for the child. They each have general duties toward the child under the law. This is just and equitable, as far as I know. (Where there are individual exceptional cases, ("that crazy judge gave him full custody!") they are in violation of the basic principles, in the absence of extraordinary circumstances.)

However, women have a power that is not granted to men: the power to abort the child. This is specific, unique to women; it can't be transferred. Unlike financial responsibility, this existential responsibility is assigned, by nature and the state, to one gender only.

It is not the state's place to rule on what nature may or may not do. However, there is no need for the state's action in the matter to conform to that set of facts. To be treated equally under the terms of 14th Amendment, which do not (so far as I am aware) make an exception for cases where only one group can exercise a right, it would seem that the state should bar both sexes from procuring the abortion of a jointly-conceived fetus, or allow both to procure unilaterally.

The latter option is ethically appalling. To grant men the arbitrary power to unilaterally decree an abortion, even in the case of a woman who greatly desired a pregnancy, would be monstrous beyond measure. No man was born to wear that crown of power over a woman, save One, and he is a gentle Lord.

The former seems to genuinely preclude the right of any woman to get an abortion. While in many cases it is likely that this would be an increase in justice, rather than a decrease, the fact that remains for some irreducible portion of pregnancies, such as cases of medical necessity or dire and unrelievable circumstances for the mother, an abortion is the morally right course of action. To deny those abortions is monstrous in and of itself. The measure of harm is, in my personal feeling, less than that imposed in the case of allowing male dictation of abortion. However, it still well exceeds the amount of injustice that can be tolerated under a humane regime of law.

It would seem, therefore, that some kind of compromise is in order. Perfect (i.e., strictly Constitutional) justice cannot be effectively delivered. However, some solution must be reached.

And here I suggest that the appropriate remedy on the part of the judicial system is: withdraw. Remove this element of our national, and personal, lives by making it a political issue instead of a legal issue.

The political system will come up with a messy, patchwork system - or more likely, set of systems. It will evolve in accordance with the efforts and desires of the people in the many communities and governmental entities that make up our society. There will undoubtedly be abuses and excesses; political systems eat efficiency and excrete corruption. But that's often a better thing than rulings by judges. You can't move out from an order of the Supreme Court. But you can leave New York for Utah, if that's what suits you. Or from Nebraska to Nevada, if that's your preference. If states and even towns are setting their own policies, then Americans for whom the issues are important can do the Burkean self-sorting which is the peculiar genius of our political and social culture.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Oh The Shame

Canada defeats US in baseball.

There is only one honorable course of action. Execute the American team, to encourage the others, and recruit a new team for a rematch.

Hopefully the prospect of being hung in the event of a loss will focus the American players' minds.

Lost in Translation

Funniest. Chinese menu. Ever.

Via the Corner.

Non-Reassuring Science

Scientists create hottest temperature ever recorded.

They've got no clue how they did it.

So they do it over and over again to try and figure it out.

I would perhaps be more reassured if they stopped doing it briefly and tried to figure out how without, you know, generating the 5 billion degree heat.

Call me Mr. Cautious.

Liquid Water Found on Moon of Saturn

This is awesome. There is probably liquid water on Saturn's small moon Enceladus, discovered by the Cassini-Huygens probe.

Stupid Homeowner, Stupid Homeowner's Association

This case is tooth-grindingly annoying. Woman with soldier husband serving overseas puts up "Support our Troops" sign. Problem: she's in a gated community with a rule against yard signs.

So now everyone is going round and round. Sigh.

If you're going to move into a community that has rules, read the darn rules and decide whether you can live by them or not. Sheesh.

If you're going to have a community with rules, be prepared to make modifications for them under certain circumstances. "Support our Troops" signs are probably a safe exception to the no-signs rules.

This is how despotisms start. Someone gets tired of watching the yammerers yammer, draws a sword, and starts cutting off heads until things are done intelligently.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How Abortion Ought to End

I'm not really happy about the South Dakota law, the way some other pro-lifers are. I don't think that the law is going to get us where we want to go.

I want abortion to be stopped through a spiritual awakening on the part of the people who are faced with the decision to have an abortion, or to have a baby.

A large part of the responsibility for laying the groundwork for that awakening lies on men. Men must take responsibility for their sexual behavior. Men must also place their material and non-material resources in escrow every time they unzip their pants; we have to recognize that every act of physical intimacy has the potential for the creation of new life, and be willing to step up and accept the duty (and the joy) of fatherhood. We can't lecture women to pick up a hugely burdensome responsibility and then do nothing to help carry it. Men who can't or won't accept the responsibility of adult sexuality ought either to refrain, or to find outlets which carry no risk of pregnancy. Vasectomies are inexpensive. You might not be able to be a dad; you can certainly refrain from being a cad.

Another part of the groundwork for that change lies in the area of state action. Government policy should encourage childbirth and childrearing, and accept the idea that women who bear children are making a serious economic and personal sacrifice, and men who father children responsibly are making a lesser, but still real, sacrifice. For the majority of the populace whose children are educated by the state, realistic sexual education is a requirement - not only in the mechanics and biology of function, but in the real intimacies and emotional vulnerabilities opened by physical intimacy. Experience is the teacher of last resort, but many of the lessons of experience can be taught in a classroom, and at far lower cost. Among the things which ought to be taught are the biological truths of conception - and an appreciation of the delicate and powerful processes that are taking place from the moment a new human life is formed.

My friends in the religious communities of America must recognize that we can emphasize sexual purity from now until Jesus comes, and many people may live up to those high standards, and that is wonderful - but many others will not, and our ideas and policies have got to reflect the reality on the ground, not the desires of our hearts. People are going to have sex; people who aren't ready for parenthood ought not to be having sex, but some are going to do it anyway, and the only known way to reduce the number of babies conceived in those circumstances is to make birth control readily available.

The hedonistic culture of sexual gratification for its own sake ought to be rejected by the people who participate in it. It's a culture that is underlaid by sadness and abuse and exploitation; a culture where women define their self-worth by their sexual prowess and their willingness to play a fantasy role for whichever man will pretend to validate their "politics" or their "liberation". A huge part of the corrupt and toxic nature of this culture comes in its emphasis of sex as the province of the very young - an absurd and destructive notion. Sexual intimacy is an incredible responsibility and an incredible experience - it is not something that should be pushed at 13 year olds with an implicit message that the only kids not having sex are the losers. Sexuality and love and regard for the humanity of one another ought to become united in the mental conceptions of sex that our children grow up in; the idea of sex without love ought to be regarded, not with horror, but with infinite sadness.

The primary agents of this cultural change must be women. Women have the right - the right de facto, never mind the intricate debates over bodily autonomy and "choice" - to control their own bodies, and they will control them. As with all decisions and control, therefore, it behooves a society which wishes to enshrine positive values of life to encourage the decisions that are compatible with those values. Women who recognize the humanity of the new life within them, who are supported by the men in their life, who are not condemned by the church but who are instead uplifted, who are encouraged in healthy and productive life choices by the state, are women who can make the right choice.

It is very doubtful that we will ever see the "fairy tale", everything-is-perfect utopian version of this culture. People are imperfect and life is messy, and even if everyone in the world has perfectly good intentions (they don't) and everyone in the world makes perfectly good decisions (they won't), there will be pregnancies which are tragic, decisions that are tragic, outcomes that are tragic. This is inevitable but it is a part of the cost of being human and having the ability to make meaningful choices for our lives.

That's pretty much a summary of what I would like to see, although I'm sure I've missed some things and mis-stated the emphasis that ought to be placed on others. There's not much room in there for outlawing things and relying on the coercive power of the state. The usefulness of that power is grossly overemphasized.

(Also posted with minor textual changes as a comment at Pandagon.)

Auto-Flushing Toilets = The Devil

Slate has this one right. I hate those things.

(H/T The Corner.)

Motion Denied...Because You're an Idiot

Judge goes Billy Madison on bozo filer. (See the footnote, page 2.)

(H/T Feministe.)

Dana Reeves, RIP

Dana Reeves, wife of the late Christopher Reeves, has died at the age of 44 from lung cancer. She leaves behind a 13-year old son, as well as two adult children. RIP.

A note of poignancy on an already sad occasion; Ms. Reeves is also survived by her father. I cannot imagine reaching old age and then having my still-young daughter taken away. Sympathies and prayers to the entire family.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Edwards Travels America, Visits 1930s

John Edwards is traveling the country, quietly doing spadework for his presumptive 2008 Presidential run. Edwards has a 1930s view of poverty as a material problem, caused by a shortage of material goods. (This shortage is always either blamed on the wicked capitalists, or left unexplained, by the materialist.) Of course, poverty is generally the result of the intersection of bad human capital formation in childhood with bad training in early adolescence. Edwards doesn't get that.

But there's some hope he might figure it out. He's a good candidate and a charismatic fellow; I'd give him a pretty good shot at the nomination in 2008.

Father of the Year Award

So far this guy's got to be a contender.

You know, chief, they're going to let you out again for the final checkups and such, after you give the kidney. Why not run then?

Is Patriarchy Inevitable?

Interesting article.

Ripoff!

How come Serenity didn't get Best Picture?

They weren't nominated for anything.

I'd say that alone makes the whole thing a farce.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers. Kick off your shoes, make yourself at home.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Oscar Nonblogging

Not blogging it. Not watching it. Not interested.

Sorry.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

"English-Speaking American" Told to Tone it Down

A Denver public works employee is told he cannot wear a "US Border Patrol" hat to work. He's also told to cover or remove the "English-Speaking American" sign, and the American flag, from the trailer on his truck.

Art Buchwald Cheerful As He Nears Death

A cheery little story about Buchwald, who has declined further dialysis (and presumably other life-saving treatment). The writer of the story presented Art with a lifetime achievement award and spent some time chatting with him.

It's been years since I've read anything by him, but I remember being charmed and amused as a boy. When he goes, he will be missed.

Corrupt Congressman Draws Eight-Year Term

Randy Cunningham, who took millions in bribes and "gifts", was sentenced to eight years in prison. He did take responsibility for his acts, telling the judge, "Your honor I have ripped my life to shreds due to my actions, my actions that I did to myself...I made a very wrong turn. I rationalized decisions I knew were wrong. I did that, sir."

Good. Housecleaning is never fun, but is necessary if you want to govern. Republicans have more work to do.

Criminal Probe in Tillman Death

Huh. I wonder what this is all about.

Friday, March 03, 2006

My First PC

When I was a kid - maybe 7, so 1975 - I had an analog computer. A friend of the family gave it to me; it was gathering dust in his garage. It was a plastic shell that had I think 10 lightbulbs across the top, and rows and rows of holes. You would connect sets of holes with wires, and there were plastic sliders that would activate or de-activate parts of the circuit that you had built. It came with pre-designed "games" and "utilities" that you could (after sweating and swearing with wires for 4 hours) plug in to the board and play. You could also write your own programs for it, if you were some kind of frickin' genius (or so it seemed to me at the time).

Thanks to helpful old alumni friends, I found it here. Lots of other cool computers at that site.

Also, as a boy, I wrote a program designed to be entered on punch cards. (It was a lunar lander simulator.) The cards were not actually physically punched - the campus mainframe where I was taking the computer class had just been outfitted with a state-of-the-art teletype terminal, where you could actually type in code without having to punch the cards. But they still taught us how to do the cards, because it was "a valuable job skill".

Yes, I am old. I am punchcard old, and my temples are white.

When did this happen?

Ginsburg Falls Asleep at Supreme Court

According to the AP reporter quoted in this WND story. Apparently Justice Ginsburg caught a few zzzzs at the tail end of a dry and technical case.

Can't say I blame her. Heck, last time I went to the dentist, they used a wedge to hold my mouth open so I wouldn't have to keep straining my muscles, and I napped through two fillings. Of course, when it comes to sleeping, I don't mess around.

Black History Month, Belatedly

Iowahawk had a rare-for-him serious post up for BHM talking about the major role that black Americans played in drag racing. Interesting stuff; at least, a change from the usual veneration of the idols.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Lego Difference Engine

This has been floating around for a while, but I don't care. This guy is cool. He may never touch a woman, but he's cool.

I Have No Problems

Been in a minor funk because of a troublesome client. Pity me, poor me, my life is hard.

I have no problems.

Can You Pass Eighth-Grade Math?

Try it here. I passed!

Isaac Asimov Died of AIDS

I didn't know that Janet Asimov had revealed this 'secret' in her 2002 autobiography. Apparently he became infected by HIV after a 1983 blood transfusion. They kept it quiet because Asimov (in his 60s when he first contracted the disease) didn't want to deal with the stigma. Understandable, I suppose.

Because It's Been a While



There's always room for kitties.

Fun With Genetics

Mixed-race couple bears fraternal twins. One is white, the other black. Both are very sweet.

People In The Wrong Job

This nice lady maybe needs a change of scenery.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Yes, Your Cellphone Will Crash The Plane

Apparently the people who design avionics don't bother to do things like insulate their circuits from outside interference. Which used to be a reasonable move, probably - when you're six miles from anything else, insulated circuits are not a priority. This study says that the emissions from portable electronics really are problematic.

Guess I Gotta Keep Putting In That Toddler Time

Fortunately it's a joy and a delight.

Trivializing Rape

Diversity sucks. (Politically-informed diversity, not the different-people-getting-along-nicely kind.) But it doesn't rise to the level of rape, not even rhetorically. "Ideas" like this one are simply counterproductive. (H/T The Corner).

Monday, February 27, 2006

Bring Out Your Dead...

Languages, that is. An idea to preserve the human linguistic heritage.

I've never been one to get weepy that a language dies out - people find something better and they work with it, usually. But this is a great idea, for scholarly and cultural purposes.

Microsoft Developing Ultraportable PC

This report is rather vague, but I hope it's true. I've never had a laptop that does what I want in a portable device. They're all too big and clumsy. But PDAs are underpowered and too small.

My ideal portable computer would be about 6" by 8" x 1". It could be a clamshell, but it would be better if it was just a block with the screen taking up the whole 48 square inches. A stylus/touchscreen for primary entry, and a connectible separate keyboard for serious text work. Built-in DVD/CD drive. Wireless connectivity, hard drive, a long battery life, and a real operating system would round out the package.

Something like that, I could sit with in a car or a plane and get surfing and light work done, and when I got where I was going I could pull the keyboard out of the suitcase, plug it in, and get down to work.

If Microsoft is thinking along the same lines, they'll have at least one customer.

And yes, I AM supposed to be working. Shut up.

More Fun Lefty Self-Consumption

Over at my friend Amp's blog, we have flavor #2452 of the lefty self-immolation circus: Feminists Fighting The Patriarchy by tearing each other to shreds.

Dogs Doing Math

Interesting stuff. Gentle readers, I now officially have more stuff to do than time to do it in, so blogging will be light ("as opposed to the steady deluge of novels you've been gracing us with?" comes the sarcastic call from the gallery) for the next few days.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Is Our Potato Chips Learning?

Pringles prints educational trivia questions on some of its chips now. Cute, and fun (we really did ask each other the questions.)

Of course, it would be helpful if the person writing the questions spoke ENGLISH.

Shopping With Stephanie



Took Stephanie (above, collapsing) to the grocery store today. When I was putting her in her carseat in the garage, she said "I can do it! I can do it!" So I let her go, and she clambered up onto the bench and then up into her carseat, just like a little monkey. First time she's done that.

(and the cat's in the cradle...)

At the store she walked along beside me, pointing things out ("this is a purple box!") and chattering away. Which is a joy, frankly. I went down the list and asked her for each item, "should we go get [whatever] now?" and she said "yes, let's go!" And off we'd go to the next aisle.

(...and the silver spoon...)

When we finished our shopping I told her, "OK, now you pick which way to go." She marched up to the front of the cart and started choosing directions like Napoleon. "We go this way!" At each intersection, she said "I'm choosing the paths!" Then she would look back at me and inquire "I still the leader girl?" as I reassured her that yes, she was in charge. And she'd take us up and down another aisle.

(...little boy blue and the man on the moon...)

At the checkout stand she turned to the guy behind us and just BEAMED with pride while she told him "I was the leader girl! I chose the paths!"

I'll be spending the rest of the week sobbing, just so you know.

I Need Me Some Of This

Secret passageways! Hidden rooms! My inner D&D geek is slavering.

H/T Bill Peschel.

PC Pricing: A Blast From the Past

Bill over at PlanetPeschel runs across a 15-year old ad for a PC. Check out these specs:

20-MHz 386 processor
1 MB of RAM
40-meg hard drive
Windows 3.0

The price: $1688, without a monitor.

Frightening but true: my Dad bought this system, or one very like it, from Tandy around that time. It was a decent machine.

That really brings it home, doesn't it? I spent a similar amount last year and got:

3.4 GHz Pentium IV processor (four generations more advanced, 170 times the clock speed)
2 GB physical RAM (2000 times as much)
80-gig hard drive (2000 times as much)
Windows XP

Calling a generation of CPUs a doubling in raw power, which is roughly fair, and ignoring the fact that $1700 was worth more in 1991 than it is today, we're looking at performance/capacity improvements of 1500-2000 fold.

That Moore guy apparently knew something.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Don Knotts and Darren McGavin, RIP

TV stars Don Knotts (81) and Darren McGavin (83) have both died.

McGavin I barely remember but Don Knotts is one of the underappreciated comedic actors of the 20th century. He was really good, and managed to make you forget just how good he was - too busy laughing. RIP.

(H/T Althouse.)

Interesting Futurist Blog

I have no idea who writes it, but the Futurist blog is just two months old and has been compellingly interesting since I started reading it. Wonky and detail-oriented - like all great blogs!

Abortion Rights Supporters Eat Their Own

A couple of interesting discussions over at Pandagon, where well-meaning pro-choicers are having their hats handed to them by the more, ahem, purist pro-choicers.

In the first thread linked, Traven and later Bill (both pro-choicers) make the case that perhaps abortion-rights campaigners would get better practical results if they focused on the early and mid-term abortions, the right to which command strong popular support, instead of defending hypothetical 9th-month abortions that never really happen anyway. Traven and Bill are met with invitations to expand their description of the strategy and to lay out how this could work to bolster the cause for abortion rights in the long term. (Pause for laughter.) No, of course not; Traven and Bill are traitors to the cause who must DIE.

In the second thread, about whether or not progressives should boycott South Dakota, Sarah gets the love treatment for her temerity in agreeing with the poster, but having the wrong attitude, or something.

There has to be a way to get Amanda Marcotte put in charge of the entire progressive movement.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Red Ken Suspended

"Red" Ken Livingstone, the hard-left mayor of London, has been suspended for four weeks because of offensive and insensitive comments made to a journalist.

As much as it gives me to joy to watch a leftist squirm under the hate-speech-type laws that their ilk so often foment, this is (yet another) example of why freedom of speech is important - and why our system of inalienable constitutional rights is vastly superior to the European model of rights granted by government.

Livingstone is reported to have said "This decision strikes at the heart of democracy. Elected politicians should only be able to be removed by the voters or for breaking the law."

The heart of democracy is the freedom of speech of the citizen, Ken. It isn't your specially privileged job that should give you the right to be a loudmouth jerk - it's your citizenship.

Mom Fights Off 700-Pound Polar Bear

Wow.

One suspects that this mom will receive less lip from her teenage children than many other moms do.

The Man Who Saved Your Life

Odds are that you've never heard of Stanislav Petrov, the man who saved your life. Let's change that!

(H/T Vodkapundit, who I presume is up late tending babies. I'm up tending websites.)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Don't Cry, Mr. Dell

Chinese PC manufacturer announces line of low-price US machines.

I don't know anything about this company or its PC line; I've never even heard of 'em, although they're the third-largest manufacturer in the world, apparently. (Me, out of the loop? Nah.)

Nonetheless, I boldly predict: failure.

Why? Simple - support.

PCs don't work. It's just that straightforward. There's so many options, so many configurations, so many different things that can break or fail to cooperate or just not work right in the first place. Support is critical even for the home market - to say nothing of the small-business, no-IT-department consumers that this Chinese company is specifically targeting. No support, no sale.

The machines start in the $350 range. How do you fit a decent machine and enough margin to cover a reasonable support operation in that price? Easy. You don't. So support is going to suck.

And word will get out. Word always gets out. And sales will head south, and this company will draw back a bloody stump.