Friday, December 31, 2004

Cat-blogging Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Caliente Mountain, California Posted by Hello

On that media bias angle... 

How could brilliant genuine experts like Mark Halperin & Co. get it wrong? Because at some level they were conned by their peers and their Dem campaign sources (who were probably conning themselves) in a way I doubt they could be conned by Republican sources. ... And Halperin is known as a relatively non-partisan straight-shooter. What does this tell you about the rest of the press corps? ...
Insight from Mickey Kaus.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

On cars 

Why are we so cavalier about driving? It’s one of the most dangerous things any of us does, day in and day out, yet we treat it as if it’s risk-free. Think of all the people whose lives have been snuffed out because someone was driving carelessly or recklessly. All of their projects have been destroyed. They have been deprived of a future of experiences, activities, and enjoyments. Why do we allow immature teens and the elderly to drive? Why are we not harder on those who drive while intoxicated? Driving should be viewed as a solemn undertaking, fraught with risk. When you get into your car, you should be focused, alert, and deadly serious.
A good point from Keith Burgess-Jackson.

I know I often don't pay as much attention as I should while I drive. And he's right. Driving is pretty much the most dangerous thing we do every day.

Driving is really a perfect example of the tradeoff between freedom and safety. We want to be able to go any where we want any time we want. But with that ability to travel comes risk. We don't take the risk that seriously because we don't want to consider a conclusion that would force us to curtail our freedom.

The Vietnam-Iraq Comparison 

What also drives me nuts about the Vietnam analogies is that there are obviously better examples in one sense or another from our own military history (the Phillipines perhaps?) and certainly from the British experience (everywhere). But either because the authors of op-eds don't want to do that sort of homework or because editors think Vietnam moves copy for the historically illiterate like stories about dogs and Britney Spears do for everone else, they don't want to run that stuff. There is of course the larger cultural background radiation of babyboomer obsession with Vietnam as if no obsession with it is unjustified.
-Jonah Goldberg

Monday, December 20, 2004

Merry Christmas 

I'm going to be gone for the next week.

Hey, if James Taranto can take a week off, so can I.

Soda Wars 

Cool Map.

(from the Corner)

Book Review 

As a result of this list, I recently read Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.

It is an extremely absurdist, satiric dark comedy about a bomber squadron based in the Mediterranean during World War II. The satire is mainly aimed at military bureaucracy and the ambition and vanity of careerist officers, as well as the madness of wartime in general.

The book uses a non-linear story-telling method. The chapters seem to have been scrambled up and placed nearly at random. One chapter will talk in the past tense about a dead character and in the next chapter he will be alive and carrying on a conversation. I found this, frankly, annoying at first. The scattershot time sequence has the effect of quickly giving a preliminary overview of the entire story arc. As the book progresses, it becomes better as the holes in the narrative are slowly filled in and the book starts to take on the appearance of actual storytelling rather than literary stunt.

The other hallmark of the book is a very self-conscious attempt to create rapid-fire, smart-alecky, humorous dialogue. Sometimes it is clear that the author is not nearly as clever as he thinks he is. Other times it works and he is capable of very wry and amusing insights. This, along with over-the-top absurdism, is what constitutes the anchor for the humor of the book, and for the book as a whole.

The book can be very funny at times. The author also writes fairly gripping(and, I assume, realistic) white-knuckle depictions of combat flights. Every once and a while he also provides evidence of real emotional depth in his characters. These connections with reality provide the foundation that ultimately makes the book worth reading.

Unfortunately, the cynicism and the one-step-too-far absurdism ultimately overwhelm the human story and the illusion of belief required to engage the reader is broken. By the last 100 pages, I no longer cared what happened to the characters, because they weren't real to me. The end of the book was a relief and not a disappointment.

Still, on the whole, a worthwhile and enjoyable, if overrated, book.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Swiftvets 

A post-mortem on the Swiftvets and their effect on the campaign.
Kerry wasn't pressured by the mainstream media to reveal his full military records to resolve issues, nor questioned as to what he was hiding. The mainstream media's zeal in chasing down every scrap of trivia about Bush's service stands in sharp contrast. That alone strongly suggested a liberal bias.

Via powerline

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Media Accountability 

Media hysteria is probably killing as many people as bad pharmaceuticals. My wife has had a problem with patients -- scared by stuff they've heard on TV about anti-depressants causing suicide -- stopping their antidepressants and becoming . . . suicidally depressed.

Will Lou Dobbs take the rap for those deaths?

Friday, December 17, 2004

Why the left isn't serious 

So both here and abroad, the Western public believes that there is a double standard in the moral judgment of our left-leaning media, universities, and politicians — that we are not to supposed to ask how Christians are treated in Muslim societies, only how free Islamists in Western mosques are to damn their hosts; or that we are to think beheading, suicide murdering, and car bombing moral equivalents to the sexual humiliation and roguery of Abu Ghraib — apparently because the former involves post-colonial victims and the latter privileged, exploitive Americans. Most sane people, however, privately disagree, and distinguish between a civilian’s head rolling on the ground and a snap shot of an American guard pointing at the genitalia of her terrorist ward.
-Victor Davis Hanson lays it out. And a lot more.

Friday Cat-blogging Posted by Hello

Fascism for Idiots 

Glen Wishard provides a useful primer.
In short, running around with a Fascist checklist serves no purpose other than to alarm other persons who are as paranoid and imbecilic as yourself.
(Via Tim Blair)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Statistical illiteracy watch 

The headline says "Adult Physical Fitness May Be Affected by Race"

The article says-
A person's race may influence his or her level of physical fitness, according to the findings of a study of black and white adults who underwent treadmill stress tests. The African American patients had a much lower exercise capacity than their white peers, study findings show. They were also more obese.
Ummm, first of all, correlation, not causation. And second of all, common sense would suggest that exercise capacity might have more to do with the higher obesity observed than race.

Sigh, it is Reuters, the "news" agency, after all.


The game.

Via the Corner.

About Gay Marriage... 

Hmmm. When exactly did support for gay marriage become an essential Democratic party principle akin to racial equality? Was it when Anthony Lewis' wife decided to impose it on Massachusetts? Seems like only a few years ago the concept was an entry on the New Republic's "to be assigned" list. (Sullivan got the job.) Now we must embrace it or leave the party? Isn't that rushing things a bit? ...

Yeah, this is something I've been thinking for a while. How did gay marriage suddenly take on the apocalyptic importance it has in so many people's minds? If it's so important, why weren't they all agitating loudly for it ten years ago?

I mean, some people believe that the government should provide legal sanction to gay relationships. Fine. That's certainly a defensible position. But I've talked to people who, when pressed on political matters, the first thing they blurt out is, "gay marriage!" Tax Policy, Social Security, Trade, nuclear weapons, the destruction(or not) of the environment, those wacky guys in turbans who are trying to kill us, none of these things register. Sure, maybe our government will go bankrupt in twenty years because we didn't do anything about this Ponzi scheme of a retirement plan our country has, but at least two fashionably dressed guys who just love showtunes can file their taxes jointly.

I can somewhat understand the people who are strongly opposed to gay marriage, since they are acting out of skepticism of radical changes in a fundamental social institution. Fear of the unknown is not irrational. On the flip side, what exactly will happen if we don't institute gay marriage right now? We seem to have survived the last two hundred years ok. And five years ago most of the people who feel so strongly about it now wouldn't have ranked it anywhere in their top 20 issues. So it can't be that horrible of an injustice if you're only now noticing it.

My theory, actually, is this. Most issues are complicated and difficult to understand. Foreign policy, economics, the science underlying environmental issues, these things are beyond the ability of most people to understand on a detailed level. Gay marriage, on the other hand, is simple. Or at least, it seems that way. So when various judicial decisions pushed it into the spotlight, people said "Hey, I understand that", and so they felt justified in taking a very strong position, when they wouldn't on so many other issues that are actually more important to their lives.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Pollution falls 

The average level of a deadly form of air pollution dropped in the USA from 1999 to 2003 as new pollution controls made strides in battling the nation's air quality problem, the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday.

-USA Today
Ah, but don't forget, George Bush is "destroying the environment"! Oh, they've got that covered.
"Clearly, this was good news they could tell," said Stanton of the environmental group Clear the Air. "And it was sandwiched between two pieces of bad news on the same topic," referring to a recent decision by EPA to delay a federal rule relating to power plant cleanup and an EPA announcement due Friday that will say which counties fail to comply with particulate limits.
Yes, those sound far more important than an across the board substantial improvement in actual measurable conditions. Oh yeah.

Are environmental activists trying to sound completely ridiculous? Just asking...

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Cool Cloud Posted by Hello

Crack Cocaine for the Jet-set 

I’d like to believe this, but let’s face it — right now incoherent, contradictory, anti-Americanism is as addictive as crack cocaine among the diplomatic jet-set. I’ll bet a lot of Americans feel like Chris Rock’s old comedy routine: “Born Suspect.” The world gets its jollies from blaming America for anything and denouncing any decision we make. I suspect few countries would greet a blockade with a, “well, we’re relieved the U.S. isn’t invading” — at least not publicly.
-Jim Geraghty

And this bit, about a letter from a Democrat not convinced that communism was totalitarian is pretty special.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Junk Science 

JunkScience.com has their list of the worst ten scientific moments of the year- well worth reading-
4. The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment alerted the public that polar bears may be on the verge of extinction due to global warming -- even though their own data show that the current Arctic warming trend is within the expected fluctuations of the Arctic’s natural cooling/warming cycle. Despite their claims, other scientific surveys indicate that polar bear populations have actually been increasing during the current warming trend!

Global Warming 

Steven Antler has been looking at the data, and he's not too impressed.

Golden at dusk Posted by Hello

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Name that song 

This is a very cool game. You can give it any band and it will make a quiz game for it. I gave it some obscure selections and it had no problem.

Update: It does classical to, although it has trouble keeping on the right composer.(I think because of all those compilation albums)

Friday, December 10, 2004

Weather Report 

I might as well be in a tropical storm here. Wind is pounding the house and it has been since yesterday. You can hear the house creaking and big thick trees are swaying back and forth.

Friday Catblogging Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Movie Review 

I did write a little review of The African Queen, but &%#^A% Blogger ate it and I don't feel like writing it again. I'll just say I don't think it's very good.

View from Mt. Galbraith Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Another day in Colorado Posted by Hello

Monday, December 06, 2004

Titles wanted 

Here's a list of suggested titles for Michael Moore's new movie. My favorite is the fourth from the last.

A progressive Christmas 

2005 Excuse-a-Day Calendar - What do "Poverty," "The Jews" and "America's Foreign Policy" all have in common? That's right - they're all convenient excuses you make to justify terrorism against the civilized world. Now you won't have to remember all of the excuses buzzing around in your head. This nifty Excuse-a-Day Calendar gives you all the red herrings you need to win an argument against nasty conservatives. Includes such self-contradictory classics as "America isn't helping the third world," and "America should mind its own business." $12.99
Other enlightened gift suggestions here.
(Via Tim Blair)

Snow Envy 

Heavy snow forecast for Lake Tahoe, and the runs are pretty much all open.

Meanwhile, here in Colorado, we're still waiting for the mountains to open all the way up. I miss Tahoe.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Downtown Denver and Coors Posted by Hello

Friday, December 03, 2004


I take the LSAT tomorrow morning.

Friday cat-blogging Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Oh no! 

I'm gonna die!

On Nixon 

I think the bitterness of Nixon's presidential years, the personal darkness he seemed to display, was in part a product of simple human pain, and the pain was the result of this: He had been right and brave and done the right thing in the 1950s, and the American left and its cousin the American establishment would never forgive him for it. And he couldn't stop wanting their approval. He put a traitor named Alger Hiss in jail. The left would make him pay. He paid the price in terms of his personal peace. He handed his enemies a sword.
-Peggy Noonan.

Actually, the article is mostly about Dan Rather.

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