Saturday, November 09, 2002

Little pitchers

Long before Bill Cosby, Art Linkletter had a TV show called "House Party". Early on he learned he could get plenty of great material from kids. Some of the stuff the kids would say would send parents over the edge.

Likewise, long before Calvin and Hobbes there was Dennis the Menace (follow the link - I'll bet you didn't know Gina's last name, or that his dad was an engineer). I haven't seen it lately and I know that creator Hank Ketcham is dead, so I'm not sure if it's still around or not. Anyway, Dennis could mortify his parents at will, and he gave me lots of ideas to suggest to younger relatives.

But kids don't need any help from me. For instance, a while back I was on the phone with a woman I know. She's been having some health problems, including occasional bouts of asthma which began after some surgery about a year ago. She happened to mention that the last three bouts had begun during sex.

Unfortunately her preteen daughter was listening, and I could hear her in the background: "You had sex three times this year?". She said it as if her mother were a sex maniac. I'm sure this will all be the talk of her school.

Alright, who has some more stories like this?

Roe vs. World

In none of the races where Fox News conducted exit polling did a candidate benefit from their support of abortion. The result is two more solid pro-lfe votes in the Senate: all five retiring pro-life Senators were replaced by pro-lifers, three pro-life challengers beat pro-choice Senators, and Hutchinson was the only pro-life candidate to lose to a pro-choicer. Advantage: inalienable rights.

Avenge Woody Jenkins

Suzanne Terrell is running against incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, and there will be a runoff in December. She can use contributions - by the time you see this, you might be able to donate online here.

All contributors to candidates for federal office must confirm that the following statements are true and accurate.

* I am a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident alien.

* This contribution is not made from the general treasury of a corporation, labor organization, or a national bank.

* This contribution is not made from the treasury of an entity or a person who is a federal contractor.

* The funds I am donating are not being provided to me by another person or entity for the purpose of making this contribution.

* I am at least 18 years old or the funds I am donating are my personal funds and I am donating these funds knowingly and voluntarily.

* Federal statute does not allow anyone or any entity to collect personally identifiable information from minors under the age of 13 via the Internet.

* I am at least 13 years of age.

Suzanne Haik Terrell for U.S. Senate Campaign
PO Box 44298
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
(225) 218-8683

I have nothing to do with her campaign, and can't vote for her legally anyway. I'd just like to see some judges confirmed pending the day that the Democrats in the Senate start acting like adults again.

Bondage on a budget

Don't leave me alone on the Web or there's no telling what I'll find. Consider "Bondage on a Budget". That's a book that's available from Good Vibrations, a woman-owned cooperative that sells all manner of sex-related products. (Amazon carries the book too - I'd give you a link, but I don't want it and its brethren showing up on my recommendations for the rest of my life). Alright, let's look around a little more.

Here's another intriguing title: "Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation". Does this mean that animals have issues with sex too? We've certainly heard plenty about bonobos, and some claim that there is much homosexuality in the animal kingdom. (IMO about all the critters could learn from dogs - what with that knot thing, nobody's finished until Mama's finished.)

Ah yes, there are videos too, thoughtfully characterized as "drama", "all sex no plot", "Lesbian, bisexual, Gay male, Transgender", "Sex Education", and "Specialty" (?!).

Other than in a tasteless joke involving prominent Republican couples, I was always under the impression that the mechanics of sex were pretty much the same from race to race. But GV offers "Better Sex for Black Couples", volumes 1 and 2, so maybe there's something to those stories, eh? And there are Spanish-language movies too.

Enough media, now let's see some practical products. They don't let us down. For feminists, there's the "Jill Off" kit. Collectors might prefer the deluxe "Hello Kitty" massager. For those of you who demand more discretion, there's the "I Rub My Duckie" rubber duck - squeeze it and it starts vibrating. For a political statement you can buy the "Alabama Slammer", named in response to the recent overturn of an Alabama law against sex toys.

Products are rated thoughtfully with various icons. Some are quite intuitive - see if you can guess what * means.

History buffs can enjoy it too - there is an Antique Vibrator Museum. There you learn interesting medical facts, such as how doctors once treated "female disorders". The cure was to induce "hysterical paroxysm", aka orgasms. Allegedly doctors did this manually - a time-consuming process that probably led to carpal-tunnel syndrome. In response, an American doctor developed and patented the original steam-powered (!) massager in 1869. Relax guys - they still don't have one that will take out the garbage.

If some of the above offends you, maybe you should read this instead.

Thursday, November 07, 2002


In his post I cited below, Eric Raymond invoked "know-nothings" with reference to the Republicans. Hmm. Well, the Dems are fond of referring to Republicans as "reactionaries", and that's what the Know-Nothings were.

Let's take a look at the Know-Nothings:
The Know-Nothing party was an antiforeign, anti-Roman Catholic political organization that flourished in the United States between 1852 and 1856. Nativism had been growing since the mid-1840s in response to massive immigration, especially from Ireland and Germany. Many of these immigrants had become part of urban DEMOCRATIC political machines, much to the resentment of non-Democratic old-stock Americans.
In other words, they were a reaction to the political exploitation of minorities.

Then as now, political bosses knew they needed votes, and they knew how to get them. They'd extort money from criminals and businesses and use it to do favors for votes. Immigrants were a bargain compared to other groups - they were needy, and a few cheap favors could buy their votes forever. (Organized crime figures were known for doing exactly the same thing. For one, Al Capone operated soup kitchens during the Depression as part of a PR offensive to keep the heat off).

There have been some big Republican political machines, but most of them, and the most notorious of them, have always been with Democrats (Richard Daley's Chicago, Tom Pendergast's Chicago, and the New York City of Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall were three prominent examples). They all had their ways of corrupting voters, especially immigrants.

And IMO, rightly understood, that's exactly what govt social programs are. Despite the claims of goo-goos and other useful idiots, they're nothing but the traditional Democrat political machine's voter corruption process gone national. Only this time they're buying their votes with your money.

Maybe they knew something after all.

So close, but...

Eric Raymond writes an interesting post here.

But the theophobe in him will not be denied - we have to suffer this:
[Republicans have] have their own loony fringe (abortion-clinic bombers, neo-fascists like Pat Buchanan, and the Christian Coalition) to cope with
Yup, those Republicans sure couldn't win an election without the abortion clinic bomber vote, now could they? Surely he knows Pat Buchanan has bolted the Republican Party, and IMO the door was locked behind him. And the Christian Coalition - horror of horrors!

In my experience Christians don't have a tremendous appetite for politics - they enter only when extremely provoked. And about anywhere you look you can see gratuitous provocations for Christians and other believers. So it's no surprise that some are politically active. Anyone who finds that scary can simply quit provoking them. That they don't suggests that the provocateurs either are stupid, or that they know very well that nothing is going to happen.

Christians certainly don't agree with each other on everything. No single group has enough clout to impose its own will, and the others will oppose any attempt to do so. So they'll always cancel each other out on all but the broadest issues, and IMO they really don't ask for much.

In short, don't fall for the Democrat propaganda - you'll never see a theocracy in the US. It wouldn't even have happened in Afghanistan without massive outside interference, and that's with a different religion that inherently fails to separate church and state.

Then there's this:
Right-wing statism is not an improvement on left-wing statism; a smug and dominant GOP could easily become captive to theocrats and know-nothings, a very bad thing for our nation and the world
It appears that Mr. Raymond believes that the theocrats are already in the Republican Party. And IMO it's pretty clear that the Republicans can't impose "right-wing statism" or "theocracy" without getting more votes than they're getting now. Alright so far?

Well, the only way for the Republicans to get those extra votes they need to impose their will is to absorb a lot of people who are not theocrats or right-wing statists. In fact, expanding the Republican "big tent" can only dilute the influence of the theocrats (such few as might exist). So if you want to reduce the influence of theocrats, you might well have more influence working with the Republicans than working against them.

It's a shame these blemishes had to occur in an otherwise excellent post.

Time to clean up voter registrations

OK, it's about a year before the next major election in most places now. So there's plenty of time to clean up voter registration.

What would be wrong with simply destroying whatever registrations there are now and requiring picture ID for all future voter registrations?

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

In case there was any doubt...

"It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag." ~Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, Sergeant, USMC
By way of Neal Boortz.

Did we throw a tantrum again?

Was it the angry white males? Did the Republicans intimidate black voters?

The WaPo says
"Democratic National Committee Chairman Terence McAuliffe told the Associated Press that Bush was the critical factor in the Democratic losses. "I pin a lot of it on that this is a president who has had very high approval ratings," he said. "He's had the longest sustained approval ratings of any president in modern history."
Hmm. What do "approval ratings" measure, TM? I'll bet you're trying to figure out how he did it without bribing bums with cigarettes, enlisting the dead, and suing to have them reversed, huh?

The WaPo continues:
"Republicans turned history on its head last night, thanks to an aggressive White House strategy to put the president into the most competitive House and Senate races in the final weeks of the campaign, superior financial resources in the battleground contests and, apparently to a revamped GOP voter turnout operation."
I guess the WaPo thinks it's important to understand that none of this has anything to do with anyone's positions on issues.

Of course it's not over. The Dems are sure to turn to the courts to evade the will of the voters, just as they do when they govern.

Unless they've finally learned something.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Many happy returns

Well just look what happens when George W. Bush campaigns in the last weekend before Election Day. I guess this means Lincoln Chafee will be a Republican for a couple more years.

Keep a cell ready for Rod Blagojevich, newly elected governor of IL. He's a Democrat, and the previous two Democrats elected governor of IL wound up in prison.

Expose yourself to Erin O'Connor

Sorry pal, I can't help you with your Google query for "Erin O'Connor nude". Although she's a blogger, apparently she's not an exhibitionist - her old blog was named "Cant Watch".

The woman is a miracle. Somehow she has emerged from the English Lit. departments at Berkeley and the University of Michigan without succumbing to political correctness, and currently she's an associate professor at Penn. To top it off, she maintains a blog with Maurice Black called "Critical Mass".

I'm not sure where the name comes from, but it sure isn't about nuclear technology. Critical Mass is a succession of observations about life in academia, with its courses in things like "Rich White Males". Good grief.

If nothing else, keep checking in with her. Maybe someday she'll post some pictures...

Street money

If you watch TV talking heads shows much you've probably seen Larry Sabato. He's a professor at the University of Virginia and he studies American politics. In 1996 he and Glenn R. Simpson wrote a book called "Dirty Little Secrets-The Persistence of Corruption in American Politics". It's out of print now. What a shame, because I don't know of another popular market book that assembles so much info about corruption in elections and politics in the US.

The book is about 350 pages, with another 70 of reference matter. I can't do it justice in one quick and dirty blog item, but the part that I found the most interesting was about street money.

Sabato notes that "It is no exaggeration to say that the Democrats would almost never win a presidential election, and only occasionally win major elections in many states, without minority Americans." The Dems know it, and spend a fortune to get-out-the-vote (GOTV). Allegedly Douglas Wilder spent $1,000,000 in 1989 to get the vote out in black communities in his successful campaign for governor of Virginia.

Hustlers know the game though, and demand their tribute. Allegedly black ministers and other activists are notorious for insisting on "gifts" or "honoraria" of around $3000-$5000, in return for membership lists, a few phone calls and other non-burdensome services.

The worst excesses supposedly happen in Democratic primaries. As one quote puts it, "Many times people go to both sides and say, 'This campaign has given us money to have donuts for the volunteers and we're going to work hard for them. Now if you give us money for donuts, our people will be too busy eating donuts to go out and work."

Republicans are no angels, and Dems say they catch Republicans paying to suppress minority voting. But as it happens, the most celebrated case was not true. After Christine Todd Whitman's successful campaign in NJ in 1993, consultant Ed Rollins bragged about paying off ministers to suppress the vote. Later investigations concluded that Rollins made this up.

Other Republican stunts include making bids for the black activists, who turn around and shake the Dems down for more yet - this increases the costs to the Dems. Or in SC, state vehicles were tied up with inspections on Election Day so they wouldn't be available for GOTV.

Sabato notes that much of the money supposedly does go to people canvassing voters and driving people to the polls, which is a significant cost (hundreds of "flushers" and "haulers" at $20-$50, plus supervision for every couple dozen or so of those at ~$100 each). The only case of outright vote-buying he cites in the street money chapter dates back to 1888 with Benjamin Harrison, when the going price for "independent" vote was as much as $20 (in 1888 - imagine how much that would be worth today).

There's much more in the book, if you can find it. I enjoyed it, anyway.

UPDATE: Look at what's happening in Maryland.

Monday, November 04, 2002

Shock treatment

I'm OK with voting Republican, but I'd like to have an alternative that didn't make me hold my nose. As long as Clintons, Terry McAuliffe, James Carville, Paul Begala, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, John Sweeney and others unworthy of polite company continue to have any influence with the Dems, I won't even consider voting for them. So I look forward to the day that the Dems clean house.

And the only way I see that happening is for them to be routed at the polls. Democrats need to pop the party leaders upside the head but good, by staying home in droves. Or by voting, but not for Dems (so the bosses know you were there and still didn't vote for them).

Am I trying to con Dems? Well, I sure don't want them to win. But really, do they need a housecleaning or not? And if so, how else are you going to make it happen?

Election grab bag

Dean Esmay is right on here. Link stolen from Susanna, who apparently got it from The Dodd.

I am 100% for a test of voter competence. If it's discriminatory, that's OK with me.

Or at least make the stupid ones use a second-class ballot. Then in case of close votes, you throw out the ones from the stupid. (Arguably we already have that system, which accounts for Al Gore's loss in FL - just how !@#$ incompetent do you have to be to foul up punching holes in a ballot, anyway?).

What would be more fun would be to give legislators pop quizzes on legislation they voted for. I understand that when Clinton and the Dems tried to inflict socialized medicine on us, they were passing around a bill that was still marked up with yellow Post-it notes. Sorry folks, but if you haven't even had time to type up the changes, print and distribute the bill, there hasn't been enough time to evaluate it.

History lesson...

Given the >>>>>>>>>forwarded this deep email I got this from, I don't know how much I should trust this, but I like it anyway:
In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannon fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. But how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon.

There was only one problem -- how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding/rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a "Monkey" with 16 round indentations. But if this plate was made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make "Brass Monkeys."

Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannon balls would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey!" (And all this time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn't you?)
Enquiring minds want to know...

Alright, first I posted the above, then I decided to look this up. You know, those Snopes folks are no fun at all. They say
Somebody's fanciful imagination is at work cooking up spurious etymologies again. In short, this origin for the phrase "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey" is nonsense because:
They seem awfully sure of this - why?

For one, they say they didn't find such usage in the Oxford English Dictionary. Hmm. Something allegedly dating back ~150 years ought to have made it there by now, but I wonder what Snopes would say to a claim that the OED was complete.

They offer this:
When references to "brass monkeys" started appearing in print in the mid-19th century, they did not always mention balls or cold temperatures. It was sometimes cold enough to freeze the ears, tail, nose, or whiskers off a brass monkey. Likewise, it was sometimes hot enough to "scald the throat" or "singe the hair" of a brass monkey. These usages are inconsistent with the putative origins offered here.
Not really. Once brass monkeys became the standard for durability it wouldn't surprise me to see people sanitize the expressions or extend the concept in various ways.

Next we get this:
Warships didn't store cannonballs (or "round shot") on deck around the clock, day after day, on the slight chance that they might go into battle. Space was a precious commodity on sailing ships, and decks were kept as clear as possible in order to allow room for hundreds of men to perform all the tasks necessary for ordinary ship's functions. (Stacking round shot on deck would also create the danger of their breaking free and rolling around loose on deck whenever the ship encountered rough seas.) Cannonballs were stored elsewhere and only brought out when the decks had been cleared for action.
OK. But cannonballs had to be stored somewhere, and this storage had to keep them from rolling around. I don't know whether sailing ships fought much in rough weather or not, but they'd still need storage of cannonballs near the guns to achieve any sort of fire rate.

Similar logic applies to this:
Particularly diligent gunners (not "masters," who were in charge of navigation, sailing and pilotage, not ordnance) would have their crews chip away at imperfections on the surface of cannonballs to make them as smooth as possible, in the hopes that this would cause them fly truer. They did not leave shot on deck, exposed to the elements, where it would rust.

Actually it seems to me that they could make cannonball restraints out of wood. It would be a lot cheaper, lighter and easier to fabricate, if not as durable. I'll have to make it to Boston and tour Old Ironsides one of these days and see for myself.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

Is it too much to ask...

...that Greenpeace and similar antinuclear idiots refrain from bitching about radiation in the environment until they cease to be radioactive themselves?

I want candy

I'm a little late, but I can't wait until next year to tell you how trick-or-treating is better than sex.

Via Spoons.

Jury nullification?

Spoons writes an excellent item against jury nullification here.

As for me, I like it that the option is available. But IMO it ranks right up there with secession as a radical thing to do. If every jury can judge laws as well as defendants, we're getting to the point where we're missing the point of passing laws in the first place, i.e. this is our social policy and it's a closed issue. And if you think our courts are backed up now...

The American Spectator is back

Yes, the bane of the Clintons is under the original management again, in print and on the web.

I wonder what this means for The American Prowler?