Saturday, November 01, 2003


Tyler Cowen points to a tremendous resource, NationMaster. You'll find graphs, stats, maps, flags and all sorts of other information from around the globe.

For instance, consider the map of Kiribati to the left. You may not need it for the next 100 years, but it's an example of what's available.

As for Mr. Cowen, find him at the Marginal Revolution or the Volokh Conspiracy.

Couldn't make it

Although I did think about it and it would have been a pretty drive down along the Appalachians, I wasn't quite crazy enough to drive 600 miles to Dahlonega, GA to see the Acidman.

But I checked out his site, which is in the capable hands of guestbloggers. Velociman gives us a taste of old-time Southern justice (you thought it was just the blacks that got abused?). And Shell knows just what to say to the next jackass who says "let's register guns - we register cars, don't we?"

Meanwhile down at the world's largest outdoor cocktail party the Gators are winning. What's up with that?

Federal ban on Internet taxes ends today

Bloomberg's enemies list?

From Bob Novak here.

Friday, October 31, 2003

But this is scary

Endangered species? That's Darwin for you. But then I read about this.

A Vermont Boy's Halloween


The last responsible Democrat?

Miller's decision was prompted in part by his disgust with the Democratic presidential field. "It makes me ashamed. It's a disgrace for anyone to talk about - talk like that in a time of war," he told Fox News' Sean Hannity. "Using this war for political advantage can only give hope to our enemies. And when you do that, that's going to cost lives."
From Jonah Goldberg's column.

What will it take to wake the Dems up? Some Muslims blowing up a car in front of their headquarters?

No. IMO they'll just blame the Republicans.

Global warming is for real...

...on Pluto.

Eric Raymond is back

...right here. That's because he's finished with his book.

Despotic govt

Before I got to DC I'd heard various things about local govt. What annoyed me most was the automated speedtraps and cameras at intersections. It's not as if they don't have a right to enforce the law, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Then I got a couple of parking tickets. Whoops, I guess that sign said 2 hour parking until 8 PM, not AM. Jerks - that's nothing but a shakedown. It doesn't hurt the residents a bit. I wonder if the owners of the parking garages a couple of blocks away watch the area and call the parking Gestapo down on innocents like me?

Today Roger Simon posts about North Korea, and a commenter mentions the Chosun Journal. There you can read about literally millions of people who live for the day when the worst that happens to them is a parking ticket.

Did I tell you the meter maid was from North Korea? No?

Actually I haven't met that person, but it sounded like a good way to wind up this post.

For Halloween

Celebrate at Blogcritics. I'd keep an eye on the Possum too.

I realize I spend too much time at this or other PCs, but I still remember what "celebrate" means. That was a figure of speech, OK?...

Thursday, October 30, 2003

No bull

From VodkaPundit.

Luskin v. "Atrios"

Glenn Reynolds hears that Donald Luskin is threatening to sue Atrios. If true, he pronounces it "just embarrassing".

Not being a law professor I'm sure there are things I don't appreciate here. Being a blogger I'd like to see the lawyers kept far away. So what's unique about this situation?

IMO it's that Atrios is free to hide behind his pseudonym to traffic in stories alleging that Donald Luskin is a stalker. (Spare me the "alternate meanings of stalker" rap - would it have been juicy enough to post if Atrios had meant anything but the worst sense of the word?)

The problem here as I see it is Atrios' pseudonym. He can spew insults forever without ruining his personal reputation. If he wears out his welcome he can come up with a new handle and get back into the game - too bad Joe McCarthy didn't think of that. (Wouldn't it be funny if he decided to use Armed Liberal's real name instead? After all, we already have a lefty blogging as "Roger Ailes".)

Luskin, OTOH, will show up in Google queries alongside "stalker" for a long time. If you want to question the way Luskin has handled this, be my guest - this post is about what should be done about people hiding behind pseudonyms while defaming others' reputations.

So what's a fitting punishment for Atrios? Out him. If he wants the freedom to behave as he does, let his personal reputation be accountable. If he's been publishing things he's ashamed to be associated with, too bad.

Either that, or let him do what Luskin requested. Or let Blogger take down his site.

In conclusion, if someone wants to blog under a pseudonym, fine - there are defensible reasons. But if you want to attack others' reputations, then you should be prepared to be outed, to prevent abuse of the pseudonym privilege. This isn't about free speech, it's about behaving like a decent human being.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Iraq strategy

John Cole points to an interesting NYTimes article on tribalism in Iraq and how the US might take advantage of it.

So they like WMD, eh?

Glenn Reynolds links to Strategy Page info that tells us that Al-Qaeda is setting up bases in the Sahara.

Interesting. I'm no expert on the Sahara, but I know it's vast and there's little to harm there. Just the place to drop a bunch of nuclear weapons...

Or maybe a biological weapon. How about the Sin Nombre virus?

Yeah, yeah, this is getting out of hand. But I'm having a hard time having any compassion for people who put bombs in ambulances so they can get closer to an International Red Cross facility. And there sure can't be much collateral damage.

The War for Muslim Outreach

or: What the Lt. General William Boykin furor is *really* about. By Diana West.


From Meryl Yourish:
So some people have been saying that I see anti-Semitism or an anti-Israel bias in every shadow. I exaggerate, they say. Calm down, they tell me. It's nowhere near as bad as you think.
Of course Meryl and I know that's not true - sometimes it's sexism instead. But hey, she caught the bastards *this* time...
These schmucks not only can't get the date right, but they completely change the tenor of the incident by stating that the it took place months before the Six-Day War. The Six-Day War began on June 5, 1967, and ended on June 10. Does UPI even use copy editors? Do they have fact-checkers? Did the idiot that passed this piece not notice that the lead says it occurred on June 8?
If you read blogs very long you're used to seeing documented examples of media incompetence such as what she's spotted here. She's a bit shrill so far, but she's not done yet...
Did David Duke ghostwrite this piece for UPI, or what?
I rest my case.

It's not as if anti-Semitism doesn't exist. But there are far better examples than that, if it's an example at all. Let's not make a real, significant problem look as if it lies in the eyes of some, uh, "hypersensitive people".

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Is that site good or evil?

Find out by using this. It determined that NWA was 71% good, so it couldn't be more than 29% off.

Stolen from Jonah Goldberg and The Corner.


The item below reminds me of a story I once read that I don't have time to find a link for right now. Anyway, some paparazzo got a picture of Ted Kennedy atop some bimbo du jour on a boat somewhere. Former Alabama Senator Howell Heflin then supposedly asked Kennedy if that meant he had changed his position on offshore drilling.

Pot-ential selling point

New research has shown that millions of years ago rich crops of marijuana grew wild in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. For millenia they grew and evolved, causing their THC deposits to grow ever more concentrated in the muck below. Over the years the waste slowly turned to oil. And nowadays it turns out that burning the oil from ANWR releases the THC in the smoke, and potheads are blissing out snorting car exhaust.

Yes, that's why indigenous people don't want us drilling up there. They don't want us running off with their stash. Why else do you suppose those Eskimos hung around up there all those years?

To my knowledge none of the above is true. But it might make a good news release before the next serious attempt to drill in the ANWR. Plant the story with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, let them jawbone about it, and then all the Democrats will have to support drilling in ANWR just to oppose them.

Pot luck

You do check out Forbes online regularly, right? Today there's a big article on the marijuana business, in which we learn that pot is Canada's most valuable agricultural product.

They must be caught up in the spirit of Halloween. Aren't you dying to know the 10 top-earning dead celebrities? Or the best cemeteries?

They even have a short review of a book I've been meaning to blog about called Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. It's a lot better than it probably sounds.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Household hazards

I've looked at most of these worst-case scenario survival books and to my knowledge none of them deal with certain humble household hazards. So as a public service I'll submit the following. Perhaps I should forward them to the authors of the aforementioned books for future inclusion.

I have yet to meet a woman who 1) I've heard complain about people leaving the toilet seat up AND 2) who had any chance of getting her own behind stuck or wet as a result. But I do know from experience that one can become stuck in the throne. And if this happens, you are fairly helpless because usually you have no leverage and there's nothing to grab. And although you'd probably prefer to deal with the situation yourself, if you want help you're probably not even able to unlock the door to let them in.

If said tragedy should ever occur and I'm not there to rescue you personally, kindly note that there could be a vacuum between you and the commode that will make it much harder to escape (that's why the seat is elevated on those little legs from the rim - it prevents a seal). Break the vacuum by any means necessary - with any luck you'll even make a cool sound. Without perfect timing, flushing the commode will only make things worse because it creates a vacuum as it does its business.

If you should ever find yourself fighting a fire in a commode as I have, said fire is probably because of petroleum distillates floating on top of the water. Pouring water onto the flames will not help. It might cause the throne to flush spontaneously, which under some circumstances might expose the flames to combustible sewer gases. Trust me, you don't want this.

Do not attempt to blow out the flames either. This can result in an intensification of the fire. And there will be severe thermal stresses between the water-cooled part below and the heated part above that can crack the glazing or worse.

The right thing to do is to take a big towel, soak it down with water (although a dry one might work), and smother the commode with it. A few moments later the fire will be out.

The picture to the left may amuse you or even bring back memories. But this really is a household hazard - if you think escaping a toilet is awkward when you're caught butt-first, imagine being a toddler going in headfirst. Small children actually die like this every year, and not just in commodes - a bucket will work.

Yes, I need an editor.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Healing Iraq a newish blog about post-Saddam Iraq. Check it out here.

One black, white, and read all over

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for pointing us to this portrait of the NY Times Editorial Board. She also noted that all but one are white.

And guess which one isn't. Yep, the one for Education, Race and Culture. That's a good place for a token, just as in my experience HR departments are where the minorities are shuttled to help the numbers.

The Foreign Affairs guy is white. Hmm, aren't most of the people of the world "of color". Maybe this would be a good job for Condi Rice 5 years from now.

Ah, a white guy for Environmental and National Affairs. Race is a big issue, isn't it? And I hear there's such a thing as environmental racism. It seems like a nonwhite ought to be here too.

Law, Civil Rights and National Affairs? We'll give them half a point for a woman, but how can some honky understand Civil Rights? Doesn't Al Sharpton have something to say about this?

Alright, enough. Can we ask that the NY Times refrain from lecturing us on race issues and affirmative action until they have a few more minorities on their board?

Blowing smoke about civil liberties

I'm all for civil liberties, but then I read crap like this: "Sounds like Big Brother - '1984.' It's horrible," said Bernard Karmine, an attorney. "It's not necessary to give up your civil liberties to cut down on smog."

The threat in question is a technology for detecting pollution from cars between inspections. If a car that drives past is out of spec, the license is photographed and sent to the perp.

So assuming that we're serious about air pollution, what's wrong with this? Would it be OK if there were cops using it and writing the tickets instead? Or is there something wrong with identifying the individuals who are polluting out of proportion to their fuel consumption?

The fact is that some cars pollute far more than others, and identifying and correcting those will result in more improvements per dollar spent on abatement. And if there's any justice at all, it will catch a bunch of people who like to fuss about pollution from power plants and other corporate sources. (Whether it does or not, there will be plenty of hollering. Because a lot of those cars caught will be old cars. And who owns the old cars? Seniors and the less affluent. Uh oh, disparate impact - it has to be discrimination!)

I predict that this will go nowhere, because it won't catch the right people.

What the world needs now...

Dawn Olsen spotted this item about a bunch of 13 year old British schoolboys taking Viagra at school. The school has a no-drugs policy so the kids will be disciplined.

The Sun newspaper quoted a source at the school as saying: "By the time the afternoon lessons began, there was no hiding what they had done."

Paramedics took the six squirming boys to the nearby Royal Berkshire Hospital, where they were monitored until the effects wore off.

Maybe I'm sadistic, but I would have handcuffed them and had them sit through a geometry lesson. For the rest of their days whenever they got horny they'd think of pentagons or something.