Thursday, July 31, 2008

I am Sub-Human

The author of The Ridgewood Blog reposted my post concerning the modern "need" for counselors at every adversity. It has elicited some none-to-polite responses from the Villagers, most of whom prefer to insult me from behind the veil of anonymity:
"Wow, you're a coldhearted SOB aren't you?"

"remove this post...the author must be sub-human"

"What the hell is wrong with you and your dumbass remarks. And for you PJ why would you even post something as stupid as this??"

"Whoever you are, you sound like a really insensitive jerk."
In case anybody missed it, I didn't insult a single individual in my post. I made an observation of how society has changed in thirty years, using this event to illustrate something that wouldn't have happened in my lifeguarding days. Personal insults in no way invalidate my observation. To be fair, a few people pointed out that the counseling was appreciated by those who received it. To that, I say "terrific, I am glad you were helped." Now, could somebody explain to me why it's the responsibility of the Ridgewood taxpayer to pay for it?

I honestly believe that most people are strong enough and resilient enough to get through a great many difficulties on their own, or with the support of their own family and social networks. This is not a war, and it's not akin to PTSD (as one commenter implied). I would argue that my faith in most people's ability to successfully manage their lives without "professional counseling" is a more respectful position than those who think their neighbors so fragile that the professionals must be called in to help, whether they are asked for or not.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The New York Times is a strange place indeed. Here's an article looking at a recent speight of deaths in Triathlon competitions:
WHEN 60-year-old Donald Morehouse and 52-year-old John Hobgood Jr. died in different triathlon events over the weekend, they became at least the seventh and eighth triathletes to die during competition this year. Those deaths came just one week after Esteban Neira, 32, died during the New York City Triathlon.
While this does not imply an epidemic — triathlon deaths remain rare — the deaths do share a puzzling resemblance: Like all of the triathlon deaths recorded by USA Triathlon at its sanctioned events in the last two years, they happened during the swim portion of the event, which also includes biking and running.
And what section does the Times put this article in?

"Health"? Nooooo.

"Sports" maybe? Nope.

To the editors of the New York Times, a story about athletes dropping dead in the middle of competition belongs in the Fashion and Style section. How odd.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A 14-year old boy, a non-swimmer, drowned at a swimming lake in New Jersey. It’s a terrible tragedy. But this astounded me: Staff at the pool underwent crisis counseling, said police officer Brian Pullman and Village Manager James Ten Hoeve.

Crisis counseling? For lifeguards? Did they ask for this nonsense, or were they forced to endure it? Must every adversity in one’s life be guided by counselors? Is nobody able to navigate life without “expert“ assistance?

For the record, I was in the middle of a failed rescue at the very same facility 30 years ago. We performed CPR on the body for 15-20 minutes, not knowing how long it had been underwater. Additionally, in my youth I had friends or acquintances die of the following causes: drunk driving, suicide, leukemia, rock climbing accident, and drug overdose. Not once were “crisis counselors” sent in, nor were they required.

I imagine these counselors did more to accomodate the politicians need to “do something” than it helped the lifeguards, who knew a tragic drowning is always an eyeblink away.

Meanwhile, while Ridgewood, NJ was sending in counselors over its third drowning in 30 years, New York lifeguards were dealing with four deaths and three disappearances in two days, and 10 people were struck by lightning in the region. The New York area crisis counselors are going to have their hands full.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Democrat Lanny Davis gets it:
The surge did, in fact, lead to a reduction of violence, confirmed by media on the ground as well as our military leaders.

It did allow the Shi’ite government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in the last several months to show leadership by joining, if not leading, the military effort to clean out of Basra the masked Mahdi Army controlled by the anti-U.S. Shiite extremist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and in the Sadr City section of Baghdad he claimed to control.

This willingness by the Shi’ite–dominated Maliki government to move against the Sadr Shi’ite extremists won crucial credibility for the government among many Sunni leaders and Sunnis on the streets, who joined together with Shi’ites to turn against the Al Qaeda in Iraq and other Taliban–like extremists.

These are facts, not arguments.

I think there are a lot of anti-war Democrats who, like me, are impressed by these facts and who now see a moral obligation, after all the carnage and destruction wrought by our military intervention, not just to pick up and leave without looking over our shoulders.

Surely we owe the Iraqis who helped us, whose lives are in danger, immediate immigration rights to the U.S. Yet the shameful fact is that most are still not even close to having such rights.

Surely we owe the Maliki government and the Shiiite and Sunni soldiers who put their lives on the line against Shiite and Sunni extremists and terrorists at our behest some continuing presence and support and patience as they strive to find peace, political reconciliation — and maybe even the beginnings of a stable democracy.

The only question is, for how long?

Forever? No. 100 years? No.

But for how long? I don’t know.

I just know I can’t get out of my mind that lady with the purple finger held up, smiling into the camera. If getting in was a mistake, then getting out — how and when — is not so simple as long as there is hope that she can some day live in a democratic Iraq that can help America in the war against terror.
If only more Dems were as prescient and grounded as Mr. Davis.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What Media Bias?

Update:Betsy Newmark comments on the same story:
It's awfully kind of David Shipley to decide that McCain's plan for Iraq has to include elements such as troop levels and timetables that McCain has specifically said should be determined by conditions on the ground and not by American political concerns. The translation of Shipley's demands are - believe what we and Obama believe or we will not publish you.

The New York Times has given up even trying to appear to be an impartial news organization. It is now simply a mouthpiece for the Obama campaign.
An editorial written by Republican presidential hopeful McCain has been rejected by the New York Times - less than a week after the paper published an essay written by Obama. […]

"The Obama piece worked for me because it offered new information (it appeared before his speech); while Senator Obama discussed Senator McCain, he also went into detail about his own plans."

Shipley continues: "It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama's piece. To that end, the article would have to articulate, in concrete terms, how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq."
So, the Times has rejected an opinion piece by a candidate for President of the United States because it didn't "mirror" his opponents piece, which it did publish. Isn't it McCain's perogative to format his own opinion pieces, rather than to simply respond to what Obama has already written? And who is this Shipley character that declined to publish McCain's article?
Shipley served in the Clinton Administration from 1995 until 1997 as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Presidential Speechwriter.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

So Much for "Settled Science"

It seems Al Gore's claims aren't the slam dunk he claims them to be:
Mathematical proof that there is no “climate crisis” appears today in a major, peer-reviewed paper in Physics and Society, a learned journal of the 10,000-strong American Physical Society, SPPI reports.
Christopher Monckton, who once advised Margaret Thatcher, demonstrates via 30 equations that computer models used by the UN’s climate panel (IPCC) were pre-programmed with overstated values for the three variables whose product is “climate sensitivity” (temperature increase in response to greenhouse-gas increase), resulting in a 500-2000% overstatement of CO2’s effect on temperature in the IPCC’s latest climate assessment report, published in 2007.
Can we at least look into this before we systematically dismantle the economic system that has brought more wealth, health, and comfort to more human beings than ever in the history of mankind?

Scary. Very Scary.

This is why I am so disturbed by the climate change alarmism:
Al Gore blew into Washington on Thursday, warning that "our very way of life" is imperiled if the U.S. doesn't end "the carbon age" within 10 years. No one seriously believes such a goal is even remotely plausible. But if you want to know what he and his acolytes think this means in practice, the Environmental Protection Agency has just published the instruction manual. Get ready for the lawnmower inspector near you.

In a huge document released last Friday, the EPA lays out the thousands of carbon controls with which they'd like to shackle the whole economy. Central planning is too artful a term for the EPA's nanomanagement. Thankfully none of it has the force of law -- yet. However, the Bush Administration has done a public service by opening this window on new-wave green thinking like Mr. Gore's, and previewing what Democrats have in mind for next year.

The mess began in 2007, when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Mass. v. EPA that greenhouse gases are "air pollutants" under current environmental laws, despite the fact that the laws were written decades before the climate-change panic. The EPA was ordered to regulate if it decides that carbon emissions are a danger to the public. The 588-page "advance notice of proposed rulemaking" lays out how the EPA would like it to work in practice.

Justice Antonin Scalia noted in his dissent that under the Court's "pollutant" standard "everything airborne, from Frisbees to flatulence, qualifies," which the EPA appears to have taken literally. It is alarmed by "enteric fermentation in domestic livestock" -- that is, er, their "emissions." A farm with over 25 cows would exceed the EPA's proposed carbon limits. So would 500 acres of crops, due to harvesting and processing machinery.

But never fear. The EPA would regulate "farm tractors" too, plus "lawn and garden equipment." For example, it "could require a different unit of measure [for carbon emissions] tied to the machine's mission or output -- such as grams per kilogram of cuttings from a 'standard' lawn for lawnmowers."

In fact, the EPA has new mandates for everything with an engine. There's a slew of auto regulations, especially jacking up fuel-efficiency standards well beyond their current levels, and even controlling the weight and performance of cars and trucks. Carbon rules are offered for "dirt bikes and snowmobiles." Next up: Nascar.

The EPA didn't neglect planes and trains either, down to rules for how aircraft can taxi on the runway. Guidelines are proposed for boat design such as hulls and propellers. "Innovative strategies for reducing hull friction include coatings with textures similar to marine animals," the authors chirp. They also suggest "crew education campaigns" on energy use at sea. Fishermen will love their eco-sensitivity training.

New or modified buildings that went over the emissions limits would have to obtain EPA permits. This would cover power plants, manufacturers, etc. But it would also include "large office and residential buildings, hotels, large retail establishments and similar facilities" -- like schools and hospitals. The limits are so low that they would apply to "hundreds of thousands" of sources, as the EPA itself notes. "We expect that the entire country would be in nonattainment."

If this power grab wasn't enough, "EPA also believes that . . . it might be possible for the Agency to consider deeper reductions through a cap-and-trade program." The EPA thinks it can levy a carbon tax too, as long as it's called a "fee." In other words, the EPA wants to impose via regulatory ukase what Congress hasn't been able to enact via democratic debate.

That's why the global warmists have so much invested in the EPA's final ruling, which will come in the next Administration. Any climate tax involves arguments about costs and benefits; voting to raise energy prices is not conducive to re-election. But if liberals can outsource their policies to the EPA, they can take credit while avoiding any accountability for the huge economic costs they impose.

Meanwhile, the EPA's career staff is unsupervised. In December, they went ahead and made their so-called "endangerment finding" on carbon, deputizing themselves as the rulers of the global-warming bureaucracy. The adults in the White House were aghast when they saw the draft. EPA lifers retaliated by leaking the disputes of the standard interagency review process to Democrats like Henry Waxman and sympathetic reporters. Thus the stations-of-the-cross media narrative about "political interference," as if the EPA's careerists don't have their own agenda. So the Administration performed triage by making everything transparent.

At least getting the EPA on the record will help clarify the costs of carbon restrictions. Democrats complaining about "censorship" at the EPA are welcome to defend fiats about lawnmowers and flatulent cows.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Here's the Democrats plan to deal with the energy prices without actually allowing any new energy. If they won't permit an increase in supply (and they clearly won't), you are compelled to reduce demand, i.e. regulate how people live their everyday lives.

Use taxpayer money to expand public transportation. It takes years, YEARS to build a light rail line, and it will do nothing to reduce the price of gas today, tomorrow, or next year. We can't train our way out of this, it’s a hoax. That's the Democrats argument against drilling for oil, why isn't it applicable to public transportation as well?

Encourage auto insurance policies with lower premiums for low mileage drivers. My insurance carrier already gives me a discount for having a short commute. How will government "encouragement" mean anything at all?

Provide incentives to take the bus, ride a bike, carpool, or walk to work. What form, precisely, these "incentives" might take is never specified. And really, this wouldn't apply to people that already live close enough to walk or bike, because unless you live a mile or less from the office, this is pretty impractable for those of us that don't want to sit around perspiring in our work clothes for the first hour.

Help create "walkable, bikeable" communities. Ed Koch tried this in New York after visiting China, installing bike lanes on the large avenues of Manhattan. It failed miserably. If it didn't work in a fairly compact area like Manhattan Island, why does anybody think it will work elsewhere?

Educate Americans to make "smart" transportation and housing choices. Americans aren't smart enough to make "smart" choices? And now a bunch of politicians living in mansions and riding in limos and private jets want to "educate" us to be "smart" like them? Condescending asshats.

Create special low-cost mortagages for housing near transit stops. Yeah, that's the ticket. Government intervention in the mortgage market. The last time that was tried, it was to get more loans available to poor borrowers. The result was subprime mortgages and the resulting and entirely predictable foreclosures.

Upgrade government websites. Yeah, a better interface at IRS dot GOV is going to save us trillions of gallons.

What a bunch of tools. I can't decide which of the following scenarios is worse: either these politicians think we are stupid enough to believe this asshattery will provide any meaningful change in energy use, or they are themselves are stupid enough to believe it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This Guy Gets My Vote!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I don't use custom ringtone (okay, I confess, I don't know how to connect my phone to my computer). If I did, though, this would be one of the first:

Create free ringtones at Phonezoo

Monday, July 14, 2008

Laurel is Glowing

Pregnancy seems to agree with her. Ain't she beautiful?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

News Roundup

I haven't done this in a while, so here goes:

Tony Snow with some good counsel: “Don’t think about dying. Think about living.”

Black Hawk Down? Caused by global warming.

Environmentalists: No oil for you!

Pelosi: No oil for you!

Anheuser Busch is now a European company.

Bill Clinton bemoans the lack of a fairness doctrine in housing. Maybe Bill could create a department of neighborhood ideology to manage such things.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Farewell to Tony Snow: 1955-2008

Tony Snow is almost universally remembered as a fine, decent man. I saw him speak at a local auditorium some years ago, and his optimism and love of family and country were infectious. May God bless him and his family. The country has lost a wonderful thinker, commenter, husband, and father.

That said, here are some tributes to Tony Snow from the intellectual giants at the liberal blog Daily Kos:
a reminder of the need for universal health care - if a dude like Snow can get hit with cancer when probably able to get decent care under his employers' health plans (not just the gold-plated government plan, but also when he worked for FAUX News), how many people are walking around with undiagnosed crap because they can't afford to see a doctor? Oh, and guys - check your balls regularly.

I feel for Tony's kids. They had nothing to do with their dad's miserable public service.

Fuck Tony Snow. Fuck GWB. Fuck the right wing as a staff, as a party, and as a motherfucking crew.

The fact that he died doesn't make everything cool. Hitler is dead too, and he's still an asshole, and i wish I could bring him back just to kill him again. Now fuck off, douche.
And my personal favorite:
Oh. Fucking. Well.

Spread filth and lies during your life, work for a networks full of assholes, and spreading Bush propaganda.

No fake ass eulogies here. Good riddance motherfucker.

Hopefully Bill o Reilly can kick the bucket soon, him and limbaugh.

Fuck Tony Snow. Rest in hell.
My goodness. To be sure, there are other commenters telling these tolerant progressives to cool it, but mostly because it might reflect badly on them, not because they find such nonsense offensive beyond the pale.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Awww. This is enough to make you smiley and teary at the same time:

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Here's a site dedicated to often confused words. My bete noir is not on the site, so I can blog it now. I see it far too often on several blogs and bulletin boards I frequent.

"Noone." It drives me absolutely nuts.

Please, write "no one" or "nobody." But never "noone." There, I said it. End of rant.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

This op-ed piece in the New York Times by a Penn law professor implies that if you shoot an intruder when you could have hit him with a frying pan instead, you might be in legal hot water:
The states impose carefully defined limitations on the use of deadly force in self-defense. (These rules are fairly uniform, state to state; most are based on the American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code of 1962.) A person may use only as much force as is “immediately necessary.” If a less lethal means of defense is available, the use of deadly force is illegal. Firearms are by law deadly force.
The implication is clearly that there is a universal, nationwide standard for the use of deadly force, and if you are not careful you will come down on the wrong side of it. This completely ignores the Castle Doctrine laws that have been enacted in many states.
Some states add a legal presumption about when a person is justified in using force against intruders. For example, Florida added a presumption that a person using force had a reasonable fear of death or serious injury to himself or another if (a) the person against whom he used force was illegally and forcefully entering a dwelling or occupied vehicle, was in the process of doing so, or removed or was attempting to remove a person against his will and (b) the person using force knew or had reason to believe this was occurring.
So much for waiting for immediate necessity. In Florida, you can shoot somebody in the process of breaking into your house or vehicle.

The author goes on to suggest that Tasers are a better choice, anyway:
A Taser works only within a limited distance, up to 35 feet for advanced models. But most firearm confrontations are at less than 10 feet. More important, the legal limitations on self-defense typically do not allow use of force at a distance. Defensive force is considered “immediately necessary” only when the defender can wait no longer, when the threat is “imminent.”
Yeah, I can see it now. Thug breaks into house, homeowner says, "Get out. I have a Taser." Thug pleads "Don't Tase me bro!!!" while backing out the door. Notice the author again makes the specious claim that you will be obliged to stand there waiting until the thug is right on top of you anyway, so why not Taser him first. Never mind that 14 states have passed laws allowing deadly force without retreat in the home (Castle Doctrine laws) and 12 more have laws allowing force without retreat when threatened anywhere (Stand-Your-Ground laws).

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

You Read it Here First

Back on February 14th I published this
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.
And a few days ago, I wrote
I have long said that the lone thread connecting the democrat party coalition of liberal special interest groups is the desire to control some aspect of other people's lives. That's the magic of "climate change." By making carbon dioxide a pollutant, the left has created the unifying issue by which they can control every aspect of human existence.
Now, along comes Bret Stephens on the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page saying the same things:
If even slight global cooling remains evidence of global warming, what isn't evidence of global warming? What we have here is a nonfalsifiable hypothesis, logically indistinguishable from claims for the existence of God. This doesn't mean God doesn't exist, or that global warming isn't happening. It does mean it isn't science.

Socialism may have failed as an economic theory, but global warming alarmism, with its dire warnings about the consequences of industry and consumerism, is equally a rebuke to capitalism. Take just about any other discredited leftist nostrum of yore – population control, higher taxes, a vast new regulatory regime, global economic redistribution, an enhanced role for the United Nations – and global warming provides a justification.
Read it all, there's lots more. And naturally, it's written better than my amateur scribblings, too.