Thursday, February 28, 2008

Via Boortz comes these dispatches from the Religion of Peace.

First, don't make a movie without running its content past al-Qaeda for approval:
al-Qaeda has handed down a death sentence against Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders for his not yet released film about the Koran. "Jihad against Wilders" is splashed in huge letters across its front page. The paper writes that the al-Qaeda terrorist network has called on its followers to "bring us the throat of this unbeliever" and has also called for the Netherlands to be terrorised to prevent the film being shown.
Second, watch out who you have coffee with:
A married university professor has been sentenced to 180 lashes and eight months in prison for having coffee with a female student.
The professor of psychology at Umm al-Qra University in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, was caught in a "honey trap" operation after angering members of the religious police during a training course, his lawyer said.
The academic is said to have received a call from a supposed student, who asked to discuss a problem in person; he agreed, provided she brought along a brother as a chaperone.
So, he agreed to meet the woman, provided she bring a chaperone. But, like Marion Barry, the bitch set him up:
When the man arrived at the meeting place, the girl was alone, and he was arrested for being in a state of khulwa - seclusion - with an unrelated female.
How would you like to live in a "society" in which you could be whipped and imprisoned for being alone with a woman that the police had sent to be with you?

Update: I recieved the following comment from my friend Tanja, who is Dutch.
Geert Wilders is a nutcase. He knows very well what he is doing by making this movie, full with hatred. This is pure provocation, and has nothing to do with freedom of press or speech anymore.
It is dumb. I guess he thinks he is quite something that he can shake up everyone with his movie, and so gets known all over the world. Too bad he made it into your blog
The fact that the Islamists can be stirred to call for violence and murder by the ravings of a nutcase just goes to prove the point that they permit no perspective other than their own. The point of my post was not so much to bring attention to Wilders, but to the unreasonable expectation of the Islamists to live in a world in which no person is permitted to offend them.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I Blame Bush

Because, you know, if Bush had only signed the Kyoto treaty that the Senate rejected 99-0 and never sent up to Bill Clinton anyhow, we wouldn't have to worry about all this global warming:
Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average."

China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.

There have been so many snow and ice storms in Ontario and Quebec in the past two months that the real estate market has felt the pinch as home buyers have stayed home rather than venturing out looking for new houses.

In just the first two weeks of February, Toronto received 70 cm of snow, smashing the record of 66.6 cm for the entire month set back in the pre-SUV, pre-Kyoto, pre-carbon footprint days of 1950.

And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its "lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past.

The ice is back.

Gilles Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa, says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year.

OK, so one winter does not a climate make. It would be premature to claim an Ice Age is looming just because we have had one of our most brutal winters in decades.

But if environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin shows up on Georgian Bay two weeks early, then it is at least fair game to use this winter's weather stories to wonder whether the alarmist are being a tad premature.

Friday, February 22, 2008

We Lost a Dear Friend

I am stunned and saddened at the loss of my friend and co-worker. Patricia Parker, all of 24 years old, passed from this life yesterday. She is missed, grieved, and mourned. Please honor her here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Just Married

Blogging was admittedly pretty light over the last weekend. But Laurel and I have a good excuse.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Environmental Movement = Jobs for Liberals

I have long felt that a very large goal of the far left is to create high paying positions for people that produce absolutely nothing of value. Think about "curricula" such as gender studies and women studies which only produce people educated with the ability to teach more gender and women's studies. Likewise, environmentalists have created an industry around getting people that are actually doing something to ask the environmentalists what they think about it, and then pay them for that answer. In my business, the U.S. Green Building Council doesn't build anything. Ever. They just sit around selling stuff and certifying buildings that are constructed to meet their convoluted criteria. They charge hefty fees for "membership" and for the privelage of receiving their blessing. They also sell "checklists" and all sorts of documentation of their "requirements." Ironically, this is a very paper intensive process, requiring all sorts of submittals and approvals in writing.

Here's further confirmation that my theory of environmentalism as a jobs program for unproductive environmentalists is not completely off base:
In his quest to make San Francisco the greenest city in the nation, Mayor Gavin Newsom recently created a $160,000-a-year job for a senior aide and gave him the ambitious-sounding title of director of climate protection initiatives.
One might think one six-figure position would be enough. But it's only the latest in a line of such employees:
One might expect someone with such an exalted handle to solve global warming and save the rain forest all in a day's work.
But the new climate protection initiatives director is just the latest person to join the city payroll in the name of tackling global climate woes, raising questions about whether environmentalism is becoming the latest excuse for a bloating government payroll.
San Francisco has at least two dozen other city employees already working directly on climate issues at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Now these people aren't really doing anything for the taxpayers. As the article says, they're working on issues.While some people are alarmed that this is all a little bit excessive, it's not enough for San Francisco mayor Newsom. He has plans for more of this nonsense:
But officials in the Newsom administration say that even 25 people working on climate issues is not enough and that having a director in the mayor's inner circle is necessary to coordinate all the city's climate initiatives.
"If there are 25 people working on climate protection issues for the city, that's a good start," Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard said. "Ten years ago, there probably weren't any. It's smart policy to have one point person at the highest level of city government to coordinate all 25 of them."
And, as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, a big part of the effort is telling productive people what to do:
Nowhere in the two-page job description does it say Crowfoot will solve global warming, but the job does require the director of climate protection initiatives to lobby for federal climate protection legislation. He also is tasked with creating incentives that encourage local private companies to use vehicles that run on biodiesel and get employees in the habit of taking public transportation.
That's right, the San Francisco taxpayers are paying an environmentalist $160,000 to "lobby" government and "encourage" companies to promote "good habits" in their employees.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Uh oh. There's a gun on the space station. It's not doing anything, mind you, it's just sitting quietly minding its own business in a Soviet survival kit, where it has been since the darn thing was launched. But that doesn't sit well with the gun-fearing crowd.
Former NASA engineer Jim Oberg, who is an author and journalist, wrote about the gun on his Web site. He said the gun has no place in an environment where people are under such high stress.
"There have been cases of severe psychological strain on people in space, strain that they have taken out - that their shipmates worried about the ultimate actions," Oberg said.
If I am floating 200 miles up in space, and I am worried about my shipmate's ultimate actions, I think a bigger concern would be that he might open the door. Oddly, Oberg even admits as much, but still he's worried about that scary-ass gun:
Oberg knows an astronaut bent on orbital manslaughter could simply throw any number of switches to do the job, but he said the crews would be safer if the gun was locked up or left on Earth.
You have to laugh that this is the sort of thing some people find worrisome, and laugh that this is the sort of thing other people consider "newsworthy."

Update: The more I ponder this whole thing, the more ridiculous it becomes. If a gun is somehow inherently dangerous among six people in space, wouldn't it be a threat to far more people if it were to be "left on Earth" as Oberg recommends?
Here's an interesting headline:
Cold wave in India attributed to global warming
So, heat AND cold are both "evidence" that human-induced global warming is real, and there is essentially NO observation that will falsify the theory. This is not science:
Popper uses falsification as a criterion of demarcation to draw a sharp line between those theories that are scientific and those that are unscientific. It is useful to know if a statement or theory is falsifiable, if for no other reason than that it provides us with an understanding of the ways in which one might assess the theory. One might at the least be saved from attempting to falsify a non-falsifiable theory, or come to see an unfalsifiable theory as unsupportable.

Popper claimed that, if a theory is falsifiable, then it is scientific; if it is not falsifiable, then it is not open to falsification.

The Popperian criterion excludes from the domain of science not unfalsifiable statements but only whole theories that contain no falsifiable statements; thus it leaves us with the Duhemian problem of what constitutes a 'whole theory' as well as the problem of what makes a statement 'meaningful'. Popper's own falsificationism, thus, is not only an alternative to verificationism, it is also an acknowledgement of the conceptual distinction that previous theories had ignored.
The philosophers are unimpressed with Popper, but human-induced global warming isn't being presented as a philosophy, but as a scientific fact.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I am getting tired of all the congressional handwringing about steroid use in baseball.

Think about it. The difference between playing in New York or Boston and playing in Norfolk or Pawtucket is often as small as 1 extra base hit in 20 at bats (that's 50 points on a batting average!) For players that are good enough to make the big leagues without the benefit of "performance enhancing substances," 1 extra base hit in 40 at bats could easily make the difference between being a journeyman utility player and an all-star mega millionaire.

With those kind of stakes, and steroids not being prohibited until the last couple years, it seems to me that most rational players would look for a safe way take advantage of any performance enhancement they might get, no matter how small. I can't say I wouldn't have done it, that's for sure.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Arnold Kling has some predictions about a Democratic landslide in November. He doesn't think it will be pretty. He predicts that they won't have any more money to spend after "fixing" the alternative minimum tax, so they will be forced to implement "change" through regulation.

He predicts the beaurocrats will come after the following with new regulations: insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, housing, and salaries. Additionally, new regulations will mandate things like vacation time and subsidized day care. In short, they will eviserate capitalism, resulting in rising unemployment and poverty, followed by more regulation and government control.

It's not a pretty picture.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dispatch From the Religion of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice

Via Powerline comes this story from Saudi Arabia. It seems the police in Riyadh have captured their man. Or, as more likely, their woman:
The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), Saudi Arabia’s non-governmental rights body, will address the Governorate of Riyadh regarding Yara, a 36-year-old Jeddah-based businesswoman who was apprehended by the religious police and thrown in Al-Malaz Prison on Monday.
And what "crime" brought about this imprisonment?
Yara said she endured a humiliating and frightening hours-long ordeal that began with her arrest by a member of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice for having coffee with an unrelated man in a Starbucks cafe in Riyadh.
For this offense, Yara was taken against her will, strip-searched, forced to sign a confession, and tossed in jail. And these "officials" claim to be promoting virtue and preventing vice? How can I get hold of them for kidnapping a woman and stripping her in the name of virtue?

Islam doesn't have to be a medieval religion, but the Saudis don't seem capable of letting it grow up.

No picking on Schilling

This blog is not allowed to bash Curt Schilling for the following reasons:

1. He's a blogger see 38 pitches
2. He used to play for this blogger's favorite team the Phillies
3. Maynard, MA is the home of his new company 38 studios
4. He plays for this blogger's three year old son's favorite team, The Boston Red Sox
(although full disclosure force me to admit the boy's a die hard Josh Beckett fan)
5. The Yankees held onto Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neil, and others far too long, and probably should have dumped Mariano Rivera (or at least move him to middle relief) and George Steinbrenner (if you can dump an owner) this year
6. When is the last time the Yankees won the series, the Sox won in 2004 and 2007 (not to mention the Yanks dropped 4 in a row in 2004)
7. He's a tried and true conservative in his politics and no a loony liberal moonbat like most celebrities

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Baseball Construction

Construction in the new Yankee Stadium is ongoing:
The granite and limestone exterior is designed to evoke Yankee Stadium when it opened in 1923, before it was remodeled in the 1970s.
Cost: a cool $1.3 billion.

The Mets have a new field on the way, too. At $800 million, it's practically a steal.

Meanwhile, in Boston, the Red Sox have a bit of a reconstruction project to consider:
Curt Schilling has an undisclosed injury in his right shoulder, and the pitcher has been squabbling with the Boston Red Sox over whether he should have surgery that could cost him the season or try something less drastic.
Schilling wants the surgery, Bosox say no. Sounds like trouble in Beantown.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Tragedy of America's Disappearing Middle Class

It looks like they're getting rich:

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Way back in October of 2006, about 10 months after losing my beloved Suzy, I went to a meeting of my online widows group in Chandler, Arizona. It was a great event, well-planned and well-stocked with wonderful people. I made lots of new widow friends that weekend.

There was a quiet young lady there named Laurel. I hardly noticed her, she was so quiet. Laurel came along with a group of us that went geocaching, and we talked some over coffee, but I didn't have much interaction with her beyond that. I knew she had several dogs and sold cross-stitch supplies, but not much more than that.

A few weeks later, I saw that one of our group members listed cross-stitching as a hobby, so I sent her a message with a link to Laurel's profile, in case she was in the market for some supplies. I also sent a note to Laurel explaining what I had done.

Laurel thanked me, and we exchanged some emails and texted occasionally. One evening, she was complaining that she didn't want to go to her office Christmas party alone again. I could sympathize with that, as I had not gone to mine for that same reason. So I told Laurel that if she wanted an understanding ear to go to her party with, I would be happy to go along. She thought that sounded nice, and I found myself in San Antonio at a Texas roadhouse one weekend in December 2006.

We had fun and enjoyed each other's company, so we decided to go to a Florida meet and greet in January. Then I visited her and met her dogs, and she visited me, and we met in New York for a weekend, and before we knew it a year had gone by and we found ourselves together at another Christmas party, this time for my office in 2007. And that night, just before the party, I asked her to marry me. To my great relief, she said "yes." I am thrilled to be starting a new chapter in my life! I love you, Laurel!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Over on the sidebar, Laurel and I both have a profile link labeled "Let's Go Geocaching." Here's a 25 minute video completely describing the game.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Dispatch from the Religion of Peace

Via Ace comes this story about the brave mujahadeen in Iraq. These noble freedom fighters, military geniuses all, have developed a new weapon delivery system:
The chief Iraqi military spokesman in Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, said the female bombers had Down syndrome and that the explosives were detonated by remote control — indicating they may not having been willing attackers in what could be a new method by suspected Sunni insurgents to subvert stepped up security measures.
That's right folks. They have taken to strapping bombs to retarded women and detonating them by remote control. This is asymmetric warfare taken to its ridiculous extreme. If this is the only avenue left to mount an attack, I would submit it's time to reconsider the movement.