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Sunday, February 29, 2004


Stick figure Fury 

Cool Animation.

Saturday, February 28, 2004


Damn Funny 


Wednesday, February 25, 2004


How Big an Idiot is Gary Trudeau? 

Pretty Big. This guy is really slow. This "scandal" was debunked long ago, and Gary, the DNC apparatchik, is only now catching up. Gee Gary, you could try reading his pay records that show he showed up for drill duties during the time period he was in Alabama. Or you could look at his dental examination that took place on the Alabama base. Or you could just observe that he got an honorable discharge, and thus obviously fulfilled his duties. Or you could listen to an eyewitness.... Naaaaaaaaaahhh. Just keep flogging that dead horse. Sort of like you did with that phony IQ rating of Presidents, or that hoax about the government map-maker who was fired for telling truth to power. Really, anything less would be a disappointment.

Psssttt... that obedience guaranteeing shock collar Terry McCauliffe had installed isn't too tight, is it?

Tuesday, February 24, 2004


The Kerry Interview 

Bet you haven't seen this one. (Note, the veracity of this interview could not be confirmed)

Pandas 

This is just adorable.

PC-mania at Prep Schools 

Excellent(and long) article at city journal.
Undoubtedly, many high-achieving black students are unjustly suspected of benefiting from preferences. But the unjust suspicion is the result of the preference system itself, as author Shelby Steele has observed, not of racism. Preference advocates cannot set up a system where, every year, black and Hispanic pupils with lower grades and SATs are admitted to colleges that have rejected their higher-scoring white and Asian peers and expect students not to notice what is going on. To deny the obvious, as diversity deans do, and accuse students of racism for noticing the obvious, creates a totalitarian demand for bad faith.

Black prep-school students often cry racism when white students cast them as the class experts on the black experience. “I was never a slave and I didn’t live through segregation, so don’t expect me to know everything about it,” complained Angelica Alton in the Exonian recently. Fair enough. But the rationale for race-conscious “diversity” admissions is that skin color equates with point of view and life experience. Advocates of color-conscious policies in prep-school admissions shouldn’t be surprised when people respond to this argument accordingly.
and
However ineptly phrased, the offending essay was nevertheless a cri du coeur for racial mixing. If that now constitutes racial intolerance, then the definition of racial injustice has been distorted beyond recognition. Prep-school authority figures are starting to apply a double standard for defining racial torts. In Exeter’s course “The Black Experience in White America,” students recently were debating the acceptability of interracial dating—not whether it’s okay for a white teen to date a black, of course, but whether it’s okay for blacks to date whites. When a black girl announced that blacks should only date other blacks, a white girl burst into tears and asked: “But wasn’t this part of the civil rights struggle—to get to the point where people are just people?” The teacher, Russell Weatherspoon, says it was “poignant” that the white girl was so stunned by this expression of black separatism, but he did not intervene on the side of colorblindness. Had a white student argued against diluting white racial solidarity, of course, the whole school would have risen up in protest.


Ralph Nader: Fraud 

Every time I actually got into an issue deeply enough to understand the details -- nuclear power, toxic waste, pharmaceutical regulation -- I discovered that the Naderites had no more respect for the facts than the industries they were fighting: in some cases, less.
From liberal Mark Kleiman.
And I haven't even begun on the outright lies that many or most canvassers would tell in order to part their marks from their hard-earned cash. The directors didn't directly condone it, of course . . . but if they ever made even a half-hearted attempt to prevent their employees from committing fraud, well, I must have been out that week.

And all of the Ralph Nader groups seem to work the same way, which implies that the problem isn't that PIRG was betrying the vision of Saint Ralph, folk hero of the consumer class, but rather that this seamy policy of taking advantage of the generosity of their well-intentioned donors in order to create a behemoth bureaucratic machine whose primary interest is furthering its own existance is the vision of Saint Ralph.
From Megan Mcardle
More here, and here.




Bottom Line Rumsfeld 

But Rumsfeld demanded results. At a conference of commanders at the Pentagon, he pulled Holland aside.
"Have you killed anyone yet?" he asked.
-Rumsfeld's War.

Friday, February 20, 2004


Weasel in one thing, a Weasel in all... 

From the gossip piece linked in the previous item, I found this-
Janeane Garofalo seems to be having a bet both ways. She told Webster Hall curator Baird Jones: "I am almost certain there is no heaven, but if there is, I want to make sure I have just enough faith to get in."
Garofalo was one of the most prominent anti-war celebrities. When asked if she thought World War II was justified, she said(basically) that she wasn't sure. She wanted everybody to know how noble and important she was, opposing war(because everybody knows war is bad), but she couldn't be bothered to come up with a coherent moral framework for her position. What if no war meant Saddam Hussein and the Taliban stayed in power? Not her problem. What if it meant deaths for hundreds of thousands and suffering for millions? She just couldn't be bothered to think about it. What if her position meant standing aside for Hitler? Well... she just wasn't sure.

Her position on religion is of a piece with her position on war. She wants to firmly state her beliefs, she just doesn't want to be held responsible for them.

Almost fell over laughing 

"Frankly, sharing a media market with Chuck Schumer is like sharing a banana with a monkey. Take a little bite of it, and he will throw his own feces at you." --Sen. Schumer's colleague, Sen. John Corzine (D-N.J)
(from Kaus)

Thursday, February 19, 2004


This world is too dark. 

Tales from the Cultural Revolution-
More typical, and more tragic, was Wu Bingyuan, a technician accused of counterrevolutionary activities (a pamphlet). Li recalls that when Wu heard his sentence, death, "he looked into the sky and murmured, "this world is too dark"; then he closed his eyes and never in this life reopened them." The photographs show Wu being paraded through the streets of the city. Later, shackled and bound, he's pictured at his place of execution. His eyes are still shut. We see him kneeling, back turned to the firing squad. His eyes are still shut. The final image is of Wu's corpse. His eyes are still shut.


Global Warming... or not. 

So, I see this little story on the Yahoo news headlines. It goes on for quite a bit about the tragedy of the poor nation of Tuvalu, which is being swamped by rising water. Global warming right? That's pretty much the tenor of the article, with quotes like this
Tuvalu has long warned it is at risk from a rise in sea levels caused by global warming. During negotiations on the Kyoto Convention on global warming a decade ago, then prime minister Bikenibeu Paeniu warned "the world's first victims of climate change" would be the 11,500 Tuvaluans.
Sounds damning, huh? Then, we finally come across this
But science is divided with a recent study showing sea levels are not rising. The theory is that the land is subsiding because of improper land use and population pressure.
Guess which angle news agencies will play up, and which they will ignore...

That's what I call Cajones... 

When asked if you would like to travel to Beijing to give a presentation on international economics, always say yes. (Via Tim Blair)

Wednesday, February 18, 2004


Martha Stewart 

I haven't followed the whole Martha Stewart trial thing at all, but Steverino has a summation that makes the prosecutor look pretty bad.

The Daiju Principle 

I can’t help but think some people admire totalitarian regimes not because they want to live in one, but because they want to be in charge of one.
-Michael Totten

I had a friend in High-School who closely resembled this remark.

Update: A friend(who also knew said friend) sent me the following remark
Corollary to the Daiju principle--

All libertarians are frustrated monarchists. If they can't rule nobody
should.
As someone with libertarian sympathies, I'm not sure this is fair.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004


Harsh 

From the book The Rough Guide to New Zealand about the town of Picton-
With the three notable exceptions already mentioned, the town is a bastion of barely adequate food and uninspired decor.
Oh, but they aren't done with Picton yet-
As for what passes for entertainment in the town, .... several large, slightly tacky pubs along the waterfront that serve drink and cheap food all day, and occasionally have live music by desperate bands trying to scrape together enough money to escape, north by ferry or south by train or bus.
Makes me think Picton is sort of like that desperate encampment in the wasteland in Mad Max 3, but without the excitement of the Thunderdome.

Unusually Blunt 

language from the AP-
Fallen front-runner Howard Dean trailed far behind, winless in 17 contests, his candidacy doomed.
DOOOOOOOOOMED! DOOOOOOOOOOMED!

Deep Thoughts 

From Frank J-
Still Canadians try to match up with us. They even have money just like ours, in all the same denominations, but not worth as much and in fruity colors. Have you ever held a Canadian penny? It's a mind-blowing experience. There in your hand is something actually worth less than one cent. Seeing the Canadian penny is as close as the human mind can come to grasping the concept of absolute nothingness.


Kung-Fu Master 

This is so awesome. Fighting styles of Donald Rumsfeld. (via Tim Blair)

Monday, February 16, 2004


The Chinese Population Implosion 

Between 2000 and 2025 China’s median age is set to rise very substantially: from about 30 to around 39. According to unpd projections for 2025, in fact, China’s median age will be higher than America’s. The impending tempo of population aging in China is very nearly as rapid as anything history has yet seen. It will be far faster than what was recorded in the more developed regions over the past three decades and is exceeded only by Japan. There is a crucial difference, however, between Japan’s recent past and China’s prospective future. To put the matter bluntly, Japan became rich before it became old; China will do things the other way around. When Japan had the same proportion of population 65 and older as does China today (2000), its level of per capita output was three times higher than China’s is now. In 2025, 13.4 percent of China’s population is projected to be 65-plus; when Japan crossed the 13.4 percent threshold, its per capita gdp was approaching $20,000 a year (constant 1990 ppp dollars). One need not be a “Sino-pessimist” to suggest that China will be nowhere near that same economic marker 22 years from now.
From Nicholas Eberstadt (Via Volokh)

Preparing for takeoff... 

Chris Suellentrop on Dennis Kucinich-
Irony is not the long suit of the man who extended his wingspan Saturday night in front of a few hundred Democrats and helicoptered silently for several long seconds before shouting "No strings! No strings! No strings! No strings! I'll take you to the White House with no strings attached!"
Also-
My wife thinks Kucinich is great, except for his crazy positions. I think that's about right.

Sunday, February 15, 2004


The VEEP 

Well, It looks like the Democratic nomination contest is pretty much over. I just don't see how anyone other than Kerry could win at this point. And no, I don't think the intern business could change that, it's just too late.

So, what now? Well, we can now begin speculating on who his pick for Vice-President will be. As I said earlier, Dean is out. I would have thought Edwards would be an attractive choice, but Kerry seems to be ruling that out-
Kerry is also said to be unconvinced that Edwards is experienced enough to step in as a wartime president should something happen to him. National security credentials are the most important assets that the Democratic presidential front-runner would use to choose a running mate, these aides said.
So, who will it be? Sharpton? Yeah, Al Sharpton, that's the ticket! ........mmmmm..no.

Actually, based on what Kerry says in the Boston Globe article, it looks like he could be positioning himself to pick Clark. Clark recently quit and endorsed Kerry, so that piece of the puzzle fits. Clark has a tendency for loose cannon remarks like Dean, but he doesn't quite have that true-believer quality that Dean had. Quite the opposite, really. Clark is infinitely malleable. This might be exactly what Kerry is looking for in a running mate. He has that image of a war-hero, and into that shell Kerry can pour whatever message he deems appropriate to win the election. It's certainly not like Clark has any longstanding principles that would get in the way. Kerry's proven pretty flexible himself, so there's quite a bit these two have in common.

Having said all that, I think the smart money is on none of the above. Kerry will probably pick some Governor, who will be unknown on the national stage and will make his campaign appear new and fresh.

Big Race 

I have registered for the Pikes Peak Ascent Half Marathon on Aug.21, 2004. I told them an estimated time of 4:25, which was based on a full marathon time plus a half hour. I'm hoping I can do better than that, I'll just have to see.

This means that I really need to take training seriously. I ran 4 ten mile runs last week; I'd like to add to that and do a lot of tough trail running. It's supposed to snow all this week, which points to one problem I could have with maintaining my training schedule.

I also registered for the La Jolla Half in April, which I do every year. We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, February 14, 2004


A BIG Diamond. 

This is cool. (Via Oxblog)

Texas: Not number one 

Does this mean it's all right to mess with Texas now?

Thursday, February 12, 2004


Bush AWOL 

Basically, it's a load of crap. Here's a good roundup. (Via MWQ)

Also, if you're interested, read this, and this.

Also, read this as well. Ignore the headline. It's technically correct, but implies almost the complete opposite of what the article says.

Update:
Ok, the nail is REALLY in the coffin now. If journalists had any sense of shame this story would be officially dead now.(Via the Corner)

Update:
Ok, fixed a link.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004


Dean-Gore, the remix 

This is pretty funny.(takes a little bit to download)

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


Clark 

Clark has left the presidential race.

All I can say is, A HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! LOSER!

Sorry, but that man defined complete tool. He just said one insane thing after another in a desperate attempt to get the Democratic base to like him. And it didn't work. LOOOOOOOSER!

That leaves Dean as the other marginally (in)sane candidate, but he's already lost, he just won't admit it. He's a walking dead man. (Which I guess would make him an undead collective mind.)

Pictures 

Ok, I've added more(and better) pictures.

Movies 

I recently saw the movie, American Splendor. A quirky and moderately entertaining movie about some fairly offbeat characters.

I also saw The Maltese Falcon(colorized). Pretty good. Still, when I see a recognized classic like this, it just reinforces my view that, contrary to accepted connoisseur opion, old movies really aren't as good as modern movies. It isn't just that the sound and picture quality and visual effects are far inferior to modern movies. It's everything else as well. The dialogue is frequently stilted. The acting often seems forced. The plots often rely on a certain naivete about the world that a modern viewer would find implausible. And another thing. Music. Something I noticed while watching The Maltese Falcon was the heavy overuse of music to set the mood. The fact that poor sound quality resulted in distorted and tinny music didn't particularly help either.

Now, might you not raise many of these objections about modern movies? Sure, there are no shortage of bad modern movies. But there are bad old movies too. Like Soylent Green, which I saw recently. Influential and groundbreaking, in it's way, I suppose, but bad, bad bad. The fact is, for the most part people aren't aware of bad old movies because they don't see them. Why should they, when they can see bad movies in Dolby surroundsound with the latest CGI effects?(not to mention nudity)

The test is, compare the best new movies to the best old movies. I've seen Casablanca, Notorious, The Maltese Falcon,Dr. Strangelove, and Citizen Kane. They were all pretty good.Citizen Kane was actually the best of the lot, that and Dr. Strangelove were the only ones I had any desire to see again. Would I trade any of these for Shawshank Redemption? No. Compare that lot to Unforgiven, Fargo, the Last Emperor, Fellowship of the Ring, Election, High Fidelity, BraveHeart, In the Bedroom, Boiler Room, Big Trouble in Little China, Memento. That's just from perusing my bookshelf, and I enjoyed every one of those movies more than every one on the first list. And it wasn't just enjoyment. They also affected me emotionally more and made me think moreAnd most of them were made just in the past few years. Any type of movie you can think of is done better in the modern era. Epic? BraveHeart or Fellowship. Comedy? Being John Malkovich or Election. Adventure? Big Trouble in Little China or Raiders of the Lost Ark. Film Noir? Memento. Western? Unforgiven. Serious Domestic Drama? In the Bedroom. Science Fiction? This is one category I don't think anybody could disagree modern movies are better.

I haven't thought about these selections that much, but I say any one of them is better than any old(pre-1975) movie in the same category. Nostalgic pining for the way movies "used to be" is so much pretentious twaddle. Bah Humbug.

(I just thought of Mash, which was a late "old movie"(1969). It was really funny, but Animal House was better.)

(Ok. I just thought of The Graduate. That was pretty good too, but it was also a pretty late old movie, and besides, if that's the best old movies can do, they still lose.)



Hilarious correction 

Also, another reason to take everything you read in the news with a grain of salt.

Tallac 

I got my pictures from when I climbed Tallac in January. I've put up the first couple here.

Monday, February 09, 2004


The AP, looking for the anti-Bush cloud in every silver lining 

Amazing first paragraph from AP story-
A letter seized from an al-Qaida courier shows Osama bin Laden has made little headway in recruiting Iraqis for a holy war against America, raising questions about the Bush administration's contention that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror.
Now, if the letter had said that al-Qaida had been successful in recruiting Iraqis, what would the analysis from AP have been? Something like- "demonstrating that the Iraq war is swelling the ranks of al-Qaida" perhaps? It's damned either way. You know how incredibly disappointed the AP folks were that Iraqi people aren't enthusiastically joining al-Qaida to throw out the imperialistic American oppressors. So they had to grasp at whatever they could find. Don't you love the "raising questions"?

Let's ask a few questions here. If Americans left and Iraq became a Somali-like nest for terrorists, would that be a victory or a defeat for the war on terror? The fact that al-Qaida is making such a priority of Iraq, doesn't that suggest that THEY consider Iraq the central front in the war on terror?

But there's more
The letter's appeals for outside help raises questions whether al-Qaida had a support network here before Saddam's downfall.
Ummmm... well duh. Before Saddam's downfall, he was absolute dictator of Iraq. Why would he allow outside agents to operate independently inside his country? The whole problem was the assistance Saddam might have given them so they could operate OUTSIDE Iraq.

Let this be yet another reminder of the proper way to read news stories. They consist partly of simple fact and partly of "analysis", which is to say, opinion. The fact part is usually reliable(although not always, you need to be prepared for that eventuality). The opinion part is about as reliable as you would expect from a journalist. Sometimes good, more often completely tendentious and groundless.

Clinton: Man of integrity 

The title of this post is not sarcastic. The fact is, Bill Clinton has been behaving astonishingly responsible in recent years. There's this-
Former US president Bill Clinton said in October during a visit to Portugal that he was convinced Iraq had weapons of mass destruction up until the fall of Saddam Hussein, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso said.

"When Clinton was here recently he told me he was absolutely convinced, given his years in the White House and the access to privileged information which he had, that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction until the end of the Saddam regime," he said in an interview with Portuguese cable news channel SIC Noticias.
and then there's this
And you may be interested to know that any time he[Bill Clinton] referred to the Bush administration, or alluded to it, it was in a complimentary way. He told this crowd — again, a crowd that could use hearing it, especially from this source — that much of what we're doing, successfully, in the War on Terror never makes the newspapers. For example, "cells are rolled up," which you never hear about. The administration has achieved "cooperation with other governments" that is not "inherently sensational" but "has saved a lot of people's lives." You never hear about this bomb found in this container on this cargo ship destined for this port — and "I could give you 50 other examples."
Why is he doing this? Well, my theory is because he actually believes it's the right thing to do, and he wants to help his country. The fact is, everything the Bush administration has said about WMD in Iraq was simply a repetition of what Clinton and Gore said. Everything about his Iraq policy was more or less a continuation of Clinton policy, including the emphasis on regime change. Clinton(I'm speculating) realizes that badmouthing the current administration, while good for his political party, would be bad for his country. On matters as important as national security and the war against terrorists, he realizes it would be wrong to undermine the standing of the US government, whatever party is in power. He understands that, to some degree, he is an ambassador to the world, and he acts accordingly.

So, how does this explain Al Gore's lunatic ramblings? After all, Al Gore said all the same things that Bill Clinton said, about regime change in Iraq and WMD. Why would he act so incredibly feckless? Well, I guess Al Gore has less honor and integrity than Bill Clinton. Take that how you will.

Hell freezing over 

Ed Driscoll-
Sam Donaldson praising Reagan. Well, I'll be leaving the Internet now; I've seen everything.


Al Gore.... yep, still an idiot. 

Like I said before.

Saturday, February 07, 2004


To Get Rope or not to Get Rope.... 

Hamlet, the text adventure game. (From Geekpress)

Really cool 

This a graphic illustration of alphabet evolutions. The Latin set is particularly cool. (From Volokh)

Media and the middle-east 

Roger Simon has found a rather striking example of how deceptive and manipulative the media can be when they want to present a certain storyline. This ties in to an earlier discovery by Powerline. The lesson is, I guess, that you can't trust the media. They will frequently decide what the storyline is and then massage the facts to fit. Sure, this or that detail might not be technically true, but it all goes towards portraying the "greater truth", don'cha know? This is especially true in Israel, where there is a long record of foreign journalists fraternizing and sympathizing with the Palestinian cause, preventing them from being objective observers.

Kerry's special interests 

David Brooks in the NYT, mocks John Kerry's dedication to fighting "special interests".

Dean-o 

So, word has it that Howard Dean is now hinting that he might be interested in a Vice-President slot. This is wishful thinking. Dean is arrogant, egotistical, thin-skinned, and has a penchant for reckless off-the-cuff remarks. He's everything a candidate wouldn't want in a Vice-President. He also wouldn't help much in the Geographical balance department. If Kerry is the nominee, he won't want another Northeasterner on the ticket. Even if the nominee is Edwards, he would probably be better off looking for someone from the industrial midwest, to help out with important swing states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. The Northeast is already pretty safely Democratic, the only states likely to be in play are New Hampshire and Maine, and that doesn't add up to many electoral college votes.

Basically, Dean realizes his shot at the Presidency is slipping away, and he's making a grab for the consolation prize. This was his one and only chance, he won't be coming back in four years. His candidacy was all about the novelty of the unknown small-state Governor seizing the unexploited anti-war base in the Democratic party. You can only be novel once.

Thursday, February 05, 2004


The Hive-brain monster has been defeated 

From reading Jonathan Last's article in the Weekly Standard, I find that the following has been written in the online forum of the Howard Dean blog-
"in the end, what will win this thing for US (and for our future), is our DETERMINATION and LONGEVITY in this race. As long as we stay focused--WE CAN WIN. WE WILL WIN. WE ARE DEAN."
At first this didn't make sense. Then it all clicked. Howard Dean is actually a hive mind. You know some kind of group intelligence, with all these different beings coexisting inside, struggling for pre-eminence. The bizzarre statements, weird mood-shifts, even the scream, it all makes sense now. You try maintaining an even keel when at any moment Krog the Destroyer could seize control and shout "Submit or be destroyed!".

Sadly, it looks like this particular hive mind has lost the race already so we won't get to see how a collective conscience would go about triangulating back to the center after winning the nomination. Also, I don't know of any human hive minds, are extraterrestrials eligible to be President? Technically you have to be born in the US, but what if you were never actually "born" as such? Oh well, a tricky Constitutional question that will have to be left for another time.

"Divided America" 

First of all, until you've got more than 600,000 American bodies stacked up like cordwood, spare me the "more divided than ever before" talk. We have this phrase in political discourse which is very useful. It goes like this: "...since the end of the Civil War..." You can put it at the end or the beginning of almost any sentence to indicate that you are discussing trends that began after the War Between the States concluded. Because that period in American history is what you might call a statistical outlier. We were really divided then, what with all the shooting each other and stuff. Even in places where there was no shooting, we were very divided. The New York Draft Riots, for example, featured mobs of 50,000 ticked-off New Yorkers and Irish immigrants who burned big chunks of the city over three days and hanged a lot of black people from street lights. I know the Florida recount was a big deal and all, but let's get a little perspective.


From Jonah Goldberg

Democratic Underground 

Democratic Underground is a far-left on-line forum where the nutjobs gather to discuss and froth at the mouth. This is a pretty funny parody.

Environmentalism 

I'm Back! While I was away I spoke with someone who repeated the old tired line how "Bush is destroying the environment" Generally speaking, people who repeat this accusation know close to nothing about actual environmental policies. For example, this Gregg Easterbrook post explains how Bush's Clear Skies initiative is being opposed by Democrats because, well, they don't Bush to improve the environment and(more importantly) get credit for it.

Another must read is this old article of Easterbrook's, that explains the environmental mindset, that requires preaching the end of the world no matter what.

Also, on the effects of environmentalist thinking on the third world, this article by Deroy Murdock at NRO. He mentions this book, which looks interesting.

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