Friday, January 17, 2003

For Beth

The Mite Image Gallery!

Stolen from 3bruces.

In Gaia we trust

From NRO here.

Some quotes:
"To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem." Lamont Cole (as quoted by Elizabeth Whelan in her book Toxic Terror)

"This is as good a way to get rid of them as any." Charles Wursta, Chief Scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, commenting on the likelihood of millions dying from a global ban on DDT (also quoted in Toxic Terror)

"I got the impression that instead of going out to shoot birds, I should go out and shoot the kids who shoot birds." Paul Watson, founder of Greenpeace (quoted in Access to Energy, vol. 10, no. 4, Dec. 1982)

"The right to have children should be a marketable commodity, bought and traded by individuals but absolutely limited by the state." Kenneth Boulding, originator of the "Spaceship Earth" concept (quoted by William Tucker in Progress and Privilege, 1982)

"The only real good technology is no technology at all. Technology is taxation without representation, imposed by our elitist species [man] upon the rest of the natural world." John Shuttleworth, Friends of the Earth manual writer

It's tax time...

...which means it's time to check out the TaxGuru Kerry Kerstetter.

Essential product

A dashboard cigarette lighter for your PC.

Your school dollars at work

From HD Miller here, about DC public schools.

Which might have inspired Deroy Murdock to write this.

No comment

Joanne Jacobs posts lots of good stuff, but I'm going to link to this.

Saudis pushing for coup against Saddam?

Right here.

Look to the Saudis to find a way to buy their way out of this.

What you weren't taught about the Civil War

Ravenwood and Tacitus on the Civil War.

And while we're at it, here's some information about Jim Crow outside the South.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Idiot proof cooking

This Christmas I got a Baby George rotisserie, and it's terrific.

About any idiot can use it. You'll have to find something that will fit the dimensions obviously - they sell a slightly bigger one too. It might be a PITA getting the long skewer all the way through a roast and well-centered enough to keep from harming the motor or touching the food to the heating elements. But other than that it's difficult to see how anyone could have trouble with it.

It's fairly easy to clean too. The front cover comes off easily and there's a removable drip pan. The reflector in the back gets some spatter and is obnoxious to get at, but stuff doesn't seem to burn on to it and it never touches the food.

Anything like this with moving parts is subject to "walking". That's especially true if you have an unevenly distributed load. No problem for Baby George - it has rubber suction feet, so it will stay where you put it.

Although you don't want to put anything right on top of it, I've had it right under some cabinets and I haven't had any problems. You won't want to hold your hand there, but those cheapie apartment cabinets I have won't be harmed.

This week the big local grocers had roast beef on sale, so I'll be cooking two roasts. I'll rub the outsides with whatever is handy, probably this Emeril stuff I have laying around. Then it gets skewered, put into the machine, and I set the timer as appropriate.

What's appropriate? The company suggests using a meat thermometer, but I usually go by the color on the outside. You can't really use a meat thermometer as recommended unless you're going to keep inserting it and removing it - there isn't enough room for any one I've ever seen. The instructions give guidelines for cook times for various types of food, but a reasonably experienced cook will know by looking. I've been known to use one of those electronic food thermometers too - here's an example, but you can get one for about half this price at Wal-Mart.

So for about 10 minutes' fuss ahead of time, a couple of hours of cooking, and maybe another 10 minutes at the end (and light cleanup), even a lousy chef can have excellent roasts. You vegetarians are on your own.

Le Klan?

Is it possible that the EU will yield more power to its member countries?

Say it isn't so! It's those confounded conservatives speaking in code again. We know what they really want - "state's rights".

And from there it's on to goons dressed in sheets, offensive flags, lynchings and ultimately to slavery.

And it wasn't even a Screed

James Lileks's take on that ridiculous John Le Carre item many others have shredded today.

The angle I hadn't seen before was the Marsh Arabs. Le Carre managed to work ecology into his catalog of inanities, and Lileks pointed out how Saddam drained a huge swampwetland between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers because rebels allegedly were hiding there. Here's more about them.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

If only he'd see the light

Ted Barlow has been cooking up a mess of lightbulb jokes.

Most asinine quote

Just to prove that Jesse Jackson doesn't care what he says, we have this about George Ryan's death row caper:
''He chose to fight the death machine,'' the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Sunday in a guest sermon at a New York City church. ''He chose to end legal lynching.''
"Legal lynching". Do words mean anything to this man? Just how much process would it take to satisfy Jackson? And if capital punishment is the "death machine", I wonder what the Reverend Jackson has to say about abortion?

Is there anyone that lefties won't embrace to advance their agendas?

Midwest murder

That George Ryan stunt necessarily reminded me of Illinois' illustrious past as a cradle of murderers. Some of what follows is pretty bad, and you might want to skip it.

Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were hyperprivileged boys who were bored. They wanted to perform the perfect crime, so they killed Loeb's cousin. They were caught. Loeb died in prison, and Leopold lived long enough to be released after 33 years in prison. He survived another 13 years, until 1971.

Adolph Louis Luetgert didn't like his old lady, so he killed her. But what should he do with the body? Easy, he had a sausage factory....

William Heirens might actually be innocent. Allegedly he killed three women, and wrote "For Heavens sake, catch me before I kill more. I cannot control myself" at the scene of one murder.

Richard Speck killed eight student nurses in one night's rampage in Chicago. He died of natural causes in prison, but not before being caught on videotape doing drugs, wearing women's underwear, fooling around with his boyfriend and claiming that if the authorities knew how much fun he was having in prison, they would kick him out.

John Wayne Gacy is the second runner up, with a toll in the 30 or so. All were young men. Typically they were talked into putting on handcuffs, then they were tortured, sodomized, killed, and either dumped in a river or buried under his house. He carried on an active correspondence with boys until finally after over a decade's delay, he was executed.

Al Capone had a gang to do most of his wet work. The biggest single event was the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, but Capone and his men figured in many more killings than that over his career as a "second hand furniture dealer".

But the champion was Herman Webster Mudgett. He had a long career as a criminal, but he was most famous for an elaborate house he built in Chicago in time for the 1893 Columbian Exhibition. There he wooed many women only to kill and rob them. He was finally caught and hanged in 1896.

But don't go thinking that IL has all the killers. Just to the north in Wisconsin, what they might lack in numbers they make up for in notoriety. What's more, they're thrifty - the IL killers just wasted their victims, but the Wisconsiners would eat them too.

For instance, there's Ed Gein, who inspired the movie "Psycho". Being timid, he wasn't one to get fresh with women. Apparently he didn't like it when they were fresh either - he dug up their graves and...well, you can look here. But eventually he got impatient and grabbed live ones, for which he was busted and sent away for life in a mental hospital.

But the champ was the more modern Jeffrey Dahmer. This creep defies description. One wonders what might have happened if he had met John Wayne Gacy.

Yes, the above is nasty. If you thought it was bad, imagine being the family of one of the victims. The point of it all is to note the kind of human offal we have had to deal with on death row or elsewhere. And which were used by George Ryan for no apparent honest reason other than to deflect attention from his own problems.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Beneath contempt

Illinois' ex-governor George Ryan decided to commute the sentences of all death row inmates in IL at the end of his term. He was already a disgrace, but this is the corker.

The lead item here describes some of the scum Ryan spared. They performed an inverse abortion - they killed Mom, cut her up, and took the fetus.

Sweet dreams, George. May you be convicted of all the crimes you committed, and may it cause you to have to share a small room with guys like the above for a long time.

Things to do with kids in the dark

One perennial demonstration for grade school science is the pinhole camera. A small hole functions as a lens. Yep, it's cheap, but you don't get much light and you can't zoom, so it's just a little bit limited for practical photography.

Been there done that, right? But I'll bet you didn't go making the camera itself out of photographic paper. Then you get this (as found at Max Power).

Sunday, January 12, 2003

War on common sense

One of the things that turns political debates nasty is when people start ascribing motives to others who they admit they don't understand. Glenn Reynolds links to an incandescent example from where else, the New York Times.
Over the last few years conservative groups in President Bush's support base have declared war on condoms, in a campaign that is downright weird — but that, if successful, could lead to millions of deaths from AIDS around the world.
Gosh, why do you suppose he mentioned President Bush's support base?

Now check out these quotes from the article. Radio spots in Texas:
"Condoms will not protect people from many sexually transmitted diseases."
Human Rights Watch:
"We don't discuss condom use, except to say that condoms don't work."
The scientific consensus is simple: Condoms are far from perfect, but they greatly reduce the risk of H.I.V. and of gonorrhea for men, and they probably also reduce the risk of other sexual infections — but more studies are needed to prove the case definitively.
Did you catch that? They "greatly reduce" risk of HIV and the clap, and they "probably" reduce risk of other STD's, but "more studies are needed". That's funny - where's the "precautionary principle" when you need it? Why can't we warn of high condom failure rates in a country where you can get sued for not warning people not to put hot coffee in their crotches?

Here's Kristof again:
I'm all for abstinence education, and there is some evidence that promoting abstinence helps delay and reduce sexual contacts both in the U.S. and abroad. But young people have been busily fornicating ever since sex was invented, in 1963 (as the poet Philip Larkin calculated), and disparaging condoms is far more likely to discourage their use than to discourage sex. The upshot will be more gonorrhea and AIDS among young Americans — and, abroad, many more people dying young.
Mr. Kristof offers no science to back his statement. But he's asking us to believe something like the following: Kids are responsible enough to deal with something as annoying as a condom at an age when some of them won't even have time to take their pants off, but at the same time they're irresponsible enough to abandon what protection a condom provides from disease and pregnancy for a few moments' tickle in their crotch and some bragging rights. To use Glenn Reynolds' analogy, it's as if we refused to tell people that they could be killed in a car wreck despite using seatbelts for fear they'd stop using seatbelts, so we should act as if seatbelts solve all the problems no matter how recklessly you drive.

So far Kristof has made it most of the way up Mount Asinine, but he hasn't summited yet:
Then there was the Condom Caper on the Web site of the Centers for Disease Control. A fact sheet on condoms was removed in July 2001 and, eventually, replaced by one that emphasized that they may not work.

"The Bush administration position basically condemns people to death by H.I.V./AIDS," said Adrienne Germain, president of the International Women's Health Coalition. "And we're talking about tens of millions of people."
Exactly how does telling people that condoms might not work (which Kristof himself acknowledges as true) "condemn people to death by H.I.V./AIDS"? Why is it that we can expect people to pay taxes, obey the law, work for a living, and eat right, and feel free to condemn or even imprison them for failures, but we can't expect them to control their sex lives?

Refusing to pay for condoms abroad isn't the same as "discouraging their use". All those bleeding hearts could have bought a lot of rubbers for the money they spent on donations to the Democratic Party over the last few election cycles. Their choice is clear - they'd rather buy influence than save lives abroad despite their stated convictions. So who should be condemned?

"War on condoms"! No, it's just that Kristof has a problem with a method that is 100% effective against pregnancy and disease, costs no money, and is available anywhere all the time on demand. His article should be taken about as seriously as this

Here's more from MedPundit and Justin Katz.