Archive for May, 2009

Strunk and White

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

The Elements of Style is fifty years old. It’s one of the most vital books to my profession. I wish everyone had a copy.

Weekend Linkorama

Saturday, May 16th, 2009
  • The Feds want to regulate Cheerios? Seriously?
  • Things like gender-selective abortions make my reluctant pro-choice position ever more reluctant. How do you think about something like this?
  • Britain is cracking down on bling. Just when you think the British Nanny State can’t get dumber.
  • Freakonomics asks why, if poverty causes crime, this recession is seeing a big drop. Damn facts.
  • Quote of the day: “Even in California, you may not be able to sustain a class action lawsuit against a product that worked fine and didn’t harm you.”
  • Jenny From the Blech

    Friday, May 15th, 2009

    Orac takes on Jenny McCarthy again on vaccine. Worth a read at least, although Orac debating science with Miss 36-24-34 is about as even as me playing checkers against my cat.

    Prehistoric Porn

    Thursday, May 14th, 2009

    Hey, it’s not surprise to me that the earliest human sculpture was essentially caveman porn. As Steve said in Coupling, when man invented fire, he didn’t say, “Hey, let’s cook!”, he said, “Great! Now we can see naked bottoms in the dark!” Now we know that when sculpting was invented, he also said, “Great! Now we can carry naked bottoms around with us.”

    The Rocket

    Thursday, May 14th, 2009

    I’ll say this for Roger Clemens. Either he really didn’t take steroids or he’s the stupidest man on Earth. (Warning: link automatically starts up ESPN video. What the hell, ESPN?)


    Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

    God bless Jesse Ventura. He never fails to speak his mind.

    Petting America’s Kids

    Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

    ABC news has a hysterical story about the danger of doggy doors.

    Drug Lies

    Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

    Yes, Virginia, the drug czar is full of crap. He’s so full, in fact, he’ll make me link to HuffPo.

    The Iron Lady

    Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

    I’ve had quite enough of your Thatcher bashing, young lady.

    Nanny State Watch

    Monday, May 11th, 2009

    Reason runs down the case of a British woman arrested for having noisy sex.

    Yes, you read that right.

    Fortunately, most British people only have sex about once a year, so the problem will be minimal.


    Monday, May 11th, 2009

    Nicely done, ACLU.

    Weekend Linkorama

    Saturday, May 9th, 2009
  • How bad is the Employee Free Choice Act? So bad that George McGovern is coming out against it in a great editorial. The words “McGovern” and “great editorial” show up on this space a lot more often than I’d think. He’s liberal, but a principled one.
  • Obama fires his first gay linguist. Change is happening so fast, there’s smoke.
  • You know those paltry budget cuts Obama has proposed? His own Congress is rejecting them. As I’ve said, the Congressional Democrats are going to be his biggest problem.
  • Matt Welch has a good take on the latest steroid hysteria.
  • Polling Torture

    Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

    You know, polls showing that a slim majority of Americans favor waterboarding of terrorist might mean something to me if we decided issues in this country based on popular vote and not, as we thankfully do, on the law and Constitution.

    Wednesday Linkorama

    Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
  • Obama improves international relations — by taking the EU line and blasting low-tax friends as tax havens. Nice touch.
  • Yet another good editorial on the torture issue. It hits a number of my pet whack-a-moles on this issue, notably the SERE canard:

    The most common defense of waterboarding is that we subjected our own soldiers to it. That’s true–as a way of training them to withstand enemy torture. When you reverse engineer a torture-resistance program, you’re almost by definition engaging in torture.

    In reality, Bush’s waterboarding methods did differ from the U.S. military’s torture-resistance training, in that our soldiers knew how far we’d go and could stop the exercise if they couldn’t bear it. Conservatives have inadvertently confirmed this point. Numerous Republicans object that the release of the torture memos will render waterboarding and other techniques useless–“terrorists are now aware of the absolute limit of what the U.S. government could do to extract information from them,” complain former Bush officials Michael Hayden and Michael Mukasey.

    It’s true. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, or torture methods devised thereby. Our chief weapon is surprise. (Surprise and fear. … Amongst our weaponry are such elements as surprise and fear, as Michael Palin might put it.) That’s exactly why training soldiers to withstand waterboarding is different than actually waterboarding.

  • Nick Gillespie is having none of Obama’s “I’m a regular burger guy” stunt.
  • New Jersey is considering a law that would not prosecute teens for underage drinking if they bring a passed out friend to the ER. Here’s an idea: why not just stop prosecuting underage drinking at all?
  • No link, I don’t want to dig it up, but Arlen Specter’s statement that Jack Kemp would be alive today had we fully funded the “War on Cancer” is a perfect illustration of the stupidity of politicians. Never mind the laws of physics or the intricacies of biology and physiology. All we had to do was care enough and cancer would have been cured. Idiot.
  • The more I read about it, the more the Stimulus seems like a great big lottery. One day, there will be an accounting for all this.
  • What is it about environmental doomsayers that being wrong — being spectacularly wrong — being spectacularly wrong for 45 damn years does not discredit them?