Archive for December, 2008

Jackasses

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Skepchick has her top ten jackasses for 2008. I can’t really disagree, although I think Palin’s fundamentalism is more inferred from her church rather than explicitly drawn from her words.

Caveat: She slams Oprah and that always gets on my good side.

Profiles In Reform

Monday, December 29th, 2008

I’m exhausted from the move, but thought I’d highlight two stories close to my heart. Jim Webb is seeking prison reform while Craig Watkins delivers justice in Texas. Being a law and order type, as I am, means you want the right people punished.

35 to 20 to 835 30 to 440 to 40

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Those are the highways I followed from home to Memphis, where we’re staying with friends before continuing on. It occurred to me today that I have seen much of the US — although not as much as I’d like. Here are the states I have been to, sorted by importance.

States I have lived in, not including denial (8): Illinois, Mississippi, Georgia, Minnesota, Virginia, Maryland, Texas, Pennsylvania (pending)

State I have visited, by which I mean spent a night and seen the sights (20): Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Washington

States I have changed planes in or driven through (8): West Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut, Ohio, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Nevada

That leaves 14 states I need to visit at some point.

Unfortunately, my record on countries isn’t as good. Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Canada is kind of pathetic for a supposed man of the world.

Moving Day Linkorama

Friday, December 19th, 2008
  • More zero tolerance idiocy. Yes, let’s arrest 10-year olds for bringing toy guns to school.
  • It’s the 50th-anniversary of the writing of I, Pencil, one of the most straight-forward explanations of the free market system ever devise.
  • No, Virginia, the government can’t silence anyone who questions their investigations.
  • Utterly appalling.
  • Proving once again that there is nothing more dangerous than good intentions, the laws passed to stop lead-laced Chinese toys from entering the market may bankrupt small toy-makers.
  • The Second Law of Movodynamics

    Friday, December 19th, 2008

    So we’re moving at the end of the week. I think I had blocked out how stressful a move can be. I’d forgotten, for example, how packing works. I always start packing weeks in advance, boxing up easy stuff like books. By the time the last week rolls around, I’m feeling pretty good, getting down to maybe that last 5-10%.

    And then things get weird.

    Because no matter how much effort I put in, that last 5-10% seems to never get done. I’ll pack 16 boxes and there will still be the same amount of crap left in the various nooks and crannies of the house. I have become convinced that the steady state expanding universe theory is correct. The closets of my house that are spontaneously creating new matter with which to fill the universe. All of which I have to pack.

    Ugh. I can’t wait ’til this is over.

    Hmmm … You Smell Like Grease

    Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

    What the deuce?

    Just in time for your mom Santa to toss this in your Christmas stocking, Burger King has released a limited-edition men’s body spray that evokes the smell of freshly broiled Whoppers. But isn’t this what they spray on the burgers already for authenticity? No! According to a press release, “The King is setting hearts ablaze for the holidays with his new scent of choice. FLAME™, a new men’s body spray by Burger King Corp., features the scent of seduction with the hint of flame-broiled meat. A favorite of the King, FLAME™ is available for purchase for a limited time at select Ricky’s retailers in-store or online.” Because nothing’s more romantic than the scent of mass-produced beef patties…except maybe the sultry FLAME™ website, which is really putting us in the mood (for salad).

    I have the wrong number of X-chromosomes to answer this. But do women really get turned on by the smell old grease and broken dreams? No wonder I couldn’t get lucky in high school.

    You Can Use Facts To Prove Anything

    Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

    A prosecutor decides that DNA evidence isn’t important.

    Monday Night Linkorama

    Monday, December 15th, 2008
  • Crows can be taught to look for loose change. How cool.
  • Real sports fans bring urinal cakes, dontchya know.
  • As an initial supporter of the Iraq War, stories like this appall me. I still think it was a defensible idea. But it was executed in the most incompetent, ham-fisted, bass-ackward manner you could imagine. The defining characteristic of the Bush Administration is not evil or stupidity, but incompetence.
  • Pat Boone goes off the deep end on those danged gays.
  • Why electric cars may not be so hot. Apparently, better improvement in energy efficiency could be obtained by simply re-engineering existing designs. Another reason for government to support alternative energy in a generalized, not specific, way.
  • Cool It

    Monday, December 15th, 2008

    Bjorn Lomborg rocks. I love someone who can piss off “conservatives” my acknowledging the reality of global warming and infuriate “progressives” by promoting serious discussion on what to do about it.

    . “At the end of the day,” says Lomborg, “this is about saying, Yes, global warming is real. It’s often massively exaggerated, which is why we need smarter solutions…. Let’s pick them smart, rather than stupidly. And also, let’s remember that they are many other problems in the world that we can fix so much cheaper and do so much more good….If this is really a question about doing good in the world, then let’s do real good-and not just make ourselves feel good about what we do.”

    Somalia

    Sunday, December 14th, 2008

    It’s not that I don’t care. It’s that I don’t know what we can do. The last time we tried to help, a bunch of our soldiers got massacred.

    Celebrity Moron Check

    Friday, December 12th, 2008

    Just in case you were wondering, if you had any doubt — Sean Penn and Steven Soderbergh are fucking morons.

    I have never understood the fascination some on the Left have for bloodthirsty tyrannical communists. When I was in high school, they loved critic-imprisoning, newspaper-closing, Indian-murdering Daniel Ortega. Now all they have left is Fidel Casto and Hugo Chavez (and the corpse of Che Guevara). What is it about some people that makes them embrace evil so willingly? Evil like this:

    A former revolutionary comrade recalled that, in the days before and immediately following their 1959 ascension to power, Raul and Che Guevara “competed in killings and viciousness,” executing all suspected of being “agents” of Batista or “counterrevolutionaries.” Another former comrade and friend of the Castro brothers, the writer Norberto Fuentes, told Brian Latell, author of the book After Fidel: Raul Castro and the Future of Cuba’s Revolution, a “chilling” story of Raul’s “cold-bloodedness.” In 1966 Raul inexplicably exhumed the bodies of those he ordered executed in the city of Santiago, encased them in a collective concrete “coffin,” and deposited the corpses in the deep seas off the island.

    Then there was Michael Moore’s lauding of the Cuban healthcare system, which we thoroughly ripped apart over at Moorewatch.

    What the hell, man? I get criticism of our system. I may not agree with it but I understand it. I get criticism of our foreign policy. I may not agree with it but I understand it. This nonsense I don’t and never will understand. It’s, frankly, a child-like way of going through life — finding someone who seems “cool” and “revolutionary” and worshipping them.

    Buy!

    Friday, December 12th, 2008

    A little crazy today as we’re closing on a house. The HUD document specifies — no shit — 18 different people/companies that are getting money out of this transaction. The city, the county, the schools, the state, 2 realtors, the lender, the appraiser, a flood certifier, a tax service, a mortgage broker, my home insurer, the settlement company, the wire transfer company, the home warranty company, a radon mitigation company, the holders of the previous owner’s mortgage. Oh, and I think the previous owners might be getting something too.

    No wonder our politicians want to prop up the housing market.

    NPSM

    Friday, December 12th, 2008

    Nick Gillespie goes non-linear:

    This never was a “helluva good country,” at least when it came to politicians. We just pretended it was. Certainly, after a decade or more of NPSMs up the ying-yang (apologies, but we are talking about politics, which driveth all decent men and women mad), it’s impossible to have any illusions. We are a nation of Depends wearers, even those of us who are half the age of John McCain.

    I’m feeling this a lot these days. Over at Right-Thinking, it seems that 90% of my posts are whining about something stupid and massively expensive that the government is doing — from wars to bailouts. I look to Washington and am reminded of the words of Johnathan Swift:

    I desired that the senate of Rome might appear before me, in one large chamber, and an assembly of somewhat a later age in counterview, in another. The first seemed to be an assembly of heroes and demigods; the other, a knot of pedlars, pick-pockets, highwayman, and bullies.

    But I think things have got to turn around soon. Bill James once observed that progress comes in the guise of failure. Watergate wasn’t about politicians being corrupt — they always had been. Watergate was about the American ceasing to put up with it. Racial tension wasn’t created in the 1960′s. It just exploded into the national consciousness when we decided we wouldn’t put up with it anymore.

    Thanks to the internet, our politicians no longer have a lap-dog media to cover up their nonsense. It may take a while. But I think a lot of the cynicism and anger now is because the American people are refusing to tolerate this kind of garbage anymore. A revolution is going to come (not the violent type; the ballot box type).

    Thursday Night Linkorama

    Thursday, December 11th, 2008
  • Apparently, AFL-CIO isn’t quite sure where the Home of the Whopper is. Funny how it’s evil for McDonald’s to participate in the political process, but just fine for unions to.
  • Who knew? Jews wrote all the good Christmas songs. You can’t escape us.
  • Another one from the best Obama impersonator. The thing about his imitations is that he gets the key to Obama — his basic likability. I heard Obama at a press conference this morning talking about the Blagojevich scandal (imagine, a President having frequent press conferences!) and he again came across as very sensible. I’m probably going to oppose a lot of what Obama wants. But I think I’ll continue to like him as a person.
  • Saletan argues that funding Planned Parenthood is a pro-life thing. I agree partially — a lot of their money still goes to abortions. But if your goal is decreasing abortions, supporting birth control is the most rational thing to do. I can’t understand those who oppose it.