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Tuesday, January 20, 2004


Gone, gone, gone... 

Gone to Colorado, back in February.

Monday, January 19, 2004


Worth a thousand words 

Howard Dean. Also Via Andrew Sullivan.

Coolest Parrot ever 

Here. (Via Andrew Sullivan)

Washington Post lies 

In yet another lame attack on President Bush. Powerline nails it. There's at least one outright lie, and several egregious misquotations, along with a lot of questionable interpretation presented as fact.

I wasn't going to post on this, but then it popped up at the top of Yahoo News headlines, long after I had seen it debunked. Don't they have any shame?

Update: more from DenBeste

Kerry wins Caucuses 

Here. However, I believe this is based on entrance polls, not the actual results. Will Saletan explains the problem with that, and with the caucuses as a whole. In the end though, I don't think it really matters. The actual number of delegates a candidate gets out of Iowa are close to insignificant, the caucus is mainly for symbolic reasons. It's been enough to make Gephardt drop out.

I think I'm mostly happy with the results. Kerry and Edwards have been proclaimed as the very close #1 and #2. They both have substantial drawbacks as candidates(I won't be voting for either in the general election) but they are both far superior to the anointed leaders, Clark and Dean. Just thinking how much this must piss off Dean brings a smile to my face. I suppose I should want Dean or Clark to get the nomination so as to make it easier for George Bush to win, but in the end I don't think it's good for the country. It would just inflame and divide the public further to give either of these lunatics a bigger platform to spout their irresponsible and reckless rhetoric. I really don't want to see them get rewarded in any way.

Scrappleface reads Dean's mind.

Conspiracies 

This is great. I'm sure this is what the Democratic candidates have been using.

Sunday, January 18, 2004


More on Obesity 

Andrew Stuttaford at the Corner has more to say on the WHO obesity study.

Saturday, January 17, 2004


Gettin high 

Climbed Mt.Tallac today. Beautiful day. I'm tired.

Friday, January 16, 2004


Tarantino Christ 

This is seriously twisted. And yet, kind of funny. (takes a while to download)

Perle, Krugman, a comparison 

This is a transcript of some sort of talk show featuring Richard Perle and Paul Krugman. Most of the action is between Perle and the very hostile interviewer, who Perle, for the most part, demolishes (not least on that "War College Study" which is no such thing). The few things that Paul Krugman has to say are outright embarrassing. One has to ask, as it has many times, how did this man get put in the position of commentating on general political matters, much less foreign policy? He doesn't have a clue of what he's talking about. He speaks in vague generalities, and he has to back down almost entirely from his criticism of Perle when he admits he hasn't read his book. I can't find anything in this transcript that shows Krugman contributing any insight to the discussion.

Work it! Work it! 

Yeah Baby!

Food Fight 

The Bush administration and the UN disagree about steps to fight obesity- This is what some groups are saying
"We doubt the secretary's commitment to fighting obesity on any serious level," said Bruce Silverglade, legal affairs director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "Government is part of the problem and government needs to be part of the solution."
CSPI is a decidely left wing organization. I have to tell you this because mainstream new stories certainly won't.
What has the Bush administration said that's so controversial?
"The (U.S. government) favors dietary guidance that focuses on the total diet, promotes the view that all foods can be part of a healthy and balanced diet, and supports personal responsibility to choose a diet conducive to individual energy balance, weight control and health," wrote Steiger, special assistant for international affairs at Health and Human Services.
Those crazy, radical right Republican! What will they say next?
Well, this-
Steiger said in his letter that the WHO report did not adequately address an individual's responsibility to balance one's diet with one's physical activities, and objected to singling out specific types of foods, such as those high in fat and sugar.
Suggesting that people exercise, how dare they! And as everybody knows, eating foods that are high in fat and sugar leads automatically to obesity. That's why I'm such a porker.
And what is the UN solution?
It also suggests governments limit food advertising aimed at children and encourage their citizens to eat healthier foods. Taxes and subsidies could be used to reduce the price of healthy food and make them more attractive to consumers, the report said.
Got that? Limitations on speech. A whole new government bureaucracy imposing costs on all of us because some people can't keep the weight off. When it comes to impositions on our freedom and personal lives, the Patriot Act has got nothing on this.

Thursday, January 15, 2004


Al Gore is still an idiot. 

Here. I could expand on this, but I don't feel like it right now. It just seems like one half-baked, unsupported assertion after another out of this buffoon's mouth.

the anti-endorsement 

Michael "Fat lying sack of *&^%" Moore has officially endorsed Wesley Clark.

This is what Clark had to say-
Clark ... welcomed the endorsement, saying Moore was "an enormous talent and an inspirational figure for millions of Americans.
Now this is the same Moore who wished the September 11 attack had killed more republicans(like Clark was at the time, I suppose). This is the same Moore who lies about and slanders his own country to make a buck. Moore is, and I can say this without hesitation, unpatriotic. It never would have occured to me to call Wesley Clark unpatriotic... until now.

Joe 

“If Howard Dean and Wes Clark had had their way,” he said, “Saddam would still be in power.” Then, he clarified: “I mean the Wes Clark position after he took the seven other positions on Iraq before he settled there.”
-Joe Lieberman

Wednesday, January 14, 2004


Move on..... 

Apparently, Move on.org held there little hate Bush event on Monday night.


Julia Stiles had this to say
I was worried that some soldiers over in Iraq who are actually younger than I am would see some salacious report on MSNBC and think that I was attacking them and not the government that put them there. And I was afraid that Bill O'Reilly would come and, with a shotgun at my front door and shoot me for being unpatriotic. But I decided that that's actually, that fear that was silencing me is actually why it's so important that MoveOn exist and do this ad contest...
For the record Julia, we don't think you're un-patriotic, just an idiot.(She sure is nice to look at though, isn't she?)


Margeret Cho on the other hand.....
I was going to share some of the things this profesional "comedian" had to say, but frankly, this picture has sapped my will to live. I'll have to leave it at that.

It's the Cheese! 

This is cool.

As Tibor says,
"There's a lesson in this for al Qaeda: Do you really want pick a fight with a country that can afford to spend millions of research dollars perfecting the cheese-slicing laser?"

Electoral maps 

This website provides a map dividing the country into different cultural regions and corresponding political analysis. If you're the sort of person, like me, that likes to look over maps of county by county election results, it is fascinating.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004


Liberal Hawks 

Slate is hosting an interesting discussion by "liberal hawks" on the Iraq war. These are, basically, politically liberal people who found themselves supporting the Iraq war. I think a substantial factor in their unconscious thinking is this, the Clinton administration supported regime change and they probably supported it when a Democrat was pushing it. Then, when a Republican became president, they weren't sufficiently intellectually dishonest to pull a 180 and oppose it, so they had to support it. But, and here's the catch, they could support this position and still satisfy their deep-seated knee-jerk tendencies to attack a republican by claiming that everything the Bush administration did both before and after the war was done wrong.

This kind of opportunistic sniping and whining fills the discussion. Remarks like "...Bush team has made an utter mess of the diplomacy..." come up frequently, usually with little or no support. This perfectly encapsulates the thought process-
What he[Ken Pollack] got wrong he got wrong because the intelligence was mistaken. What the administration got wrong it got wrong because it didn't care about the intelligence.
This guy(George Packer) doesn't even seem to realize what a parody he is saying it that baldly. Basically, if a liberal Clinton administration figure says something, well, maybe he was mistaken. If the Bush administration says it, it was a FILTHY NEO-CON CONSPIRACY LIE!

As it turns out, they also invited Christopher Hitchens. Big mistake. Like a bull in a china shop, he charges in, debunking all the casual anti-Bush cliches they take for granted. So far the other participants have ignored him. Which is probably the best choice, because they certainly can't answer him.

How dumb do you think I am? 

Got this email-
Dear Citbiank Mebmer,

This message was sentt by the Citbiank sevrer to veerify your e-mail
addres. You must cetlpmoe this psreocs by clicking on the link
below and enttering in the litle window your Citi Debit
full Card Number and pin that you use on Atm machine.
This is done for your ptocretion -n- becaurse some of our memmbers no
logenr have acecss to their email adrsdeses and we must verify it.

What's really special about this are all the misspellings and typos. Is anybody actually fooled by this?

Monday, January 12, 2004


Bad Logic 

Well, looking at my Yahoo news headlines, I see yet another prestigious sounding "study" that supposedly shows that Bush's foreign policy is all wrong.

Of course, the headline makes it sound very damning, but, yet again, on closer inspection it turns out to be a bunch of cliches packed into a long paper and given a fancy title.

"The result has been an unnecessary preventive war of choice against a deterred Iraq that has created a new front in the Middle East for Islamic terrorism and diverted attention and resources away from securing the American homeland against further assault by an undeterrable al Qaeda," Record wrote.


So according to this guy the Iraq war has diverted "resources" away from "securing the American homeland". Well, what resources are being used in Iraq? Soldiers. Tanks. Apache helicopter. AC-130 gunships. And which of these would be useful in protecting America from a terrorist attack? Which of them would have prevented 9-11? Ummmm.... none of them. Unless Al Qaeda is going to attempt a conventional invasion of the USA(and trust me, they won't) these "resources" won't do anything to fight terrorism unless they are deployed somewhere abroad. Maybe you could argue they were deployed unnecessarily, but you can't say they were distracted from important anti-terror mission they would have otherwise have been engaged in.

And I love the "undeterrable al Qaeda". Many members of al Qaeda may well be undeterrable, but the countries that host them and the people that support them are most certainly deterrable.

This thing reads like it was written by some naive and ignorant college student who sat in front of the TV absorbing the cliched catchphrases of peace protestors and Democratic party presidential candidates. The question is why this stuff even makes headlines, why not report on the opinion of some guy named Fred they found on the street? He would probably show a similar grasp of the facts, and a better understanding of basic reality.

Quiz 

Simpsons

Don't let the magic smoke out! 

Amazing anecdote about the cluelessness of consumer electronics salesmen

"Clerks at several stores advised him that a plasma TV's power cord had to be recharged every few months, or else the plasma gas will stop flowing."

If Quayle had said it- 

Can you imagine — can you imagine — if Quayle had said that his favorite New Testament book was Job? Can you imagine?

Of course you can.

For the past, oh, 15 years, I've had many occasions to say, "If Dan Quayle had said that . . ." I suppose that I, and other Quayle-defenders, will be saying it for the rest of our lives. We said it when Al Gore talked about a leopard changing its stripes, and when he interpreted E pluribus unum to mean "Out of one, many." We have had several occasions to say it during the current Democratic primary campaign. (Dean rivals W. as a syntax-mangler, and he may surpass him.)

Youngsters will tire of hearing the oldsters say, "If Dan Quayle . . ." — but I have a feeling that I, myself, will never tire of it. The Establishment abuse of Dan Quayle is one of the most disgraceful things I know.


Jay Nordlinger



Mars: 

California or Mt.Everest?

At present, I'd have to say that Mars, and most of space, including the moon, is Mt.Everest. With current technology, reaching or sustaining a base on the Moon or Mars is prohibitively expensive. So reaching Mars is like climbing Mt.Everest, expensive and dangerous, with almost no quantifiable return on investment. The difference of course, is that space travel blows billions of dollars of taxpayer money instead of some rich guys savings.

Until there is a real transformative technology advance(nanotechnology, cold fusion), and not just the incremental improvements that come with conventional Space development, expeditions beyond outer Earth orbit will be little more than publicity stunts.

Global Heartwarming 

For those not bored to death of the subject, here's some more on the global warming issue.

Return from Ojai 

Got back yesterday. I played in the alumni soccer game and we won. Who Hoo! Mr.Harris finally left for greener pastures in New York. That's about all I have to report.

Friday, January 09, 2004


Gone 

Gone to Ojai, back on Sunday.

Thursday, January 08, 2004


Israel 

Sobering and shocking perspective from an Israeli historian.

Gnome 

In a Noam Chomsky book review, Samantha Power writes-
''Survival or Hegemony'' is not easy to read. Chomsky's glib and caustic tone is distracting. He relies heavily upon quotations, but rarely identifies the speaker or writer. The endnotes supply more frustration. Bill Clinton's humanitarian rationale for the Kosovo war was ridiculed ''by leading military and political analysts'' in Israel, we are told, but the citation leads only to an earlier book by Chomsky himself. When he agrees with a claim, Chomsky introduces it with the word ''uncontroversially'' or credits it to ''distinguished authorities.'' Those who don't share his viewpoint don't simply disagree; they are the ''prevailing intellectual culture'' or the ''educated classes.'' This is a thinker far too accustomed to preaching to an uncritical choir.


The author then goes on to say that we should listen to Chomsky anyway because... Bush is evil and stuff... or something.

I like this part..
"''Why do they hate us?'' Chomsky asks in ''Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance.'' ''Because of you and your associates, Mr. Bush, and what you have done.'' "

See that's interesting because later we see this-
"and the Timorese, whose welfare Chomsky has heroically championed over the years,"

Well, see now, the western enabling of Timorese independence is one of Osama Bin Laden's specific gripes. It would seem that at least one reason why "they hate us" would be Noam Chomsky. But then Noam Chomsky would inspire hatred in any reasonable person.

Ouch 

A little too close to the truth.

The Truth is Out There 

Conspiracy theory that will keep you awake at night-
"Indeed, the more vigorously Moore attacks the President, the better Bush's approval ratings. Funny, that. And Moore's lifestyle has been awfully lavish of late. One doesn't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but it makes you think, doesn't it?"

Clark Bar 

I've posted quite a bit here about the deficiencies of Howard Dean. Clark is worse. Read this, scroll down to the bullet point that starts "Friends, I have a piece in the upcoming issue".

Tuesday, January 06, 2004


D & D Characters 

The complete list of Democratic candidates as D&D characters.

Amazing 

A bank had a written policy of requiring loan officers to charge lower fees for minorities then for whites. Why? To protect themselves from discrimination lawsuits from minorities. Washington Post article here. (Via Volokh)

Simpsons 

Comprehensive Simpsons resource.

A little Theology 

In an otherwise entertaining dialogue about movies at slate, J. Hoberman writes, "The most American thing about the recent poll that reports something like 94 percent of us believes in heaven was that only 1 percent thinks they're going to hell."

Why is this so remarkable? So "American"? Let's think about this. You can break up people into groups. There are those who don't believe in hell (and apparently, there are a substantial number of Americans who believe in Heaven and not Hell, which I find to be a much more interesting result), obviously, these people don't believe they are going to Hell. Then, there are the people who believe in Hell and believe that they can control, through their actions and beliefs, whether or not they go. Almost all of these people are going to believe that they are not going to Hell because they are going to act accordingly to prevent it. Who would willingly and knowingly choose a course of action that would result in eternal torment? One last category is people who believe that going to Hell is predetermined. How many people believe that they are doomed to eternal torment and have absolutely no control over it? That's certainly a dismal belief system.

So basically, you're looking at insane people who willingly choose Hell and terminally depressed people who think they don't have any choice. Is it surprising that this only constitutes 1% of the population? I don't know if such a poll was conducted in Europe, but I would be surprised if the number was much higher.

Hoberman's remark was thrown off as an aside, and I don't think he means any particular malice in it, yet it is still very revealing of a certain new class sneering that for some reason seems to be particularly associated with New York elites. Hoberman thinks he is just sooooo superior to those silly self-centered rubes in middle America and he just can't resist an opportunity to show it. What he actually shows is his total ignorance of religion and the people whose country he lives in.

Monday, January 05, 2004


16 Questions 

Rich Lowry has 16 questions for Howard Dean. Very harsh and funny.

Movie Lists 

This is a cool chart that compiles a year's ten best movie list from something like a hundred critics.

The number one movie is..... Lost in Translation. I have to say, I liked the movie a fair amount but I think it is overpraised. If I had to choose, I would probably pick Return of the King, the second choice on the list. However, I can't put that much enthusiasm behind that choice. It is mostly a reflection of a very weak year in movies. I certainly don't feel as strongly about RotK as I did about the Fellowship. Also, I haven't seen many of the critical favorites. Mystic River looks depressing, ponderous, and pretentious. It also stars Tim Robbins, who I think is a mediocre actor. 21 Grams also looks depressing and it was made by the filmmaker who made Amores Perros, which I couldn't even finish watching. Spellbound is a documentary which is supposed to be good, but I haven't been able to see it. Elephant is a realistic depiction of a school shooting spree. Yeah, I could get excited about that.

Of the movies I have seen, Finding Nemo and Master and Commander were both good, but... not amazing. Cold Mountain was entertaining, but not much more, certainly not a moving emotional experience. Whale Rider was good, but fairly small in scope and scale, similar in that sense to Lost in Translation. 28 days later was a very well made movie and very affecting... but I can't really choose a movie that I don't even want to see again because it was too disturbing. X2 wasn't anywhere near being a critical favorite, but would probably make my ten best list. If I made one.

Serious Geek humor 

Democratic candidates as D&D characters. Very funny if you're familiar with the genre.

Sunday, January 04, 2004


Judges 

Powerline nicely summarizes the judical confirmation battles.

Weather 

According to Yahoo Weather, it's currently -6 degrees outside.

Saturday, January 03, 2004


Endangered Species Act 

Juan non-Volokh straightens things out on the ESA.

"Educating White Folks" 

Howard Dean on Race issues.
"Dealing with race is about educating white folks," Dean said in an interview Tuesday on a campaign swing through the first primary state where African-American voters will have a major impact. "Not because white people are worse than black people about race but because whites are in the majority, and therefore the behavior of whites has a much bigger influence on hiring practices and so forth and so on than the behavior of African-Americans."

Mickey Kaus does a good job of comparing Howard Dean to Bill Clinton. The comparison does not make Howard Dean look good.(No permalinks, so scroll down to the bottom of the January 2 Entry, titled "Dealing with race is about educating white folks.")

Howard Dean really is moving the Democratic party backwards here. The idea that black racism(which is substantially worse than white racism) and a dysfunctional inner-city minority culture might be a serious part of the problem is anathema to Dean and his base. This is the old-style Democratic party that believed in helping the disadvantaged by continually lowering standards and never expecting or demanding better. This philosophy manifested itself through affirmative action and old style welfare. Bill Clinton signed off on(eventually) welfare reform and although he was never willing to take any tough action on affirmative action he did speak the occasional harsh truth.

It is easy for some of us who couldn't stand Bill Clinton to forget what an improvement on substance he was over the old Democratic Party dogma. It looks like that dogma is resurfacing to some extent with Dean. Derrick Z. Jackson, the kind of ***hole who can write stuff like this without blinking, "While the Republicans have baldly capitulated to racism in modern presidential campaigns", are cheering him on.

What I really found amazing was the following bit-
"Dean said his own education about unconscious racism began at Yale, where he graduated in 1971. He was trying to get a child from the inner city of New Haven that he was tutoring to talk "proper" English. One of his African-American roommates told him, "Why don't you leave him alone?" He said he had the "traditional white liberal idea that if black people were like us then we'd all be fine. Sort of like the Republican idea. If we all played golf at the same country club, then there wouldn't be any racial problems."

This is everything wrong with his attitude in a nutshell. Don't try and teach that child to speak proper English. Then, when he grows up and can't get a job because he doesn't speak proper English, conclude that the problem needs to be solved by "educating white folks", when actually the problem was that you failed to educate that little black boy when it mattered. Of course, at this point, you need a program of mandatory government sponsored racism to solve the problem. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Update: On a related matter, John Derbyshire.

Update: The Onion has an appropriate comment on the culture of poverty.

Quiznos 

A while back, I ate at the Quiznos in South Lake Tahoe and noticed that the prices seemed unusually high. I didn't know if it was that I remembered wrong, or Quiznos had increased their prices across the board, or if the Quiznos in SLT was unusually expensive. On my drive home yesterday, I stopped at a Quiznos along I5 in the middle of nowhere in the central valley. A regular sandwich there was about five dollars and change, as opposed to eight dollars and change at the Tahoe Quiznos. That solves that mystery. The Tahoe Quiznos charges about 50% more than at least some Quiznos franchises.

Why is this? One explanation is that it costs more to ship the high-quality ingredients Quiznos is famous for up to Tahoe. Another is that the Quiznos is in the new super-yuppified shopping center next to Heavenly Gondola and the rents are high. Another is that they can get away with it, since their clientele is mostly ski and casino tourists, who are not very price sensitive, at least while on vacation. I don't think high labor costs would be an explanation, there are plenty of ski bums around to fill out low wage jobs.

I heard the manager(owner?) talking about opening another Quiznos down by the Y. It would be interesting to see what their prices are, since it wouldn't have the high rents, or the high rent clientele. There would be many more locals among the customers down by the Y, and they would be much more likely to take their business to McDonalds, or Subways, or Taco Bell rather than pay nine dollars for a sandwich.

Friday, January 02, 2004


Chain Control 

I'm back.
It was snowing for most of the day, at least up here. When I got past Placerville, there were signs up indicating chains required and so forth, but I wasn't about about to put my chains on before I had to, so I kept driving. Shortly thereafter, there were a bunch of cars pulled over and putting on chains on the side of the road. I figured it must be a chain control checkpoint, so I pulled over and put my chains on, grumbling the whole time about stupid chain control making me put on chains when I didn't have to. I then drove for about a quarter mile past all the stopped cars when I realized there was no checkpoint and I didn't have to put on chains, at which point I pulled over and took off my chains. I then drove for several miles until I got to Pollack Pines, where there was a chain control checkpoint and I had to put my chains on. So, remind self, don't put your chains on until you see the checkpoint.
There was some slushy snow on the road but I don't think chains were necessary, at least not for me. They weren't really necessary until the second chain checkpoint several more miles down the road. Not that it mattered. Traffic was moving at about 5 miles an hour. Crawl along for about 10 minutes. Stop for 5 minutes. Crawl for about 5 more minutes. Stop for 5 minutes. Crawl for another 10 minutes. Stop for 20 minutes. I saw several accidents(afterwards, not in progress) on the way. The only thing that looked worse than what I was doing was coming the other way. Hate to be going home to the Bay area tonight. The traffic opened up near the summit and was pretty good coming down the other side and through town, able to make a good 25mph, about as good as possible with chains. Still, it took me 5 hours to get from Sacramento to South Lake Tahoe.
Stopped at the grocery store, got my mail, and then, just for fun, I shoveled out my parking space. It's good to be home. Only 13 1/2 hours after leaving LA.

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