Tuesday, August 26, 2003

For computer pros only

Should you get certified? This article offers some data.

But where are the kangaroos?

Count on Beth for a little of everything. Here are some of her photos from the Pittsburgh Zoo, and an interesting Photoshop contest.

Make that 5

No more Zippo Tricks, per Misanthropyst. I'm guessing I really didn't need 555 flaming tricks that can be done with Zippo lighters, but I'm sure that somehow our culture is thus impoverished.

"I have to thank Ed Meese for saving my life"

Blogs are great, but don't drop those magazine subscriptions just yet. Before I continue with an excerpt from National Review On Dead Tree, would you care to guess who said the above?

Maybe no one remembers the fall of 1984, when Vanessa Williams was Miss America, and a photographer released some earlier nudes of her to Penthouse magazine. At the time it was widely distributed and quite a scandal, involving as it did "America's Sweetheart" nude with another woman. One picture in particular had Ms. Williams squatting and the other woman's face to her buttocks - someone at the construction site where I was working at the time photocopied and distributed this picture with the caption "Miss America Duck Call".

What's less well known is that there was another controversial pictorial in that same issue. The centerfold's name was Nora Kuzma, and she was not yet 18 years of age when the photos were published. She posed under her nom de porn, "Traci Lords". She also starred in a number of porn films too, where she capitalized on her jailbait looks. When she was discovered to be underaged it caused some consternation. Ms. Lords left the porn biz but has continued her acting career.

And now, on to the NRODT cite:
The 1986 "Meese Commission" report on pornography is notorious, a catalyst for First Amendment hysteria from liberals and civil libertarians -- "chilling effect" and the like. But Traci Lords, former child-porn star, has a different take. In her new memoir, Lords recounts how a federal raid ended her "career" at age 18 and turned her life as a junkie and "prostitute" (what she considers life as a porn star) around. In an interview about the book, Lords recently said, "I have to thank Ed Meese for saving my life." We know vindication when we see it.
I'll admit that there are probably better sources of news about your favorite former porn stars, but see what you're missing? So subscribe to NRODT today, and maybe they'll get rid of some of those @#$!# ads.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Why no WMD discoveries?

Jay Bryant, the Optimate, has a theory.

Biased reporting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumers would have to foot a $100 billion bill to upgrade the nation's rickety electric transmission grid but could reap five-fold savings from cheaper power costs, according to an industry report released on Monday.

Why do they present it this way? It's as if someone thinks there is something illegitimate about recovering the costs of upgrading transmission facilities.

Later they noted the "five-fold savings". How often do you get a deal like that? Why don't we see a headline like "Transmission line upgrades offer consumers 5 to 1 return"?

Now let's look at the organizations quoted. The Electric Power Research Institute is identified as "a utility-funded group", and the Edison Electric Institute is identified as "the biggest U.S. utility lobbying group". The Consumer Federation of America has no such characterization. I wonder why?

Oh, here they are. Can someone explain to me why a group nominally about consumerism is pushing gun control? Isn't that just a little outside the scope of consumerism?

They're not even in the scope of the truth - "Contrary to public opinion, historians, scholars, and most importantly the courts, have virtually all concluded that: the Second Amendment was designed to protect state organized militias rather than the individual right to n a gun." This and other things out them as another lefty interest group posing as a public interest group, yet they escape such identification in the article.

Did they forget to mention something?

Glenn Reynolds links to this story about a man's eyesight being restored via stem cells.

Just "stem cells"? No, adult stem cells. They can be given from a live donor, and in this case the donor doesn't even lose his sight. There is more here.

Pardon my suspicions, but IMO if this had required embryonic stem cells, ie had required killing human embryos to work, the article would have said so explicitly.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

The largest remaining statue of Lenin?

It might be.

And believe it or not, it's not in Berkeley. I guess he must have been too moderate for them.

Race Scandal!

From Drudge
Sun Aug 24 2003 19:55:50 ET

A black woman who is to undergo a foot amputation was initially offered a white artificial replacement because they were cheaper, a hospital admitted tonight.

The unnamed woman from Calcot near Reading, Berkshire, is yet to undergo the operation and health chiefs have now backed down and offered her prosthetics matching her own skin colour after she complained.

The Royal Berkshire and Battle Hospitals NHS Trust said only white artificial limbs had been initially made available.

A Trust spokeswoman said: "She was originally told she would have to pay more for any other colour, but that has now been resolved."

She said the complication of having no less than six separate NHS Primary Care Trusts in the county had made funding difficult, but said following discussions, money had been made available.

"We accept responsibility for this patient's care and for the provision of her prosthetics. We will be working together with the Primary Health Care Trusts to address this issue and to clarify funding for future cases."

A spokesperson for the Disability Rights Commission said tonight: "It is an absolute disgrace that the NHS hasn't made suitable provision for a black disabled person. Disabled people shouldn't have to put up with a one size fits all attitude.

"In this day and age they should be entitled to the same choices as non disabled people in the services they receive."
I guess a white artificial foot would have looked too unnatural, huh? Good grief, how many should they stock? IMO she certainly ought not expect any better unless she's spending her own money, and she lives under socialized medicine.

I guess these guys are in trouble too. It looks like they only have one shade of falsie. Paging Jesse Jackson...

No comment

Hot linked from here.

Music musings

VH1 is on in the background and they just played something by a band I hadn't heard of before - Robert Randolph and the Family Band. It's the first time I've ever seen a black dude play a pedal steel guitar. And he's doing a pretty good job of it too.

It's funny how some instruments get pigeonholed with certain kinds of music. A pedal steel offers all kinds of possibilities, but doesn't seem to appear outside country music. You might think a banjo was only good for bluegrass and country until you hear Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Mandolins seem stuck in Italian and country music. Besides Kansas and John Mellencamp you don't hear much violin outside classical or country music, or maybe easy listening stuff. Accordions often are portrayed as geeky, but they kick butt in zydeco music and tangos. Sitars have shown up on stuff like the Stones' "Paint It, Black" and BJ Thomas' version of "Hooked on a Feeling", but that's about it.

Instruments do come and go in popular music. A century ago guitars were just rhythm instruments, and not particularly respectable ones at that, but the advent of pickups, amplifiers and players like Charlie Christian changed that. And maybe I don't listen to the right stuff, but it seems like brass and woodwinds are disappearing from pop.

But nothing ever quite goes away. It'll just wind up at the National Music Museum in South Dakota. Take a virtual tour here.

The next best thing to guest blogging

Dodd Harris has been busy, to the point of even guest blogging at Insignificant Thoughts. So I thought "Hey, if he's that doggoned industrious, I'll have him blog for me too!"

So here we have Dodd on his own site about lawlessness at the EPA.

Then he presents the Democrat's Dictionary, which ultimately came from The Hand of Munger.

Then at Insignificant Thoughts he notes a change in the tune of the Democrats (surprise!) now that California cities are the most polluted in the country.

Oh yeah, still at I. T. he notes how Bush has reversed another asinine Clinton administration decision in hope of reducing forest fires. But the site of a speech about it had to be moved because of - can you see this coming? - a forest fire.

I guess this must be what a law firm partner feels like, living off an associate's work...

And you missed it

Tonight there was a benefit dance at the Indianapolis Ballroom Company. After a few hours of public dancing, they put on a show featuring Dan Rutherford and Nicole Carroll and Gert and Kirsty Roslender. They were a trip.

Dan and Nicole are partners in American Rhythm, and currently they are #2 in the nation. IBC is their home studio and they put on a terrific show with cha chas, a rumba and some swing. I was trying to force myself to learn something from watching Dan, but if you've seen Nicole perform you know that isn't easy. It was very fast and energetic, and they didn't get to the top of their profession without knowing how to put on a show.

Gert and Kirsty alternated with them. They compete professionally in International Standard and have done so around the world. Since then they've settled in the US from their native country (Estonia?) and now they're on the staff at IBC. If memory serves they did a waltz, a tango, a foxtrot and something that looked like a combo of jive and quickstep. Standard is more subdued and elegant than Rhythm or International Latin or even American Smooth IMO. But even if you aren't into it you can appreciate seeing people doing something very well and very effortlessly.

I don't know how much they raised yet. But it was a very worthy cause...