Saturday, October 25, 2003

That's settled

"But the overarching fact--that Saddam and al Qaeda had a relationship--can no longer be seriously disputed. "

Disrespect for the military

It seems that James Lileks and Donald Sensing differ on a passage from a Bleat. I have much respect for Rev. Sensing, but IMO he is oversensitive here. This is not about uniformed service, it's about the DoD, and those are two different things.

I've worked for the govt before. I know about the careerists, and the people who while away their hours until retirement running their home businesses using govt assets, or other similar forms of waste. Just show up on time and don't get caught saying "niggardly" and you'll be able to retire at a good salary, and maybe sign up for another govt job for double-dipping on the pension.

And if Rev. Sensing wants me to believe that the DoD is the only govt department of them all that has no such people, he deserves as much credibility as the lefties who talk about DoD waste as if it were the only part of the govt that ever wasted any money. I'll reserve the right to criticize any organization that spends my tax dollars, thank you. And if the military doesn't like the idea of civilian control, which necessarily involves a lot of people who haven't "walked the walk", then it's time for an attitude adjustment.

For real disrespect for the military, I suggest this:
I have an idea. Timothy McVeigh and John Allen Muhammad - one of the accused D.C. snipers - both served in the military. I think we need to put all U.S. ex-servicemen on a special watch list, because they obviously could be terrorists. I think we should flag them for "special screening" when they fly and think twice before allowing them to take scuba-diving lessons.

What do you think of my idea? I hope you're appalled, incensed and angry that I question the honesty and integrity of our military personnel based on the actions of just two people. That's exactly the right reaction. It's no different whether I suspect people based on military service, race, ethnicity, reading choices, scuba-diving ability or whether they're flying one way or round trip. It's profiling. It doesn't catch the few bad guys, and it causes undue hardship on the many good guys who are erroneously and repeatedly singled out. Security is always a trade-off, and in this case of "data mining" the trade-off is a lousy one.
Yes, I'm appalled and angry, you ignorant cretin, because out of all of the groups you could have made a case for you picked the ones who make it possible for the likes of you to make statements like that. May you find yourself somewhere where you are profiled for having a bad attitude and get exactly what you deserve.

While you stuff yourself on Thanksgiving Day

...think about these "people of size".

American Idol meets Russian convicts

...and wins some of them their freedom.

I don't know what they sang, but I'm betting that the lyrics didn't come from here.

Both links stolen from Boing Boing.

"Pro-Choice" is a lie

Pro-life and pro-choice. Who could possibly choose between such alternatives? After all, who wouldn't choose to live? But then this is the country where we revere lines like "Give me liberty or give me death!", so it's not quite so simple.

Pro-life may be exaggerated, but at least it's fundamentally accurate. It doesn't apply across the board - many also favor the death penalty. This inspires some to say that it's hypocritical, but that simply shows that some people are incapable of moral distinctions between convicted criminals and unborn children.

But pro-choice? Right. There are three choices - raising the baby, letting it go for adoption, or aborting it. A group that could be called pro-choice in any honest sense would support any of those choices in equal weight, right?

Not so. They fight like hell against a license plate that says "Choose Life" - rather than coming up with their own alternative, they seek to ban that choice. They aren't known for doing anything to help place children for adoption. Their organizations like Planned Parenthood don't make any money if they counsel mothers to let their children live, so there's an incredible financial conflict of interest favoring abortion. (As for founder Margaret Sanger's past, let's see what her legacy has to say about it).

And pro-lifers hear cracks like "if they don't want abortions, then pay to raise the kid". Wait a minute - shouldn't the nominal pro-choicers offer that choice too? Obviously babies need support and care - why wouldn't the pro-choicers want to support that choice too, unless the real goal is to have more abortions?

So a reasonable person can only conclude that they are not pro-choice at all. They are simply pro-abortion, but aren't honest enough to admit it.

OTOH pro-choice might apply more accurately to the pro-life side. They just think that the mother made her choice when she decided to have sex, not when she started barfing in the morning a while later. And since rape by definition means that the woman did not decide to have sex, it makes perfect sense to treat the fetuses differently in this case. Likewise for incest or other cases where a woman might not have capacity for such decisions.

Enough - at least I waited until abortion was in the news this time.

Partial birth abortion

You're a woman. You are delivering a baby, which is now hanging out of your vagina with only its head inside (which is dangerous for mom and baby alike). You've dilated, you've contracted, you've had all the pain and struggle of childbirth and all the attendant health hazards but for whatever might happen as the baby (yes, BABY) travels the last few inches. One tug and you're home free.

So what do you do now? 1) Continue having the BABY and raise it yourself; 2) Continue having the BABY and give it up for adoption; or 3) Have the doctor poke a hole in the base of the BABY's skull, stuff in a vacuum device to suck out its brains and crush its skull until it stops flopping, then dump it with the medwaste.

I'm not a physician, but I fail to see what part of the mother's health is impaired by pulling the baby out the last few inches. If I'm right, then there effectively is no risk to the health of the mother that a partial-birth abortion can prevent. Unless there's a health risk involved in simply trying to raise the kid (whatever that might be), in which case it can be given up for adoption. So why kill it unless you just want it dead?

I understand that there are other procedures for late-term abortions that might be used in case severe damage is not detected until late in the game. So parents of truly stricken children have other options if they want an abortion. They just can't have this kind.

So the pro-lifers haven't even stopped late-term abortions - they've just put a legal obstacle in front of the most disgusting form of it. Yet we hear brayings such as "This is a sad day for the women of America", as if suddenly all American women became barefoot and pregnant.

Which leads to the question "What was the point?" IMO the point was to show just how morally addled the pro-abortion movement is when they would fight to the last ditch to defend such a disgusting procedure.


From Robert Novak's column:
The Senate chamber was filled with audible gasps last Tuesday when Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the pro-choice champion, clearly voted "yes" on final passage of the bill to ban partial-birth abortion.
Who would have thought that the old ladykiller had it in him? Maybe he has a soul after all. After all, when I think of Ted Kennedy, I think of a soul - I just don't pronounce it that way.
It was a mistake, however, and Kennedy changed his vote to "no" a few minutes later.

This marked the second time in a week that Kennedy, widely considered the most powerful member of the Senate, became confused on an important vote. He mistakenly voted with President Bush in opposing a Democratic-backed amendment to require partial Iraqi repayment of U.S. reconstruction aid. On that occasion, Senate Democratic Leader Thomas Daschle conferred with Kennedy and prompted him to change his vote.

Morbid Fact du Jour!

"The Website where Bad Things happen to Good People".

Friday, October 24, 2003

Time to invest in mining companies?

Today's WSJ had two articles that seemed much more significant if read together than in isolation. The latter is probably what happened most of the time though because they were in different sections.

The first one noted that the Bush Administration has reversed a Clinton-era asininity that crippled mine operators and consequently their headcount. Environmentalists will scream bloody murder of course, but then that's just what they do.

The other was about China. Many people had been concerned that China would flood the world with cheap goods and destroy prices. Now they're finding out that as Chinese get more affluent, they're dragging the commodities markets upward. Put those two together and...

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Help save lives - support the death penalty

DANEgerus explains why here.

Adult stem cell breakthrough

Scientists at the University of Michigan have discovered the gene that permits adult stem cells to persist through adult life.

End of the Concorde

The last Concorde flight will happen tomorrow.

Jew made me say that

Glenn Reynolds linked to this, so you've probably already seen it. It's more "the Jews run everything, blah blah".

Now really. If the Jews are so clever that a few million of them can run the entire planet, what makes these guys think they can do anything about it?

Besides, everyone knows the world is run by Swiss bankers. Or the Masons. Or the Illuminati. Or the Trilateralists. Or the Bilderbergers.

I wonder which one killed Lady Diana Spencer?

Actually I think too much has been made of that post. We don't really know what the one Paki was thinking - we just know he thought it was a good time for his friend the writer to leave. If the writer thinks his friend owes it to the world to argue with his buddies about something they clearly aren't prepared to be rational about, IMO he's asking too much.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003


PETA is at it again. Having failed with Fishkill and Hamburg in NY, now they want Rodeo, CA to change its name.

And they're serious. They'll give the town $20,000 worth of veggieburgers to local schools if they comply.

IMO it would be more appropriate if one of the big packing houses like Excell or IBP sent PETA 10,000 lbs of brains.

Which reminds me of an anecdote I first picked up in an old National Lampoon True Facts column about some crooks who robbed a packing plant. They didn't know what they had stolen, and this led indirectly to their conviction. Here are the details, from Jerry Pournelle:
On the other hand, there's the guys who had hijacked a trailer full of rennets, thinking that they'd gotten beef. The cops put these criminal geniuses in the back of the car, with the tape recorder going, explained what rennets were, and started laughing at them, then left them alone for awhile. One of the geniuses said something like, "If we're going to jail for stealing five tons of beef assholes, I'm going to be pissed off." Appeals court ruled that humor isn't unconstitutional.

Cloning and the Red Sox

Red Sox fans, as a long-term Cub fan I feel your pain. Well, maybe not this bad.

And go to the next item up to see some interesting name games being played to avoid calling cloning by its real name.

Euthanize this

Terry Schiavo has been in the news lately - allegedly she's hopelessly vegetative and hubby wants to yank her feeding tube. Her family is opposing it, apparently with some evidence.

OK, this nothing we haven't seen before, right? Karen Ann Quinlan was my favorite example - she hung around for years after going into a "persistent vegetative state". She finally died of pneumonia after 10 years.

I can't see keeping people around forever with no hope of recovery, but then there's euthanasia. Euthanasia IMO is about the slipperiest slope around, and that may in fact be what we're dealing with in the Terry Schiavo situation. Or something like it, anyway.

Because as Medpundit tells us, Terry Schiavo's husband has a rather severe conflict of interest. He used to abuse her and has fathered a child with another woman. And he has her power of attorney for health care.

IMO the euthanasia supporters ought to see to it that this is investigated thoroughly, lest their issue be turned into just another form of murder.

Etiology of obesity

How's that for a title? If you want the rest, check out Medpundit.

Monday, October 20, 2003

If Dante had seen the web...

Yesterday I got a sucker email wanting me to confirm Ebay info. If you've been on the web for more than a day or so you ought to know that stuff like this is always bogus, but I thought I'd take a look at it. You were supposed to click on what looked like a legitimate Ebay address, which in fact was one of the legal ones according to Ebay. But what looked like a plain text link was in fact a long skinny graphic which was actually linked somewhere else. So it went to, and the sender can go to hell.

It'll be crowded down there. We need to spread them out a little, like Dante did, with the guys I mentioned well to the bottom.

The potential identity thieves like the Ebay guy belong, say, in Satan's armpits. The virus distributors will be close by.

A bit higher, but not much, would be the creeps who send me spam offering to reduce my spam. The first one was funny in a brass-balled kind of way, but the rest...grrr.

On the shallow side would be the Abacha family, the rest of the Nigerians and the others who need help getting their millions out of their countries.

Then there are the guys who hit my site with Google like today's winner - "Photos+French+prostate+exam". I can see where some poor guy might wonder what he's in for, but really, what is "French" doing in there? Whatever you do, don't think about it - ewww.

I could really get into this if I had the time. Feel free to offer candidates and appropriate punishments.

Retailing mystery

The men who wear the larger sizes on average are taller than the men who wear the smaller sizes, right? So why are the small sizes on the tops of the store displays and the larger sizes at the bottom?

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Grow up

Howard Kurtz discusses writer Jonathan Chait and his article on the Bush-haters in the WaPo.

Methinks Chait needs to grow up, based on comments like this:
And Chait says that gee, by the way, Republicans set a "perjury trap" and impeached a popular Democrat, and yet "suddenly it's time to declare president-hating out of bounds."
You know, Mr. Chait, the beauty of a "perjury trap" is that is only catches perjurors. All Clinton had to do was tell the truth instead of daring the Republicans to prove him wrong. As it was, he proved that not only was he a liar, but one with really poor judgment too.

The "impeached a popular Democrat" is self-contradictory. Just how popular was the man if he managed to get impeached? He held on in office only because the Republicans had no guts and the Democrats had no shame. And had justice taken its course, maybe we'd be talking about "Gore-haters" now - the Democrats would be better off as a party, if not as Americans.

Speaking for myself, I didn't "hate" Bill Clinton. Actually I figured he'd be just the guy to have a bull session with - I can only imagine some of the stories this guy can tell. But that doesn't mean that I thought he had any business near the White House.

Defeating the intent

Ravenwood on hassling open carry gun owners in Ohio.

She wrote what?

Miss Susanna! - does your mama read your blog? The girl has been reading the Song of Solomon again, and next thing you know she's writing all this stuff about pr0n. Golly, I'm blushing all over...

Well, maybe not. I've written of pr0n and me in my younger days, and I really wondered what would have happened if I had been exposed to more readily available, stronger stuff in the absence of small town conditioning.

Susanna presents some anecdotes about the impact of pr0n on kids after they become adults here. The concern seems to be that men and boys overexposed to pr0n will somehow see pr0n as a satisfactory alternative to human partners. Hmm - I've having a hard time seeing how anyone who's tried both could wind up this way.

Presumably seeing pr0n in the absence of experience with real partners could cause expectations problems, but it's not as if that's the only way that can happen. Other movies and soap operas aren't exactly realistic in the relevant particulars either, nor are books and magazines. Even real life can lead kids astray - Junior had better not expect his bride to be another Mom, and likewise the bride had better not expect hubby to be another Daddy. So we can expect kids to suffer some readjustments no matter what we do - let's just hope they're not as bad as in this old dirty joke (look for Running Bear).

From a technical perspective there could be some useful pr0n, but I don't recall seeing any. I go into far too much detail about that here, in which I conclude that on the whole, pr0n is bad for kids and should be kept away from them.

Enough - there's a football game on. That's better than sex - or writing about it anyway.

Evangelical Christians vs. segregation

This unusually sophisticated and subtle study takes and unconventional approach by examining both sides in the struggle. Chappell asks what strengthened those who fought segregation in the South and what weakened their enemies. His answer in both cases is evangelical Christianity.
More at Lead and Gold.

More power to Arnold

Lynne Kiesling notes that the Governator Arnold Schwartzenegger is saying the right things about energy in CA.

Nowhere to hide

Some years ago in my nuclear power career I overheard something about mowing the grass. I didn't realize why it was such a big deal. The basic problem relates to security - higher grass provides cover for attackers. IMO the limits seemed overconservative, but maybe that's why I don't work in security.

Lately we heard about orchards in Iraq being cut down punitively. Or at least so it was spun in the media. The rest of the story is here.