Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

More Conservative Songs

John J. Miller has another list. He throws out a few more suggestions here.

I don't thing Rush's "Freewill" belongs on the list. Its critique seems to be pointed at fatalism, not statism.

Something To Really Worry About

Radley Balko tells Congress about government raids that are genuine travesties, unlike the fully deserved search of William Jefferson's office.

Headline Of The Day

Big Rodents Overrun Washington Seniors

No, not Washington DC, and not the three-piece-suited rodent variety.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

More Union News

Another post at Intercepts: Politician Endorsed By Union With No Members.

Intercepts is now on the blogroll.

Who Needs To Watch The Sopranos When We Have This?

The Education Intelligence Agency's blog Interncepts links to an interesting tale about Chicago's Roti family:

Bruno F. Caruso -- a grandson of family patriarch Bruno Roti Sr., identified by the FBI as an associate of Al Capone's -- ran Laborers' International Union Local 1001, which represented 3,500 city workers while Caruso was in power, mostly in two city departments -- Streets and Sanitation, and Transportation. They empty garbage cans, pave streets, fix potholes.

When Caruso left the union leadership, his cousin Nicholas Gironda took over.

Caruso's brother Frank "Toots" Caruso headed another Laborers' local that represented city workers. When he left, his cousin Leo Caruso took over.

Together, the four Roti family members controlled thousands of unionized city jobs, as well as pension funds and other union assets that once topped a billion dollars. Often, they decided who got unskilled laborers' jobs with the city and who got promoted into supervisory positions in those areas, sources said.

They had that power until they were forced out of or resigned their leadership posts over allegations of corruption and mob ties that had been pursued for years by the international union's in-house prosecutor. As part of that effort, the international union filed a complaint in 2003 that accused Gironda of taking bribes from city job-seekers "on behalf of" his cousins Bruno Caruso and "Toots" Caruso. By 2004, all were gone from the union.

Read the whole thing.

Do You Know The Muffin Man?

The Drudge Retort has the initial story:

Muffins that made 18 staff members at a Dallas-area high school ill contained the active ingredient found in marijuana, Dallas County health department officials said Thursday.

Two suspects have been nabbed.

The Dallas FBI filed assault cases on Wednesday against two 18-year-olds in connection with drug-laced muffins that sickened 18 staff members at Lake Highlands High School in northeast Dallas.

Robert Tellini and Ian McConnell Walker, both of Dallas, have each been charged with five counts of assault on a public servant, a third-degree felony, authorities said.

The case will now be prosecuted by the Dallas County District Attorney’s office, according to a news release from the FBI

Misadventures In Computer Technology

The other day I was browsing at various flat-panel computer monitors. Had the idea of upgrading to a 19-inch. There's a problem: monitors at that size are designed so that they optimal setting is 1280x1024 pixels. This means that reducing the screen resolution to 1024x768 results in smudged-looking fonts. Using ClearType settings in Windows XP doesn't fix this.

Why do I want the lower resolution? Because at 1280x1024 the fonts are too small to read without straining - unless I get an unusually large monitor (24" at the very least). But Internet Explorer fonts cannot be adjusted this way. Text size can be adjusted from within IE, but this will change only some of the font sizes of online text. So a flat panel monitor doesn't seem to be in my immediate future.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Remembering The Fallen

(This is an annual Memorial Day post.)

Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
Wars on the Barbary Pirates (1801-1805, 1815)
War of 1812 (1812-1815)
War Between the States (1861-1865)
Mexican-American War(1846-1848)
Spanish-American War (1898)
China Relief Expedition (1900-1901)
Pacification of Nicaragua (1912-1913)
Interventions in Mexico (1914-1917)
World War I (1914-1918)
Pacification of Haiti and Dominican Republic (1915-1918)
Allied Intervention in Russian Civil War (1918-1920)
World War II (1939-1945)
Korean War (1950-1953)
Vietnam War (1964-1973)
Hostage rescue mission in Iran (1980)
Lebanon peacekeeping mission (1982-1984)
Counterinsurgency mission in El Salvador (1980-?)
Liberation of Grenada (1983)
Invasion of Panama (1989)
Iraq War (1990-1991, 2002-present)
Somalia peacekeeping mission (1992-1994)
Attack on USS Cole (2000)
Afghanistan War (2001-present)

The Veterans Museum has information on many of these conflicts. Information on Allied activity during the Bolshevik Revolution is here. See Wikipedia entry on Manuel Noriega for details on the Panama conflict. This site tells of American pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Day That Will Not Be Celebrated In Saigon

Today is Henry Kissinger's birthday.

I have a question. Kissinger is renowned the world over as an expert on diplomacy. So what did he ever do in his diplomatic career that constitutes a success for the United States?

The linked Wikipedia article cites several examples. The first is detente with the Soviets. Since this "peace process" involved a bunch of treaties that the Soviets cheated on, and didn't contribute to the demise of Communism, I can't really see what was so great about it.

Kissinger engaged in a critical secret conference with Zhou Enlai prior to Nixon's historic visit, laying the groundwork for our semi-normalized relations with Red China. I'm not sure what the US gets out of this other than another trade partner (which is not a trivial thing), but on the surface it does seem that the opening of China influenced the nation to become a better place for the average Chinese citizen than it would have otherwise, even if ever so modestly.

He also negotiated the end of the Yom Kippur War:

Though Israel regained the territory it had lost, Kissinger pressured the Israelis to cede land to the Arabs, contributing to the first phases of a lasting Israeli-Egyptian peace. The move saw a warming in U.S.–Egyptian relations, bitter since the '50s, as the country moved away from its former pro-Soviet stance and into a close partnership with the United States. The peace was finalized in 1978 when U.S. president Jimmy Carter mediated the Camp David Accords, during which Israel returned the Sinai in exchange for an Egyptian agreement to recognize Israeli statehood and end hostility.

This appears to be a net benefit - Egypt switched sides in the Cold War, and our ally Israel got peace and official recognition from the Egyptian government. But I do have some questions. Was there a better alternative to Kissinger's plan? Did Egypt's defection make a significant difference in the Cold War, or in Mideast tensions?

Kissinger did foster favorable relations between the US and Chile after the Pinochet coup, but Jimmy Carter put an end to that for the duration of his presidency. At least Carter's alienation of Chile didn't foster totalitarian revolution as his alienation of Iran and Nicaragua did.

Not Enough Change Of Heart

From ABC News: Dying 'Dr. Death' Has Second Thoughts About Assisting Suicides

His second thoughts are not about the issue of active euthanasia itself, but about how he promoted the cause:

Now, as he sits in jail, Kevorkian may have had a change of heart — not about his dedication to the "death with dignity" movement, but on how he went about promoting it...

While Kevorkian stands firmly by the cause of physician-assisted suicide, his lawyer said he would promote the movement by speaking out or writing, not by helping out in any more suicides.

"At this point, he would never perform it again," Morganroth said. "But he certainly would work towards getting it legalized wherever possible."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Top 50 Conservative Songs

National Review's John J. Miller has a list. Song #38 should be getting a lot of airplay in West Texas.

Let me add a 51st song, "I'm The Slime" - Frank Zappa's ode to broadcast media:

I am gross and perverted
I'm obsessed 'n deranged
I have existed for years
But very little had changed
I am the tool of the Government
And industry too
For I am destined to rule
And regulate you

I may be vile and pernicious
But you can't look away
I make you think I'm delicious
With the stuff that I say
I am the best you can get
Have you guessed me yet?
I am the slime oozin' out
From your TV set

You will obey me while I lead you
And eat the garbage that I feed you
Until the day that we don't need you
Don't got for one will heed you
Your mind is totally controlled
It has been stuffed into my mold
And you will do as you are told
Until the rights to you are sold

That's right, folks..
Don't touch that dial

Well, I am the slime from your video
Oozin' along on your livin'room floor

I am the slime from your video
Can't stop the slime, people, lookit me go

It's Official - Speed Limit Increase For Parts Of Texas

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has the story:

The Texas Transportation Commission agreed Thursday to increase the speed limit to 80 mph on more than 521 miles of Interstate 10 and Interstate 20 in rural West Texas, through the Davis Mountains and toward the southern tip of the Rockies.

New signs could be posted as early as Saturday, Texas Department of Transportation officials say.

The 5 mph increase could theoretically reduce travel by 90 minutes between Kerrville, northwest of San Antonio, and Fabens, east of El Paso.

State officials say it's safe for drivers to travel up to 80 mph in the sparse, 10-county region where Texas plains turn to Chihuahuan desert.

This wil also speed up travel to Big Bend National Park, home to beautiful desert, mountain, and canyon scenery, and one of the best spots in North America for amateur astronomy.

First Godzilla, Now This

Michael Jackson Plans Appearance in Tokyo

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Better Late Than Never

MarketWatch reports:

The brief Spanish-American War ended more than a century ago, but not the federal tax assessed to fund the victory.

Until now.

On Thursday, the U.S. Treasury said it would stop collecting the 3% federal excise tax on long-distance calls, a fee originally assessed in 1898. The government also said it will issue refunds requested by consumers and businesses that paid the fee over the past three years. Taxpayers will be able to request refunds when they file 2006 tax returns in early 2007.

Reavers Win The Eurovision Song Contest

Actually, the winners are the Finnish band Lordi, and the winning song is Hard Rock Hallelujah. Finland for Thought, Dodgeblogium, and Tech Central Station (via Mr. Dodge) have posts.

To see what a "real" Reaver looks like, see the fourth to last image here. Not the best image I could find on short notice.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

If The Da Vinci Code Doesn't Sate Your Appetite For Revisionist History...

...then go see An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's purported documentary on global warming. But before you do, read this Tech Central Station article, which lists several inconvenient truths that didn't make their way into the film.

A Scolding For Congress


Republicans and Democrats alike railed Tuesday at a Justice Department weekend raid of a lawmaker's Washington office, saying the move threatens the independence of the legislative branch.

"This is a serious concern," said House Majority Leader Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio. "Congress will clearly speak to the issue of the Justice Department invasion."

Independence from what? The same law enforcement measures to which all other Americans are subject?

Listen here, you elitist jerks. The FBI was investigating Jefferson for a crime. A judge signed a warrant to authorize a search of his Congressional office. Everything by the book.

On his show today, Rush Limbaugh pointed out a possible consequence of setting Congressional offices off-limits to such searches: any lawmakers who commit crimes will keep the incriminating evidence in their offices where no cop or Federal agent can ever search under any circumstances.

More Thoughts About Utilitarianism

In my original post on Mill and Utilitarianism, "Catquas" left a comment. I'll address the latter portion first:

Very basic logic here means that utilitarians will not support people who say they are promoting happiness, while in fact they are doing the opposite. Communist elites who, as you aptly put it, "consume a nation's population for their own enrichment", are not promoting happiness. They know this and we know this.

People may claim that the state should be the cornerstone of culture in the name of utilitarianism, but since we know that their policies will not promote general happiness, we know their arguments are wrong. Totalitarian states are not just oppressive to the individuals who are sacrificed for the supposed common good, they are bad for the common good as well.

Robert Scruton's article pointed at Communism (and other isms) in this passage:

Mill's rebellion against utilitarianism did not prevent him from writing a qualified defense of it, and his "Utilitarianism" is acknowledged today as one of the few readable accounts of a moral disorder that would have died out two centuries ago, had people not discovered that the utilitarian can excuse every crime. Lenin and Hitler were pious utilitarians, as were Stalin and Mao, as are most members of the Mafia.

In reflection, Mafiosi may not be the best example: they seek to maximize the welfare of the Mafia, not society as a whole; the Mafiosi are simply pragmatists.

Utilitarianism comes in two forms: national (the most common) and universal. Nazism is an example of the former; it sought to maximize the common good for "Aryan" Germans. To Hitler, WWII was all about getting revenge for the aftermath of WWI, all about making the German people great again. Fascism in general targets the supposed tyranny of unregulated commerce, by nationalizing not industry itself, as the Communists do, but the power to decide what gets produced. It also micromanages society in order to maximize "good" culture. A much more benign example of national Utilitarianism is trade protectionism, which through faulty economics seeks to contribute to maximizing domestic employment with little thought about foreign firms.

Communism is the prime example of universal Utilitarianism. Its vision is global, seeking to end the purported tyranny of capitalism and religion. Lenin, Stalin and Mao really believed that they were maximizing the happiness of humanity. They believed that they were fighting a war against oppressors; the concentration camps and purges were to them the moral equivalent to defending against an aggressor nation. They believed that Marxism could bring prosperity to their respective nations. Mao instituted the Great Leap Forward because he believed that Chinese agriculture would boom. Human nature being what it is, near-absolute power corrupts; the Maximum Leaders do their share of looting (the Ceaucescus being notorious examples), but they really do believe that in the long run they are bringing about Utopia.

These leaders really believed that the people would eventually be happy with the world they were building. That's what all the totalitarian indoctrination was for - to get the people to recognize and accept the Marxist view of happiness. They believed that the masses would be unhappy as long as they held to "wrongful" notions that contradict Marxism; the masses must be instructed on the meaning of life.

Now for the first part of Catquas' comment:

It is important to recognize that utilitarianism is a moral philosophy, and therefore is a moral guide for an individual. Utilitarians do not suggest that the Constitution read, "Make whatever law creates the most happiness", and then let the government decide what that is. The utilitarian wants a constitution with checks and balances constrains the government enough so it doesn't make laws which lower aggregate happiness. A utilitarian voter will vote for the person whose policies he believes will create the most happiness.

Many Utilitarians believe that government accountability is unnecessary or even harmful to utilitarian aims. A belief shared by Voltaire and several other Enlightenment thinkers was enlightened absolutism. Essentially Utilitarian in nature, it proposes an enlightened monarch as the means for maximizing citizen welfare. Modern socialism, the predominant form of Utilitarian thought in the Western world, seeks to remove large segments of the checks and balances offered by free markets.

Utilitarianism in and of itself does not define "happiness" and "common good." Utilitarian Peter Singer proposes that infanticide for newborns with certain severe disabilities maximizes happiness by minimizing "needless" suffering. Is he right? Utilitarianism is neutral on the subject.

There is a problem in valuing "happiness" as an ultimate end goal: people often find happiness in things that are harmful to the greater good. Stuff like drinking to excess, watching movies that lie about history (it's a wonder that Dan Brown didn't sell the Da Vinci Code film rights to experienced revisionist Oliver Stone), cheating on one's spouse, etc. Utilitarianism does not offer a method for prioritizing happiness.

A political philosophy should maximize one thing: justice. Protect individual rights, and punish those who infringe upon them. That sort of thing makes a lot of people unhappy.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Stupid Currency Tricks

Reader "lawyerchik1" alerts me to this Jerome Corsi article in Human Events. The bulk of the story itemizes a few ideas proposed by Robert Pastor, the Director of the Center for North American Studies at American University. He wants to see a European Union-like alliance between Canada, the US and Mexico. Few details are specified. One is a customs service operated by the alliance that would outrank the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Another is this:

Pastor has also called for the creation of a new currency which he has coined the "Amero," a currency that is proposed to replace the U.S. dollar, the Canadian dollar, and the Mexican peso.

Aside from sovereignty issues, the chief concern over such a harebrained scheme is its workability. Canada, the US and Mexico have vastly dissimilar economies; crafting a single monetary policy that suits all three is impossible.

The article concludes thus:

If President Bush had run openly in 2004 on the proposition that a prime objective of his second term was to form the North American Union and to supplant the dollar with the "Amero," we doubt very much that President Bush would have carried Ohio, let alone half of the Red State majority he needed to win re-election. Pursuing any plan that would legalize the conservatively estimated 12 million illegal aliens now in the United States could well spell election disaster for the Republican Party in 2006, especially for the House of Representative where every seat is up for grabs.

Fortunately, Pastor's pipe dream is not an issue in Washington. But illegal immigration is, and if the GOP sides with the illegals, their future won't be worth a wooden Amero.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Political Correctness vs. Individualism

Radley Balko has a tale (link via the Agora - emphasis added):

Those aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and Whiteness, and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color as "other", different, less than, or render them invisible. Examples of these norms include defining white skin tones as nude or flesh colored, having a future time orientation, emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology, defining one form of English as standard, and identifying only Whites as great writers or composers.

The first thing to come to mind is a passage on pages 9-10 in Dinesh D'Souza's 1991 book Illiberal Education: The Politics Of Race And Sex On Campus, which is also referenced in a 1997 Cato Institute article (emphasis added):

That whole mindset obviously is hostile not just to reason but to individualism. At the University of Pennsylvania several years ago a student was censured for turning in a paper in which she talked about her "deep regard for the individual and my desire to protect the freedom of all members of society." An administrator sent the paper back to her with the word "individual" underlined and with a note in the margin: "This is a red-flag phrase today. Arguments that champion the individual over the group ultimately privilege the individuals belonging to the largest or dominant group."

You will be assimilated. Our uniqueness will be added to your own.

Heh, even the Borg believed that the individual could contribute something toward improving the collective, albeit without maintaining that individuality.

Why Joe Kovacs Will Never Be Appointed Ambassador To Mexico

He proposes to seal our southern border with an alligator-filled moat.

Springtime For Ahmadinejad

The Iran legislature channels the Third Reich:

Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.

"This is reminiscent of the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. "Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis."

Iranian expatriates living in Canada yesterday confirmed reports that the Iranian parliament, called the Islamic Majlis, passed a law this week setting a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear almost identical "standard Islamic garments."

The law, which must still be approved by Iran's "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenehi before being put into effect, also establishes special insignia to be worn by non-Muslims.

Update: Eugene Volokh reports that the Iranian government is denying the story. Those charges pale in comparison to Iran's documented atrocities, though.

Update: "Ahmadinejad" is now spelled correctly.

Research Suggests That Human Ancestors Were Sexually Desperate

From NewsMax:

New research concludes that humans and chimpanzees interbred after the two species first separated – meaning they are much more recently related than was previously thought.

John Stuart Mill And Utilitarianism

Roger Scruton remembers John Stuart Mill on the eve of the philosopher's 200th birthday.

Mill was originally a proponent of utilitarianism, which Wikipedia defines as "a theory of ethics that prescribes the quantitative maximization of good consequences for a population." He eventually recognized a fatal flaw to the theory: the lack of checks and balances against a state's subjective interpretation of what maximizes the common good:

As Mill recognized, the "greatest happiness principle" must be qualified by some guarantee of individual rights, if it is not to excuse the tyrant. In response to his own wavering discipleship, therefore, he wrote "On Liberty," perhaps his most influential, though by no means his best, production.

Scruton cites Marxism and socialism as two examples of utilitarianism run amok. Nothing summarizes Marxist utilitarianism better than Mao's famous statement, "To make an omelet, you must break a few eggs." The analogy is perhaps more illustrative than Mao would have recognized; as one consumes one's breakfast for personal nourishment, Communist elites (literally and figuratively) consume a nation's population for their own enrichment.

Scruton mentions another example of unbridled utilitarianism, that promoted by his contemporary Jeremy Bentham which formed the essence of Victorian-era law:

At the time, Benthamite ways of thinking were influencing jurisprudence, and arguments based on the "general good" and the "good of society" appealed to the conservative imagination of the Victorian middle classes. It seemed right to control the forms of public worship, to forbid the expression of heretical opinions, or to criminalize adultery, for the sake of a "public morality" which exists for the general good. If individual freedom suffers, then that, according to the utilitarians, is the price we must pay.

The Benthamite argument is essentially the same as that of Marxism, socialism, the Jim Crow South, and academic political correctness, although the specific policies vary widely: government must be the cornerstone of culture. Recall the conversation between Josh Lyman and his Donna Moss on The West Wing. The utilitarian state doesn't trust us.

Mill failed to correct one serious philosophical flaw (emphasis added):

Mill's hostility to privilege, to landed property, and to inheritance of property had implications which he seemed unwilling or unable to work out. His argument that all property should be confiscated by the state on death, and redistributed according to its own greater wisdom, has the implication that the state, rather than the family, is to be treated as the basic unit of society--the true arbiter of our destiny, and the thing to which everything is owed. The argument makes all property a temporary lease from the state, and also ensures that the state is the greatest spender, and the one least bound by the sense of responsibility to heirs and neighbors. It is, in short, a recipe for the disaster that we have seen in the communist and socialist systems, and it is a sign of Mill's failure of imagination that, unlike Smith, he did not foresee the likely results of his favored policies.

Update: I have posted a follow-up.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Good Question

A Sean Hannity caller asked why so many Mexicans are coming to the US for work if NAFTA sent all our jobs to Mexico. Hmmmm...

Crime Beat

The State of Texas is going after BioPerformance Inc., a company selling pills purported to improve gas mileage when dropped in your car's gas tank.

In Washington State, while the dead are allowed to vote, the next of kin are not allowed to pick up the dearly departed's workers' compensation checks, as one resident has allegedly done.

Meanwhile in California, someone's front yard has been stolen.

Across the Atlantic, a cat has gone under cover to nab an unlicensed vet.

Headline Of The Day

70,000 Beer Cans Found in Ogden Townhouse

Heck, I could build a townhouse out of 70,000 aluminum cans.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

This Is Great

(Day By Day, 5/16/06)

Everything's Bigger In Texas

Including the speed limit, which could go up to 80mph if certain state lawmakers get their way.

It Figures That Ray Bradbury Would Be Pro-Alien

Please do not let the current controversy over mass illegal immigration and mass failure to enforce immigration laws blind you to this poem's message: America is the world's dream.

There's an interesting literary technique in these verses. Bradbury begins in third person, speaking of "we" Americans, and later shifts to second person as he talks directly to "you" Americans.

Read the whole thing. And if the Mexican immigration fiasco gets you down, just imagine the leftist demonizers of Western civilization reacting to sentiments portraying Americans as "the hoped-for thing a hopeless world would be."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The NSA Phone Records Flap

After pondering this issue, I am inclined to side with Jay Manifold. The kicker is the Fourth Amendment: there has to be probable cause for the government to make that search. So what would constitute probable cause? Sufficient grounds to identify a member of al-Qaeda or other entity at war with us.

So how does one establish such grounds? Jay eliminates a notoriously unreliable means of identifying suspects:

"Data mining" for terrorism -- the idea that searching through masses of data can find terrorist patterns or suspicious anomalies -- is provably flawed. Probability theory shows that searching for extremely rare events or conditions using even slightly flawed formulae will return mostly false positives. In other words, investigators searching through data about millions of Americans for the very few terrorists will send themselves on wild goose chases after innocent law-abiding citizens, with only the slimmest chance of stumbling onto terrorists or terrorism planning.

The NSA has to round up terror suspects by other means. And when it does so, it has probable cause to go to the phone companies and request phone records to and from locations associated with those suspects. That will square with the Constitution, and it will save the NSA the time that would be wasted plowing through reams of useless data.

Monday, May 15, 2006


James Taranto spots these two stories (scroll down):

"Indonesia Welcomes Iran's Leader"--headline, Los Angeles Times, May 11

"Thousands of people fled the fertile slopes of Indonesia's most dangerous volcano Saturday as glowing lava oozed down the side and ash and rock spewed from the mountaintop."--Associated Press, May 13

Why Bush's Poll Numbers Suck

At FrontPage Magazine, Michael Reagan tells why. The money quote:

"The problem you have right now is the conservative movement -- which is still very healthy in the country at large -- feels very abandoned in Washington," he told the Trib. "Conservatives actually believe in a balanced budget as a moral issue. Conservatives actually believe you ought to control the border as a matter of national security. Conservatives are the people who pay the taxes. They're not the people who get the pork."

Update: Bill Hobbs spotted a little sample bias in the poll numbers. But the Prez still has huge problems with his political base.

Rock The Casbah

Check out this video (via The Corner).

America's Top Ten Driving Pet Peeves

NewsMax has the list. I'd rate "obnoxious drivers who speed up to keep you from changing lanes" in first place instead of fifth. Especially when driving through Dallas.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

If I Were Him, I'd Want Americans To Forget Who I Am

Look who's blogging at Daily Kos (via Michelle Malkin).

Media Research Center Bids Farewell To The West Wing

In celebration, MRC has its list of top ten left-wing scenes from the show. One is the listed scenes is from the episode "The Midterms," which features an infamously ham-handed attempt at parody of Dr. Laura Schlessinger. The scene is mercilessly fisked by Hank Hanegraaf in his article President Bartlet’s Fallacious Diatribe.

The tenth left-wing scene on the list, in contrast to the others, is one that (intentionally) paints liberals in a bad way. It features Deputy Chief-of-Staff Josh Lyman and his assistant Donna Moss.

Donna, played by Janel Moloney, as she and Josh walk down a hallway: "We have a $32 billion budget surplus for the first time in three decades. The Republicans in Congress want to use this money for tax relief, right?"

Josh: "Yes"

Donna: "Essentially what they're saying is we want to give back the money. Why don't we want to give back the money?"

Josh: "Because we're Democrats."

Donna: "But it's not the government's money."

Josh: "Sure it is. It's right there in our bank accounts."

Donna: "That's only because we collected more money than we ended up needing."

Josh: "Isn't it great?"

Donna: "I want my money back."

Josh: "Sorry."

Later, they pick up the argument:

Donna: "What's wrong with me getting my money back?"

Josh: "You won't spend it right."

Donna: "What do you mean?"

Josh: "Let's say your cut of the surplus is $700. I want to take your money, combine it with everybody else's money, and use it to pay down the debt and further endow Social Security. What do you want to do with it?"

Donna: "Buy a DVD player."

Josh: "See."

Donna: "But my $700 is helping employ the people who manufacture and sell DVD players, not to mention the people who manufacture and sell DVDs. It's the natural evolution of the market economy."

Josh: "The problem is the DVD player you buy might be manufactured in Japan."

Donna: "I'll buy an American one."

Josh: "We don't trust you."

Donna: "Why not?"

Josh: "We're Democrats."

Donna, exasperated: "I want my money back."

Josh, snickering: "You shouldn't have voted for us."

The Republicans should play that video clip at the 2008 convention.

Los Angeles' War On Real Estate Capitalism

Walter Moore has the story at The American Daily. Read the whole wretched thing.

Another reason to move to Texas.

What's In A Name, Part Deux

Noticed at The Corner that John Podhoretz is going by the nickname JPod. Kathryn Jean Lopez has already been going by KLo for quite some time. Going by that formula, John Derbyshire should be JDer. Heh, you could put a "Darth" in front of that....

No, I'm not going by AHen. I don't work for NRO.

What's In A Name?

John Podhoretz has a question:

I just want to know who thought it was a good put a guy named Dusty Foggo in a power position at the CIA. The manager of a singles bar, yes. A waterbed store owner, yes. A porn director, yes. CIA executive director — no.

When I see his name I think of dust and fog. Stuff that obscures one's view when floating around in the air. Seems like a perfectly good name for a CIA director to me.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Palestinian Anti-Semitic Comic Books

You can't make this stuff up.


John J. Miller has a suggestion for the President.

Update: Sure, Jack Bauer is a fictional character. But there is an ideal connected with that character - standing firm against crime with no ounce of appeasement - and it woudl be nice for President Bush to give us a sign that he will apply that ideal with regard to immigration policy.

Wallace And Gromit Film, Or Real Life?

A Stilton-scented perfume is in the works. Alert Nick Park.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Ahmadinejad Letter

The full text, provided by Le Monde (PDF file).

Condoleezza Rice dismisses the letter.

The New York Sun's interpretation: a declaration of war.

Amir Taheri's analysis.

James Lileks' translation.

Bill Clinton Attracts Protest In Scotland

Another Clinton scandal just won't die:

Scots infected with HIV protested Bill Clinton's appearance in Glasgow yesterday, highlighting the former president's connection to a scandal in which tainted blood from high-risk Arkansas prisoners was used to treat thousands of people in Europe who later came down with AIDS and hepatitis.

Clinton was in Scotland to address a business conference but was met with protesters outside the event who say he is culpable for their illnesses.

In the early 1980s, while Clinton was serving as governor of Arkansas, his administration awarded a contract to Health Management Associates to provide medical care to the state's prisoners. The president of the company was a long-time friend and political ally of Clinton and was later appointed by him to the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission. Later, he was among the senior members of Clinton's 1990 gubernatorial re-election team.

As part of the deal HMA struck with Arkansas, in addition to treating the prisoners, the company collected their blood and sold it. Because of the exploding AIDS crisis, U.S. regulations didn't permit the sale of prisoners' blood within the country. But HMA found a willing buyer in Montreal, which brokered a deal with Connaught, a Toronto blood-fractionator, which didn't know the source of the supplies. The blood plasma was distributed throughout Canada by the Red Cross. Sales continued until 1983, when HMA revealed that some of the plasma might be contaminated with the AIDS virus and hepatitis. The blood was also peddled overseas.

Thousands of unwitting hemophiliacs who received transfusions of a product called "Factor 8" made from this blood died as a result.

One protester speaks out:

"I needed Factor 8 because I was in pain, but in being given that treatment I was given a death sentence," a protester in Glasgow told BBC.

As a result of the tainted blood product, the man, who did not want to be named, was infected with both HIV and hepatitis C at age 14.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

For Sci-Fi Fans

The Grand List of Overused Science Fiction Clichés

(via Geekpress)

The Robot Menace Grows

First fembots, now they're learning to fly.

Will Arnold protect us?

Update: Now it's robot insects.

Update: And robotic tentacles, too.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Who Is The Perfect Democratic Candidate?

Ann Coulter says Al Gore. Really. She's not kidding:

"He is the perfect Democratic candidate," Coulter said. "The environmental crazies are really leading the pack in the Democratic Party. It used to be the abortion ladies, but the enviros are about to heave them off the boat because they haven't helped them win elections."

Coulter feels heartened by Gore's constant chatter about "global warming," which she predicted in an earlier book, would be the defining issue for Democrats in the upcoming election.

She's nuts. Gore was relevant when he was an incumbent veep. But now? He's nothing. He makes an occasional speech, but he's not a prominent political force. Besides, the Dems have never run a candidate who lost a previous national presidential election. At least not in my lifetime.

If These Had Passed, The Economy Would Be Looking Even Brighter

Congressional medical malpractice reform fails once again.

Update: We'll always have Texas.

Bad News For Democrats

The economic forecast is looking up:

The U.S. economy will continue to grow in the second half of 2006, the nation's purchasing and supply management executives concluded in a semi-annual economic survey released on Tuesday.

Manufacturing revenue is expected to grow 6.6 percent in 2006, while non-manufacturing revenue is expected to be up 6.0 percent during that period, the Institute for Supply Management said.

The ISM survey released in December 2005 had anticipated manufacturing revenue to be up 5.4 percent for 2006 and non-manufacturing revenue to be up 6.6 percent for 2006.

Monday, May 08, 2006


George Stephanopoulos referred to Nancy Pelosi as "Speaker" - twice.

Tax Cuts = Tax Revenue Hikes

Kim DuToit has the evidence.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Song Remains The Same

The World Council of Churches has a long history of sucking up to Communist regimes. Now it sucks up to Islamic terror. Mark D. Tooley has the details at FrontPage Magazine.

Guess Who's The Seventh Wealthiest Head Of State?

Fidel Castro, worth $900 million:

Castro reportedly makes his fortune by heading a number of state-run companies, but also through alleged kickbacks from missiles, cigars and rum that run through the Communist island nation.

Click the link to see some other names on the list. One that stands out is Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea, worth $600 million. Wikipedia says of him:

Most domestic and international observers consider his regime to be one of the most corrupt, ethnocentric, oppressive and anti-democratic states in the world.

It's good to be king.

Update: Volokh Conspiracy has the story, too. The original story in Forbes is here (registration required).

Friday, May 05, 2006

If You Get Sick, Come To Texas

The doctor population is increasing due to tort reform.

Alert Austin Powers

The fembot has been invented.

Poll Reveals The Obvious

President Bush spends money like a drunken teenager on Spring Break in Cancun with the parents' credit cards, signs the Mccain-Feingold Anti-Political-Speech Bill, and spits in the face of immigration law enforcement, and golly gee - he's polling poorly with conservatives.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Diet Cola Wars

Andrew Sullivan reports a little blogosphere battle over the merits of Coke Zero and Diet Coke. The whole issue can be summarized in four words: all diet colas suck. All of them. Including Sully's cola of choice, Tab. Aspartame is vile stuff, and everything that's sweetened with sucralose (Diet Coke and Diet Rite among them) has way too much of the stuff. Diet Coke tastes more like Pepsi than Coke - that's just plain wrong. If the sucralose content were reduced by 30% or so it might be worth drinking.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

More About The Price Of Oil

Instapundit has a few worthwhile links, inlcuding this Max Boot column that reveals who ultimately profits from rising oil prices:

Of the top 14 oil exporters, only one is a well-established liberal democracy — Norway. Two others have recently made a transition to democracy — Mexico and Nigeria. Iraq is trying to follow in their footsteps. That's it. Every other major oil exporter is a dictatorship — and the run-up in oil prices has been a tremendous boon to them.

My associate at the Council on Foreign Relations, Ian Cornwall, calculates that if oil averages $71 a barrel this year, 10 autocracies stand to make about $500 billion more than in 2003, when oil was at $27. This windfall helps to squelch liberal forces and entrench noxious dictators in such oil producers as Russia (which stands to make $115 billion more this year than in 2003) and Venezuela ($36 billion). Vladimir Putin and Hugo Chavez can buy off their publics with generous subsidies and ignore Western pressure while sabotaging democratic developments from Central America to Central Asia.

The "dictatorship dividend" also subsidizes Sudan's ethnic cleansing (it stands to earn $4.7 billion more this year than in 2003), Iran's development of nuclear weapons ($45 billion) and Saudi Arabia's proselytization for Wahhabi fundamentalism ($149 billion). Even in such close American allies as Kuwait ($35 billion) and the United Arab Emirates ($36 billion), odds are that some of the extra lucre will find its way into the pockets of terrorists.

We don't need higher energy taxes. We need more liberty in a whole bunch of countries. Including that corrupt banana republic on our southern border.

Spam Advisory

Today I received this in my email:

Hello friend !
You have just received a postcard from someone who cares about you!

This is a part of the message:
"Hy there! It has been a long time since I haven't heared about you!
I've just found out about this service from Claire, a friend of mine who also told me that..."
If you'd like to see the rest of the message Click HERE to receive your animated postcard!

Daniela McGhie at Ecademy Blogs reports that this is is a scam:

Well there is now a spammer hacker out there sending them out as a "friend" and most people will click on the link not realising that it is actually an exe file wich will download malicious software onto your computer or a really vile virus.

Fuzzy Math

Okay, can anyone tell me what's wrong with's Mom Salary Wizard?

A full-time stay-at-home mother would earn $134,121 a year if paid for all her work, an amount similar to a top U.S. ad executive, a marketing director or a judge, according to a study released on Wednesday.

A mother who works outside the home would earn an extra $85,876 annually on top of her actual wages for the work she does at home, according to the study by Waltham, Massachusetts-based compensation experts

To reach the projected pay figures, the survey calculated the earning power of the 10 jobs respondents said most closely comprise a mother's role -- housekeeper, day-care teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, chief executive and psychologist.

Two errors stand out:

  • Cook, laundry machine operator, janitor, and facilities manager are counted as separate jobs. These are all functions of the housekeeper position.
  • Some moms are married, and some are not. One who shares the executive spot with someone else would make less than a sole executive.

The "Mom paycheck" salary wizard eventually leads to a page which lists the typical hours per week in which each of the job functions are performed. This page reveals a third problem with methodology. The hours worked in the Computer Operator I position is 7.2 hours for a working mom and 9.1 hours for a stay-at-home mom. How much of this computer time is work? Most computer use at home is recreational. I have a hard time believing that moms - or most people - do actual work functions on a home computer for over an hour a day.

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