Tuesday, September 30, 2008

News Roundup

I am sick of listening to politicians blowing hot, stale air about this economic bailout plan. So here's a roundup of readings NOT RELATED to all this nonsense.

Martin Luther Kings niece is not so happy with Planned Parenthood.
Now a pro-life activist, King is calling for Congress to strip Planned Parenthood of all federal funding. She said she believes that "no issue is more important today than protecting the lives of the unborn."

Some practioners of the Religion of Peace aren't happy with Pakistan's new president meeting with Sarah Palin:
Maulana Abdul Ghafar of the Lal Masjid mosque was quoted as saying that Zardari had shamed all of Pakistan with his indecent gestures and remarks. His “praise of a non-Muslim lady wearing a short skirt” was un-Islamic, Ghafar said in a sermon.

The Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco sounds like a wonderful family event:
Bondage, sadomasochism, whippings, beatings, widespread nudity, oral and anal sex acts, people being led around by collars and chains - that’s just a sampling of what was “celebrated” at a public street fair held Sunday in San Francisco.

What the hell is "libertarian paternalism?"
Most of the book goes something like this: First, tell a story about the lovably crazy things we "Humans" do — not at all like the choices made by those coolly calculating "Econs" of economics lore. Second, describe a clever reform in life strategy, business practice, or public policy that takes this foible into account in a way that encourages more optimal choices. Repeat.

Yet another pyschological analysis of Bill Clinton.
But if recent events have proven anything, it may be that the self-styled "Comeback Kid" is a lot more like Baby Jane Hudson, the captivating-yet-repugnant title character played by Bette Davis in the 1962 camp classic, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Like the faded, bitter and spiteful ex-child star, Clinton doesn't seem to know how to share, much less exit, the stage gracefully. Worse still, like Baby Jane, he seems to have little sense of how he's horrifying his audience.

Monday, September 29, 2008

What Media Bias II?

In the comments from this post on liberal media bias, Rob wrote:
If the media were biased toward your candidate, would you be ranting about it?
I thought about that one for a while, and honestly, I can't answer. Because the media have never favored my candidate. Or even opposed candidates I found unacceptable.

This item explains my skepticism:
Off the record, every suspicion you have about MSM being in the tank for O is true. We have a team of 4 people going thru dumpsters in Alaska and 4 in arizona. Not a single one looking into Acorn, Ayers or Freddiemae. Editor refuses to publish anything that would jeopardize election for O, and betting you dollars to donuts same is true at NYT, others. People cheer when CNN or NBC run another Palin-mocking but raising any reasonable inquiry into obama is derided or flat out ignored. The fix is in, and its working.
Partisan hacks.

Weekend Update

Alison and her proud daddy

Friday, September 26, 2008

What Media Bias?

Katie Couric, interviewing Sarah Palin:
If this (bailout) doesn't pass, do you think there's a risk of another Great Depression?
Katie Couric, interviewing John McCain later that same day:
But isn't so much of this, Senator McCain, about consumer confidence and using rhetoric like the "Great Depression," is that the kind of language Americans need to hear right now?
Oh man, that's rich. Couric brings up the spectre of the Great Depression, Palin answers her question, then Couric parades in a few hours later and asks McCain why his running mate is scaring the American people like that. I don't think I could have made that scenario up if it hadn't actually happened.

Hat tip: Media Research Center

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This article demonstrates what really drives me crazy about environmentalists: they're nosy, intrusive, judgmental pricks, ready to tell everybody on the planet how they should be living their lives.
The Sustainable Endowments Institute in Cambridge, Mass., has released its College Sustainability Report Card, a study of 300 schools graded on criteria including green buildings, student involvement, endowment transparency and recycling.
A "report card" on the colleges? How precious, I am sure these asshats fancy themselves quite clever and ironic.
The school did well in a numbers of areas, but was brought down by failing grades in endowment transparency and shareholder engagement. The site praised W&M’s sustainability policy and the creation of a full-time position to oversee building practices and energy efficiency. Also, the school serves local produce, organic food and fair trade coffee, according to the site.

ODU received a C-, gaining points for creating an environmental advisory committee and a full-time sustainability coordinator, as well as putting a green roof on the new Batten Arts & Letters building and offering vegan options in the dining halls.

Hampton University received a D+. The school has a 2-year-old HU Goes Green committee, high-efficiency heating and air-conditioning, and uses eight green vehicles.

Regent University, with a D, does operate electric vehicles on campus and uses green cleaning products, according to the report. But the report said that recycling is low and the school has shown no interest in investing in renewable energy funds.
Whew! They have an opinion about nearly everything! From this list we learn the following:

  • "Sustainability Policies"
  • Full-time energy oversight
  • Advisory committees
  • Local food, organic food, "fair trade coffee," and veganism
  • Green vehicles

  • Not revealing to these busy-bodies how you invest your endowment
  • Lack of "shareholder engagement"
  • Not investing as directed by these little fascists
  • Insufficient recycling
  • Here are a couple amusing "Separated at Births," stolen from Laura Ingraham.

    This is deeply weird:
    VERMONT -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, cofounders of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., urging them to replace cow's milk they use in their ice cream products with human breast milk, according to a statement recently released by a PETA spokeswoman. [...]

    PETA officials say a move to human breast milk would lessen the suffering of dairy cows and their babies on factory farms and benefit human health.
    Obviously, this is nothing more than PETA being provocative to keep itself in the news. That said, it's kind of amusing to imagine the logistics of trying to produce enough human milk to replace the cow's milk we use in this country.

    In August, the USA produced 14.5 billion pounds of milk. With milk weighing in at 8.5 lbs/gallon, that's about 1.7 billion gallons per month. Now, assuming a US population of 150 million females, and further assuming all 150 million are lactacting simultaneously (yikes!), that's a production of 11 gallons of milk per month per person. If we were to try such a thing, I would have to join the protesters to stop the exploitation of women in this country!

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    We had a diesel spill on the Norfolk waterfront today. 1700 gallons into the Elizabeth River, the smell was all over downtown. Thankfully, they tracked down the owner of the boat.

    That would be the U.S. Government, Environmental Protection Agency. Will congress drag the head of the EPA in to testify to his incompetence? Nooooo.

    Now, to be fair, the EPA had just acquired the boat, so it probably isn't their fault that it is leaky. Maybe we can go after the previous owner for cleanup costs! Again, no way.

    The EPA picked up this boat from the U.S. Government, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    What's A Libertarian?

    I dunno. Most libertarians I know are small "L" libertarians, meaning they refuse to identify with any political party. Yes, there is a Libertarian Party. This year, Bob Barr is the Libertarian candidate for president.

    Well, the Tome of the Unknown Blogger wonders just what the hell is a libertarian.
    I guess I don’t know what the definition of Libertarian is; I’d thought it might be an agglomeration of Liberal and Contrarian.
    The problem is, I think, that there is no single definition. Just as libertarians tend to refuse party affiliation, they also tend to bristle at being "defined." Because libertarianism is all about the individual, not about his or her group affiliations. Wiki has a good starting point.
    Libertarians are committed to the belief that individuals, and not states or groups of any other kind, are both ontologically and normatively primary; that individuals have rights against certain kinds of forcible interference on the part of others; that liberty, understood as non-interference, is the only thing that can be legitimately demanded of others as a matter of legal or political right; that robust property rights and the economic liberty that follows from their consistent recognition are of central importance in respecting individual liberty; that social order is not at odds with but develops out of individual liberty; that the only proper use of coercion is defensive or to rectify an error; that governments are bound by essentially the same moral principles as individuals; and that most existing and historical governments have acted improperly insofar as they have utilized coercion for plunder, aggression, redistribution, and other purposes beyond the protection of individual liberty.
    All that said, the libertarian that has probably come closest to approximating my feelings was the late Harry Browne. Here are some excerpts from his 2000 Presidential Platform:
    Libertarians believe you are better able to run your life than any politician can.

    In short, Libertarians want to get government out of your life.

    Harry Browne and Libertarian candidates across America want to enforce the Bill of Rights, keep the federal government out of every area for which it has no constitutional authority, and restore the freedom and security the Founding Fathers intended for you.

    We want you to keep every dollar you earn - to spend it, save it, or give it away as you decide, not as the Republican and Democratic politicians think is best for you.

    We want you to control your own life and make your own personal decisions.

    We want you to be free.
    I disagreed with Browne on some points, even some very important points. But his basic philosophy of minimal government interference in the lives of individuals is at the root of my philosophy as well. I am sure Cousin Don and Laurel's mileage will vary.

    Yankee Stadium

    This piece about Yankee Stadium almost brought me to tears.
    Some of those who are no longer here were represented by family members. During the pregame ceremony, with the full-throated tribute of the crowd, David Mantle trotted to center field, where he was joined by Kay Murcer, the widow of Yankee great Bobby Murcer, who died two months ago of brain cancer at 62. The fans understood that this was a moment when they could show a grieving family how much it was loved. It began to chant "Bob-by Mur-cer," over and over, louder and louder, until the old ballpark was shaking. David Mantle pulled Kay close and the two hugged. The crowd went nuts.

    As the first pitch approached, everyone was emotional. Yogi Berra, wearing his old flannel uniform, seemed to tear up. He's one of the few left. Mantle's gone. Drank himself to death. Billy Martin died in a pickup truck crash. DiMaggio's dead. Maris is, too. So many of Yogi's friends are. This was a place where he could commune with them. Now that's gone, too.

    "I'm sorry to see it go," he says. "I really do."

    The woman who threw out that first pitch perhaps summed up the mood best. Julia Ruth Stevens is 92 years old, and a hip broken several years ago keeps her in a wheelchair a lot of the time. But she walked out to the field and bounced one to Jorge Posada, connecting with one throw the breadth of Yankee history. To her, Babe Ruth wasn't a fictional character or the genesis of an adjective. To her, he was Dad, and even now, she misses him. Seeing this ballpark torn down is personal to her but, after nine decades, she understands a thing or two about mortality. Nothing lasts forever.
    A have a strong connection to the place, too. When I was 8 or 9, my father and grandfather took me to see a ballgame. I saw Mickey Mantle get a hit that day in his final season. I remember my Dad turning to me and saying, "So you saw the Mick get a hit."

    In my early twenties my Dad was given tickets for the Stadium Club, an exclusive restaurant inside. He took Mom, me, and my girlfriend Suzy. She later became my wife, and then, tragically, my late wife. Dad died a couple years before Suzy, Mom a couple months after. I have at home a picture of the four of us at Yankee Stadium - up until yesterday, the Stadium and I were the lone survivors of that picture. Now, it is only me.

    In September 2001 after Suzy's aunt died, we went to see the Yanks play the Devil Rays. After the terrorists attacks, nobody was going to games, and we had front row seats along the leftfield line. The fellow sitting next to me was a classic New Yorker, and he harrassed the Rays leftfielder mercilessly. Late in the game, the leftfielder caught the last out of the inning and gave this guy the ball, a big grin across his face.

    That same game, Derek Jeter came to the plate and Suzy yelled, "C'mon you Taco Dog!" The New York dude next to me turned and looked quizically, and I explained that Suzy thought Jeter looked like the Taco Bell chihuahua. He started laughing, then put his face in his hands, shaking his head. Suzy grinned from ear to ear, quite pleased with herself.

    I saw games with friends, and went to many games alone. I banged Frying Pan Freddy's pot. One Memorial Day weekend I saw Roger Clemens dual Pedro Martinez for eight scoreless innings, only to lose on a Trot Nixon homer in the ninth. ESPN dubbed that game an "Instant Classic."

    And last year, I took my then girlfriend from New Mexico to a game. There was a gentle-looking college boy there in a t-shirt with "3.14159" etcetera printed on the back - Pi to about 100 places. A math shirt. At a Yankee game. Predictably, some nearby wise-asses (from their accents, they sounded like "bridge and tunnel" guys) saw him and taunted him unmercifully for several innings. When he finally left, they yelled in unison, "By Pi!" Laurel thought it was hilarious. She is now my wife, and I am so glad I got to take her there.

    I'm gonna miss that place.

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    An Amazing Jet

    This past weekend was the 50th annual air show at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach. I went with my father in law and had a great time. The Blue Angels performed, but really enjoyed the F-22 Raptor.

    I have never seen a plane perform such maneuvers. Check out the climb and loop beginning at 1:30, the loop at about 2:40, and the climb, loop, and flat fall at 4:10.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    I want my $708

    Dear US Treasury Department,

    I would like to sell my share of AIG corporation which I didn't realize I owned until today.

    I estimate it is worth about $708.33 which is my share of the $85 billion paid by approximately 120 million US taxpayers today. I will settle for a check for $708, you can use the 33 cents to defray the cost of mailing and printing the check.

    The Federal Reserve seems to be very busy printing things these days so maybe they can lend you a hand with the checks since I don't think I'll be the last taxpayer to request to cash out my shares.

    While you are at it, if you wouldn't mind cashing in my shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Bear Stearns, I'd appreciate it.

    Thank you,

    PS You still owe my mother some money for that Chrysler bailout in 1979

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    From the New York Times: Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes

    Which begs the question: Would The Times have thought it reflected better upon her had she hired her foes and lashed her friends? Assuming (and it seems a reasonable assumption) that success in politics, or anywhere else for that matter, requires rewarding your supporters and marginalizing your detractors, I would submit it would be a bigger surprise if she hadn't hired her friends.
    Jeff Jacoby at the Boston Globe gets it:
    (Y)ou don't have to be rich to be skeptical when a candidate argues that the top 1 percent of taxpayers, who already pay 40 percent of federal income taxes, aren't being taxed enough. Nor do you have to be an economist to wonder about the grasp of a nominee who tells 95 percent of the public that they can have something for nothing. Obamanomics may look pretty at first glance. But voters are focusing more closely now, and they can see beyond the lipstick.

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    I am sitting here listening to my iPod, and NRBQ’s song “Definition of Love” came along. It brought me a smile, so I thought I would share.
    Got out my dictionary
    Turned it to the “Ls”
    I was just checking
    On how this word was spelled
    Came across that four letter word, L-O-V-E
    And now I’m wondering exactly what it means

    Oh won’t you tell me
    The definition of love

    Noun: A deep and tender feeling of affection
    Or the object of such liking
    Just sat there thinking about it
    Trying to find out
    Just what this cotton-picking word is all about

    Oh can you tell me
    The definition of love

    Verb, intransitive: “I’m in love”
    Verb, transitive: “I love you”
    Could it be for the love of money
    Or the love of pete
    That word I want it in my vocabulary

    Oh won’t you tell me
    The definition of love

    Noun, your sweetheart: “Oh my love”
    Tennis: a score of zero
    I ain’t no expert yet but this much I know
    That when you give it away
    You wind up having more

    Oh won’t you tell me
    The definition of love
    Please tell me
    The definition of love
    I spent a lot of time chasing NRBQ in the early 80s and these songs always bring back fond memories. It's amazing, and a testament to the musicianship of the band, how fresh most of them still sound to this day.
    Here's a report in which we learn that New Hampshire Democrats are fearful that Barack Obama may actually lose, because the filthy Republicans are distracting voters from the "issues:"
    “I’m very worried because we’ve seen this movie before,” said Robert Spurrier, a school teacher. “The Republican attack machine shifts the election away from issues and turns it into a battle of personalities.”

    There was broad agreement that Mr Obama must respond aggressively to attacks but avoid being dragged into the mud. “He’s got to show he can stick up for himself,” said Gail Sommer, another teacher. “But he needs to do it in a way that’s truthful and honorable and gets us back on the issues.”
    Okay, fair enough. Now, from the same article, here is the Obama supporter counter-argument, honorably bringing it back to the issues, while avoiding the mud:
    “You want to know the honest truth? I think she’s like a bad actor from a B-list sex movie,” said Paula Vanbuskirk, an Obama-supporting independent, whose contempt for the Alaska governor and self-styled “hockey mom” was shared by almost everyone questioned by the Financial Times.
    Hey, great job, Paula. Way to bring the campaign back to the issues by voicing contempt for your opponent as being similar to a porn star, and B-List one at that. This must be how the left "elevates" the political debate. And it's the Republicans that are debasing our politics? Please. And as a Palin supporter, it's nice to know a New Hampshirite has this tolerant, inclusive thing to say about me:
    “I just do not trust the American people,” said Eleanor Shavell, 58, a computer programmer, who, along with several others, joked she would move to Canada if Mr Obama loses.
    Hey, Eleanor, next time applying for your "trust" is a condition on my right to vote, I'll give a damn whether you trust me or not. And if your messiah doesn't win, don't let the door hit you on the way north.

    "She's nothing but a porn queen." "I don't trust the American People." The condescension is breath taking.

    Tuesday, September 09, 2008

    Alison has Arrived!

    Alison Elizabeth was born on September 9, 2008. She weighs 7 pounds and is 18.5" long. Laurel and I are as proud and happy as can be!

    Princess Alison meets the world

    Alison meets her mommy


    Our new family, rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise because Kurt is too moronic to rotate it back before it uploads, and to confuse stalkers and baby thieves, but mostly because Kurt is a moron.

    Friday, September 05, 2008

    Compare and Contrast

    As a Harley rider, I know where my allegiance lies!

    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    Yuval Levin on the media feeding frenzy surrounding Sarah Palin:
    The reigning emotion of it all has been anger—anger at being surprised, anger at being denied the spectacle of a Republican circular firing squad, anger that a conservative pro-life Republican could also be a woman and might represent the aspirations of other women, anger at being handed a person they did not know and who did not know them, anger that this upstart thinks she can ruin their coronation party. And the anger was fed by, and was indicative of, a profound elitism—a sense that we were dealing with some redneck moron from a state with no decent restaurants. The Republican candidate for president chose as his running mate a young, charismatic, female Republican governor—probably the most popular governor in the country—whose attitude and resume ring precisely of McCain’s kind of politics, and who has been on most people’s short-list since he won the nomination, and the press treats it as a symptom of some terrible and reckless madness.
    It is so tiring being lectured by the dimwitted, moronic press about every aspect of our lives and politics.
    Kathleen Parker reveals that the left’s opposition to Sarah Palin revolves around one issue: abortion.
    Palin is everything liberals have always purported to want for women — freedom to choose, opportunities for both career and family, a shot at the top ranks of American political life. With five children and an impressive resumé, Palin should be Miss July in the go-girl calendar.

    There’s just one hitch: She doesn’t believe in abortion except to save a mother’s life. That’s hardcore, even for pro-life Republicans, most of whom allow for abortion in cases of rape and incest. […]

    While we’re exhausting irony, Palin would have been excoriated as a hypocrite had she or her daughter had an abortion. That would have been legitimate and, probably, deal-breaking criticism. By choosing life, the Palins acted in accordance with their public positions — and were ridiculed for their honesty.
    I would add it is easy to imagine that, had the young lady decided to have an abortion, the left would have celebrated her “choice” right after running her mother out of town on the hypocrisy rail. Sarah Palin is a bit to the right of me on the issue, but I admire her for having the courage to stick by her convictions, no matter the circumstances.

    Along the same lines, here’s a piece excoriating the press on its predation of a 17-year-old:
    This shameful but predictable media performance stands in marked contrast to the rigorous “hands-off” privacy policy dutifully honored by the press throughout the Clinton years for the president’s then-teenage daughter, Chelsea. Indeed earlier this year, though Miss Clinton was now well into her twenties and an impressively poised surrogate for her mother’s campaign, NBC News suspended reporter David Shuster for asserting that Sen. Clinton’s campaign was “pimping” her daughter — a classless formulation, to be sure. But where’s the hyper-sensitivity about a candidate’s child now?

    When Al Gore’s son was arrested on narcotics and speeding charges in 2007, moreover, the national press was a model of sympathetic restraint. The muted coverage was devoid of calls for a national “teaching moment” on drug abuse or responsible driving. The message was plain and correct: No news here, move along.

    The Republican base and other people of good will are angry over this grotesque display. It is obvious what the media and Democrats are up to here. They want to define Sarah Palin as a failure before she even has a chance to succeed. Hence the speculation that McCain will dump her from the ticket. How absurd. All we know about Palin’s performance as a candidate so far is that she gave polished performances at her unveiling in Ohio and at a rally the next day in Pennsylvania. The supposed embarrassments — about her alleged membership in the fringe Alaskan Independence Party and her woefully incomplete vetting — are concoctions of a media stumbling over itself to prove a conclusion it has already reached.

    So far, it is the press that has embarrassed itself, not the governor from Alaska.

    Tuesday, September 02, 2008

    Vile Vermin

    From Ace of Spades come these comments about Sarah Palin and her family from the tolerant left:
    If health insurance for all, an end to the Iraq War, an end to torture and illegal wiretapping, and a sane energy policy can be obtained at the price of destroying one teenage girl, her family, and the surrendering our self-respect I see that as a cheap trade. [...]

    Are you telling me that you would not use character-destroying lies to ensure a war against Iran does not occur? . . . What choice do we have? When faced with monsters, we have to be monstrous ourselves. [...]

    Are you telling me you would not destroy the love a family holds for one another, even if it meant letting someone who would destroy the constitution become president? [...]
    Lovely people, these liberals.