Monday, October 11, 2010

The Danger of Print

The President dodged a, er, book the other day:

Obama has book thrown at him at Philadelphia rally | Mail Online: "This is the astonishing moment a book was apparently hurled at the head of President Barack Obama during a campaign rally in Philadelphia.

The flying missile narrowly missed hitting the President yesterday.

It is not clear what the book was, where it came from in the crowd, or why it was thrown at Mr Obama - who did not appear to notice the danger"
Which is sort of a metaphor for his whole presidency.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Seriously, if you're going to do this, it should probably be done in private. More sinister that way.

A Teary Emanuel Gets Dead Fish At White House Send-off - Political Punch

My reaction:

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Will the Justice Department Be Authorized to Shut Down Internet Sites?

That this is even being contemplated chills me to the bone.
Will the Justice Department Be Authorized to Shut Down Internet Sites?: "

On September 20th, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced legislation — S. 3804, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act — that seeks to give the Department of Justice the power to shut down websites anywhere in the world that are found to infringe on intellectual property rights. This would be accomplished by ordering U.S. domain registrars and registries to stop resolving infringing sites’ domain names. While this bill has the noble-sounding goal of preventing online piracy, handing the federal government authority over the Internet would set a troubling precedent that would imperil Internet freedom in America and across the world.


One disquieting issue is the lack of any requirement that these sites be found to violate the laws of the countries from where they operate. In fact, under this bill sites operating perfectly legally under the laws of their own nations could be shut down by the U.S. Justice Department.

America has been a pretty fair steward of critical internet infrastructure up until now, but we only deserve it as long as we respect the responsibility that power gives us. Pushing edicts across the planet is a lousy way to do that, especially over something as idiotic as copyright infringement.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Unintended Consequences

The primary results in Delaware last week have generated some interesting consequences, such as this thoughtful and well written plea for Christians and Wiccans to come together.

Vodkapundit � Come Together: A Plea to Annoy Christians and Witches Alike!: "There’s some common ground here, where both sides could — and should — meet politically, if not spiritually. For that to happen, however, certain Christians (not nearly all of them) would have to drop their insistence that Wicca is equal to Satanism. And certain Wiccans (not nearly all of them, either) would have to abandon their childish liberalism."
I don't think anyone expected O'Donnell to be this polarizing, but there's a definite opportunity here. Could this be the start of a Wiccan right-wing?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Liberals vs Conservatives

It's like he has a plasma lance of perspective. How have I not found this guy before now?

Perhaps he's just cynical, but he's smiling anyway.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

So...Communism doesn't work?

Cuba details plans to lay off 500,000

Sweeping reforms cut workers from payroll to save funds

Andrea Rodriguez and Paul Haven / Associated Press

Havana -- Cuba's communist leaders have already determined what soon-to-be-dismissed workers should do after they get pink slips in sweeping government layoffs, detailing a plan for them to raise rabbits, paint buildings, make bricks, collect garbage and pilot ferries across Havana's bay.

Many of the workers tossed from state jobs into the marketplace could see their new enterprises fail within a year, officials acknowledge.

From The Detroit News:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

From the ground up


John Ratzenberger may be best known for playing a knowitall, but don't discount the man because of the part. Here are some interesting disturbing statistics:

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 25 percent of the working population will reach retirement age by 2012, resulting in a potential shortage of nearly 10 million skilled workers. This heightens the price our nation is paying for dismantling so many in-school vocational training programs during the past few decades.

The current shortage already sharply reduces the growth of U.S. gross domestic product, contributing to our overall economic problem. America’s infrastructure is falling apart before our eyes. Municipal water and sewer systems are failing, and more bridges are unsafe to cross. Yet the nationwide shortfall of more than 500,000 welders is causing already-funded repair projects to be canceled or delayed.

Read the whole thing.  I eagerly await this documentary.

Via Instapundit.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gender Based Violence!

More proof that men are more violent than women:

According to her complaint, she and fellow pledges were punched, slapped, kicked, slammed into walls, struck with a wooden spoon and a cane, and had books and coins thrown at them during a series of 16 nighttime initiation sessions. Howard recalled one evening when a sorority sister told her to close her eyes. She was then struck on the buttocks with what she later learned was a kitchen pot. The pledges were also frequently struck with a wooden paddle, Howard said, blows that left her with welts on her buttocks.

Oh wait...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Risk Dominates Fun

Part of having fun is taking a risk.  Unfortunately risks can lead to unpleasant consequences, and when those consequences lead to other people paying for your lack of judgement, they tend to remove the risk.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Elementary school playgrounds in one West Virginia county are losing their swing sets.

Swings are being removed from Cabell County schools in southern West Virginia in part because of lawsuits over injuries.

Cabell County schools safety manager Tim Stewart said Wednesday that a lot of parents are accusing him of being un-American, but he says the cost of maintaining a safe surface is too expensive.

Stewart says a lawsuit in the past year involved a youngster who broke his arm jumping off a swing like Superman. It was settled for $20,000.

I would be so pissed at the kid's parents.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Financially Forward

GM is preparing an IPO that promises to be a real circus.  I'm not certain at all that it's going to be the miracle that some are hoping for.

  That didn't happen in this case, so the company has unfunded pension obligations to the tune of $27 billion whose bill is due in 2014. Long term, this puts it at a major competitive disadvantage against its non-unionized overseas rivals: Toyota ( TM - news people ), Honda ( HMC - news -people ), Volkswagen ( VLKAF.PK - news people ) and Hyundai.

Investors might overlook this if the company were otherwise sound and on a growth trajectory. That, however, is not the case. Indeed, in its application to the Securities and Exchange Commission--which, guess what, will come through just in time to make an IPO possible before the November elections!--GMadmits that its "disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting are currently not effective." And this "could materially affect our financial condition and ability to carry out our business plan."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

He Should Be Golfing

Putin seems to be going out of his way to be manly. Rotten Commie's turning into a Cowboy.

Putin fires darts at gray whale from crossbow - Yahoo! News: "MOSCOW – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin fired darts from a crossbow at a gray whale off Russia's Far Eastern coast on Wednesday in the latest in a series of man-versus-nature stunts designed to cultivate the image of a macho leader.
Putin held his balance in a rubber boat that was being tossed around in choppy waters off the Kamchatka Peninsula, and eventually hit the whale with a special arrow designed to collect skin samples.
'I hit it at the fourth try!' a beaming Putin, kitted out in black-and-orange waterproof suit and black beanie, yelled to a camera crew from the boat."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Juggling Chainsaws

Dave Kopel argues that people should stop criticizing President Obama for his persistent golfing because President Eisenhower played a lot of golf too.

The Volokh Conspiracy � Stop Criticizing President Obama for Playing Golf: "However, President Eisenhower demonstrated beyond any doubt that there is no inherent contradiction between being a good President and being an avid golfer. Indeed, golf helps clear the mind, and hardly any�sport is�better at fostering humility in participants. �So unless�President Obama’s critics�are willing to state that President Eisenhower golfed too much, they should stop carping about President Obama’s golfing."

This strikes me as fallacious reasoning. Not everyone can smoke and juggle chainsaws at the same time, so you have to be careful with your priorities.

Come to think of it, maybe that's why Obama golfs so much...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nobody's perfect

Ann Coulter acknowledges that she doesn't agree with everything about every group she speaks to. Considering how opinionated she is, that sort of came as a surprise to me.

WorldNetDaily drops Ann Coulter from conference over speech to gay conservative group | The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment: "According to WND, a site that regularly publishes articles about President Obama’s birthplace, Coulter told Farrah that their decision to drop her was misguided. “That’s silly, I speak to a lot of groups and do not endorse them,” she said. “…But in any event, giving a speech is not an endorsement of every position held by the people I’m speaking to. I was going to speak for you guys, I think you’re nuts on the birther thing (though I like you otherwise!).”"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

All your gays are belong to us

Signalling that there are some things more important than sexual preference, Right Wing News is sponsoring HomoCon 2010:

Classical Values :: the war against fun just got funnier!

I just learned that Right Wing News is the first sponsor of HomoCon 2010:
Today, I want to make an announcement: Right Wing News is the first sponsor of Homocon. We're going to be supporting the event, promoting it, and encouraging Republicans in New York to attend. Thanks toGOProud for giving us the opportunity and thanks to Ann Coulter for creating what's sure to be a memorable event that people will want to attend.
Check out the poster over at RWN.

Is the GOP looking to attract single issue voters? Will the focus be on fiscal conservatism and not social conservatism? Can they attract enough discouraged liberal and independents to make up for losing the base?

I certainly hope so. I don't really like the base of either the GOP or the DNC. But I'm a middlin' kinda guy.

MALINVESTMENT, visualized. “Below right is a photo taken of unused lumber hauling rail cars now par…

Find your own allegory, I'm not going to connect the dots for you.

The question is: Is Atlas Shrugged visionary, or historical?

MALINVESTMENT, visualized. “Below right is a photo taken of unused lumber hauling rail cars now par…: "

MALINVESTMENT, visualized. “Below right is a photo taken of unused lumber hauling rail cars now parked on a closed railroad spur in Eastern Oregon, part of 20 miles of empty rail cars dedicated to hauling lumber to market. Most of these lumber hauling rail cars have been in mothballs since 2008 ….”

UPDATE: Reader Bruce Webster writes:

When I read your post and then went to the linked post, I immediately thought of these passages:


Empty trains clattered through the four states that were tied, as neighbors, to the throat of Colorado. They carried a few carloads of sheep, some corn, some melons and an occasional farmer with an overdressed family, who had friends in Washington. Jim [Taggart] had obtained a subsidy from Washington for every train that was run, not as a profit-making carrier, but as a service of “public equity.” (p. 351)


Six weeks ago, Train Number 193 had been sent with a load of steel, not to Faulkton, Nebraska, where the Spencer Machine Tool Company, the best machine tool concern still in existence, had been idle for two weeks, waiting for the shipment — but to Sand Creek, Illinois, where Confederated Machines had been wallowing in debt for over a year, producing unreliable goods at unpredictable times. The steel had been allocated by a directive which explained that the Spencer Machine Tool Company was a rich concern, able to wait, while Confederate Machines was bankrupt and could not be allowed to collapse, being the sole source of livelihood of the community of Sand Creek, Illlinois. The Spencer Machine Tool Company had closed a month ago. Confederated Machines had closed two weeks later.

The people of Sand Creek, Illinois, had been placed on national relief, but no food could be found for them in the empty granaries of the nation at the frantic call of the moment — so the seed grain of the farmers of Nebraska had been seized by order of the Unification Board — and Train Number 194 had carried the unplanted harvest and the future of the people of Nebraska to be consume by the people of Illinois. “In this enlightened age,” Eugene Lawson had said in a radio broadcast, “we have come, at last, to realize that each of of us is his brother’s keeper.” (p. 911)


I suspect you can guess what book those came from. ..bruce..

Indeed. An Army Of Eugene Lawsons!


Royal Oak to allow guns at Ford Arts, Beats & Eats festival | | Detroit Free Press

The Freep does the impossible: It reports on a gun issue at a Royal Oak City Council meeting and manages to find a single quote supporting the council's decision to uphold Michigan law and not ban open carry.

And that quote makes the man look like a paranoid nutter.

Douglas Holloway of Westland said he would leave his gun at home if his safety and that of his family could be guaranteed at the event.

"I don't think anyone can do that," he told Royal Oak city commissioners. "You can't stop criminals.

Notice that it's a partial quote, with unquoted attribution.

Read the rest, an note the two GM employees and the university professor that sees the conspiracy that the "gun lobby" has cooked up.

Royal Oak to allow guns at Ford Arts, Beats & Eats festival | | Detroit Free Press

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I'd really like to know where they found those 8%. I'm guessing in the White House Rose garden.

in reference to:

"Eight percent (8%) rate the economy as good or excellent while 55% say it’s in poor shape."
- (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Matt Ridley: Down with Doom: How the World Keeps Defying the Predictions of Pessimists

The evidence is all around us that things are getting better. Is it possible that the reason is because we always think it's getting worse?

Denial is one of humanity's greatest powers.

Matt Ridley: Down with Doom: How the World Keeps Defying the Predictions of Pessimists

I began to pay attention and a few years ago I started to research a book on the subject. I was astounded by what I discovered. Global per capita income, corrected for inflation, had trebled in my lifetime, life expectancy had increased by one third, child mortality had fallen by two-thirds, the population growth rate had halved. More people had got out of poverty than in all of human history before. When I was born, 36% of Americans had air conditioning. Today 79% of Americans below the poverty line had air conditioning. The emissions of pollutants from a car were down by 98%. The time you had to work on the average wage to buy an hour of artificial light to read by was down from 8 seconds to half a second.

Not only are human beings wealthier, they are also healthier, wiser, happier, more tolerant, less violent, more equal. Check it out - the data is clear. Yet if anything the pessimists had only grown more certain, shrill and apocalyptic. We were facing the `end of nature', the `coming anarchy', a `stolen future', our `final century' and a climate catastrophe. Why, I began to wonder did the failure of previous predictions have so little impact on this litany?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The sun has gone out

That's overly dramatic, but the thing that no one is saying is that it's entirely possible that after burning furiously for the last century the sun may have exhausted the fuel closest to the core, and as a result the rate of fusion has slowed.

So is it doomsday?

Not quite. There's still a lot of fuel there, but the sun is a really large object and it may take some time for more fuel to fall inwards to the center of gravity.

I'm no physicist but I've heard this theory before as sort of a "fringe" thing mumbled in science fiction backwaters. The upshot is that it could get pretty cold, so buy some long johns.

What's wrong with the sun? - space - 14 June 2010 - New Scientist

Sunspots are windows into the sun's magnetic soul. They form where giant loops of magnetism, generated deep inside the sun, well up and burst through the surface, leading to a localised drop in temperature which we see as a dark patch. Any changes in sunspot numbers reflect changes inside the sun. "During this transition, the sun is giving us a real glimpse into its interior," says Hathaway.

When sunspot numbers drop at the end of each 11-year cycle, solar storms die down and all becomes much calmer. This "solar minimum" doesn't last long. Within a year, the spots and storms begin to build towards a new crescendo, the next solar maximum.

What's special about this latest dip is that the sun is having trouble starting the next solar cycle. The sun began to calm down in late 2007, so no one expected many sunspots in 2008. But computer models predicted that when the spots did return, they would do so in force. Hathaway was reported as thinking the next solar cycle would be a "doozy": more sunspots, more solar storms and more energy blasted into space. Others predicted that it would be the most active solar cycle on record. The trouble was, no one told the sun.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Long Hot Summer Begins: Congressman Attacks Student

Two things about this bother me. One, that it's blatant assault. Two, if the student had defended himself he would have gone to jail.

Long Hot Summer Begins: Congressman Attacks Student: "

Maybe it is my Catholic upbringing, but I’ve always been cursed with a bit too much empathy. It is often difficult to witness people bearing the full weight of the consequences of their decisions, even when it is richly deserved. (And, in the case of House Democrats few have ever been more deserving of reaping everything they’ve sown.) We’re human, after all, and witnessing people on the cusp of realizing that they’ve lost everything can be difficult.

Last week, Democrat Congressman Bod Etheridge (D-NC2) attended a fundraiser headlined by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He was asked by some students on the street whether he supported the “Obama Agenda.” He didn’t take it well.

Expect more of this. A hard, progressive left captured the Democrat majority in Congress and forced them to enact a fantasy grab-bag of legislation that is increasingly unpopular with the American public. We’re on the cusp of a deeper recession, millions of unemployed Americans have no prospect for work, taxes are about to spike higher and we’ve maxed out the national credit card. The Democrats were given a chance to run government and they’ve only succeeded in running it into the ground.

So, yeah, Democrats who are up for reelection this November are a bit testy.

Fortunately, Rep. Etheridge isn’t one of those gerry-mandered political welfare queens. According to the Cook Report, his district is an R+2 district. He has a credible opponent. Check her out here.

Let’s recap what we saw on this video. A sitting Congressman–a presumed living extension of James Madison and other founding fathers–was asked on a public street whether he supported the President’s agenda. His response was to hit away a video camera and assault a student. The age of Pericles this ain’t.

It is going to be a long, hot summer. But, you’ve been given a target. Act accordingly.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day: "

Molly Norris has declared May 20th “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day,” in defense of Matt Stone and Trey Parker. All freedom-loving Americans should get behind this. While initially I thought it was an ironic joke that South Park was censoring everything related to Mohammed in their last episode, obviously we have seen over the last few days that against the creators’ will, Comedy Central cowered in the face of a thinly veiled Muslim threat.

In fact, submission, the definition of Islam, is the apt word to describe Comedy Central’s cowardice.

The bottom line is that the First Amendment guarantees free speech including criticism of all peoples. We are an equal opportunity offense country. To censor ourselves to avoid upsetting a certain group (in a cartoon no less) is un-American.

It is especially egregious because it represents dhimmitude. We are sacrificing our law and our heritage to Sharia. The law of our land is the Constitution and beyond that the natural law granted to us by our divine creator.

Giving in to Islam at the cultural level is the first step towards going the way of Europe. Just as with leftism, the loss of our values begins not with the politicians but with the public. We must stop this madness now and stand in solidarity against those who wish to destroy our way of life and replace it with theirs. You can try to bully Matt Stone and Trey Parker but you cannot bully a million red-blooded, liberty-loving Matt Stones and Trey Parkers.

Let me end by evoking the words of a great many South Park characters: “If you don’t like America, then you can git out.”


Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Coming out swinging

Out of the slammer, that is:

Kristin Davis, the New York madame who supplied call girls to former Governor Eliot Spitzer, today blasted MSNBC for using Spitzer as a guest host last week to fill in for liberal MSNBC commentator Dylan Ratigan. Davis, who went to prison for promoting prostitution in the scandal that forced Spitzer to resign, is now running as the libertarian candidate for Governor of the Empire State.

“Eliot Spitzer violated federal money laundering laws, violated the Mann Act by transporting a prostitute across state lines to perform sex acts, lied repeatedly to the people of New York about the real source of his campaign financing, abused power by directing the state police to fabricate documents, used the state police to spy on his political opponent Nixon-style, and then lied about it all,” Davis said.

“While he has not been convicted of any crime, like O.J. Simpson, he is guilty,” added Davis, who served four months in Rikers Island. “I defend MSNBC’s right to interview Spitzer at any time, but making him a host condones his behavior, which is outrageous.”

Read more:

Spitzer madame blasts MSNBC for allowing him to host | The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

ARE MEN THE MORE BELLIGERENT SEX? Men are more dangerous, but women can be just as aggressive. “Wo…

ARE MEN THE MORE BELLIGERENT SEX? Men are more dangerous, but women can be just as aggressive. “Wo…: "

ARE MEN THE MORE BELLIGERENT SEX? Men are more dangerous, but women can be just as aggressive. “Women are also just as likely as men to express hostility—in this case physically—in the context of a romantic relationship. The popular stereotype of a domestic abuser is a man who habitually hurts his female partner. Yet research by Archer and sociologist Murray Straus of the University of New Hampshire calls this scenario into question. Surprisingly, their analyses demonstrate that men and women exhibit roughly equal rates of violence within relationships; some studies hint that women’s rates of physical aggression are slightly higher.”

I suspect it has something to do with the fact that there's not as much of a taboo against women engaging in violence. In fact, some guys like the tough chicks.

Roger L. Simon » President Weirdo Goes Anti-Nuke

Roger L. Simon writes:

The President of the United States — whose most important duty is to protect the citizens of this country — is publicly abjuring the use of nuclear weapons if we are attacked by chemical or biological weapons — both of which are known to all of us as Weapons of Mass Destruction, the dreaded WMDs.

What are we to make of this and the man who is adopting this policy? Does he hate us? Does he hate this country? What would he do if there was, for example, a massive small pox attack on the U.S.? Send in the infantry? Call in the Marines? Try to reason with whoever did it and recommend they negotiate as the fatal disease spreads to millions of people?
While I agree that this is unwise, I don't think it's exactly what it appears to be. Simply put, I think President Obama is comfortable with this proclamation simply because it's another campaign promise that he's willing to break at a moments notice.

If anything, this should be a warning sign that he's got his finger on the button because, like public campaign financing, this is a convenient cover until he gets sufficient incentive to do otherwise.

Roger L. Simon » President Weirdo Goes Anti-Nuke

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hard call

GALLUP: “By 50%-46%, those surveyed say Obama doesn’t deserve re-election.”…: "

I wonder if the DNC will have the guts to cut ties with the burgeoning albatross in 2012? To President Obama, the danger of throwing too many under the bus is that the guy in line behind you only has to shove...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fake Products and Companies Certified by Energy Star - Popular Mechanics

Just so you know exactly what "Energy Star Certified" really means:

Other great moments in rapid confirmation occurred for submissions of a nonexistent water cooler (approved in four days), a make-believe commercial HVAC unit (approved in one week), a bogus boiler qualified within one business day of submission and a dishwasher that also made the cut in a single day. But the record-setting Usain Bolt of fake Energy Star products has to be an imaginary computer monitor—the EPA requested expedited info so the machine could make a deadline for a Qualified Products list designed to guide shoppers during the 2009 holiday season. The GAO rapidly fired off some falsified test data, and the made-up monitor was approved and online within 30 minutes of submission.

Friday, March 5, 2010

And it spread like Memefire

Best example ever. Give that Professor a medal.
Anatomy of a Rumor: The Story Behind Chief Justice John Roberts's 'Retirement' - Above the Law - A Legal Tabloid - News, Gossip, and Colorful
Commentary on Law Firms and the Legal Profession
: "Today’s class was partially on the validity of informants not explaining their sources. [Professor Tague] started off class at around 9 am EST by telling us not to tell anyone, but that we might find it interesting that tomorrow, Roberts would be announcing his retirement for health concerns. He refused to tell anyone how he knew. Then, at around 9:30, he let everyone in on the joke.
Note the timestamps on the Radar posts. The first one came out at 6:10 a.m., i.e., the Pacific Time equivalent of 9:10 a.m. Eastern time. The retraction came out at 6:36 a.m., i.e., the
Pacific Time equivalent of 9:36 a.m. Eastern — shortly after Professor Tague let his class in on the joke."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ridiculous Rhetoric

This is getting stupid:

Lawmakers to discuss move to halt digital billboards | | Detroit Free Press

"Digital billboards are really weapons of mass distraction," Abby Dart, executive director of Scenic Michigan, a statewide nonprofit group that's pushing for the moratorium, said Wednesday.
And condoms in a retirement home are like anthrax. Come on, how can you make that statement when you admit you don't have any statistics?

Agnostics and Atheists Set up the Fan

As in, the shit's gonna hit:

Atheists, agnostics to put ads on buses | | Detroit Free Press
"Don't believe in God? You're not alone," reads the ads that are to be placed on a dozen buses across the region. They were paid for by the Detroit Area Coalition of Reason, which spent $5,250 on the ads with the help of their national group, the United Coalition of Reason. It's part of a nationwide effort that has targeted more than 20 cities across the U.S. by placing such ads on buses, subways and billboards, organizers said.

I'm a little surprised tho. I've considered myself an Agnostic for some time, but I certainly don't disbelieve in God. At least, some sort of higher power. Oh well, there I go again, defying convention.

I think that it's important particularly for an atheist to examine where their moral framework comes from. Some will adopt the title just to be "counterculture" and have no clue what it actually means.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Detroit Shrinks

I’ve said before that Detroit’s biggest problem is that with it’s current tax base it can’t afford to provide services to the vast area that it encompasses.  The only solution seemed to be to shrink the borders, but how can one do that realistically?

It looks like new Mayor Bing has a plan:

In his strongest statements about shrinking the city since taking office, Bing told WJR-760 AM the city is using internal and external data to decide "winners and losers." The city plans to save some neighborhoods and encourage residents to move from others, he said.

"If we don't do it, you know this whole city is going to go down. I'm hopeful people will understand that," Bing said. "If we can incentivize some of those folks that are in those desolate areas, they can get a better situation.

In theory, it’s a good idea.  In practice I have my doubts:

Among the court challenges he sees ahead include the legality of cutting off city services to particular neighborhoods and using eminent domain to relocate residents. In 2006, voters approved a prohibition on government's ability to take property for economic development.

In general, I’m not a big fan of eminent domain takings, but this may be the most justified case I’ve seen.  If the residents are given enough economic incentive to move, perhaps most of them won’t fight too hard. 

The most damning quote is here:

Bing's staff is using its own data and a survey released last weekend by Data Driven Detroit. The block-by-block study of the 139 square-mile city showed that roughly one in three parcels are vacant lots or abandoned homes.

1/3rd of the city is abandoned, but that’s still area you have to police, and plow, and provide lighting to, and water and sewage and all the other things that make life possible in a city.

2/3rd of the population has to finance that, and that doesn’t take into account the number of people who are currently not paying their city taxes. 

Detroit started as a small hunting camp on the shores of the Detroit River.  It grew from there to the industrial powerhouse that helped win World War II.  Perhaps if it shrinks to a manageable size it can begin to grow again.

From The Detroit News:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

White House mocks Sarah Palin from podium

Really Gibbs? Don't know if you should be throwing stones from that glass house. How's the TOTUS lately?
White House mocks Sarah Palin from podium
WASHINGTON (AP) - Even the White House's top spokesman is getting in on the act of mocking former Republican vice presidential nomineeSarah Palin for looking to talking points written on her palm during a speech to "tea party" activists.

Robert Gibbs showed the words "hope" and "change" on his hand as he started his daily briefing with reporters on Tuesday.

Faculty, officials protest testing | | Detroit Free Press

Faculty, officials protest testing | | Detroit Free Press
Some teachers said they were afraid that the test would be used as a political tool to help DPS Financial Manager Robert Bobb lobby the state Legislature for academic control over DPS
Of course it's a political tool. The DPS is a wreck, and every one of them should be afraid for their jobs.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I can't help noting that the outrage and surprise at having unlocked the "douchbag" badge is self-evident.

in reference to:

"A week ago, another thread was started raising the same issue: I’m surprised to have unlocked the “douchebag” badge by checking in to a trendy hotel and must admit that I find the badge name rather offensive. What’s the point of it and why use such a crude name?"
- (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Dangerous ground

If I wasn't so perilously close to being a candidate for AARP, this would bother me. As it is... - Seniors engage in sexting, says AARP

JAMES O’KEEFE: “The government has now confirmed what has always been clear: No one tried to wiret…

On the other hand, it's really hard for the MSM to explain why this important without first pointing to the barely-covered ACORN scandal.
JAMES O’KEEFE: “The government has now confirmed what has always been clear: No one tried to wiret…: "

JAMES O’KEEFE: “The government has now confirmed what has always been clear: No one tried to wiretap or bug Senator Landrieu’s office. Nor did we try to cut or shut down her phone lines. Reports to this effect over the past 48 hours are inaccurate and false.” Yeah, the story’s not totally gone, but it has completely failed to live up to the hopeful — and subsequently retracted — hype from a lot of Big Media outfits that took ages to cover O’Keefe’s ACORN story, but something akin to a Planck Interval to jump on to an embarrassing story about O’Keefe.


There's Your Problem

It's not the job that makes you significant, it's what you do with it.

Otherwise you're just famous.

in reference to:

"What Obama wanted was political power, and that is what sent him to Harvard Law School. "He was constantly thinking about his path to significance and power," another organizer, Mike Kruglik, told me. "He said, 'I need to go there [Harvard] to find out more about power. How do powerful people think? What kind of networks do they have? How do they connect to each other?'""
- (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I truly don’t understand why so many people seem to think Microsoft needs to play catchup to the iPad.

If Microsoft + partners don’t respond, I do see the next version of the iPad making tremendous headway, especially in vertical markets. The current iPad isn’t compelling at this point due to not having a camera, but I suspect version 2 will have it. Cameras are huge in the vertical space, consumers love them too for video chatting. Multi-tasking is a HUGE miss for Apple and one that Microsoft can capitalize on. Apple left some big holes that Microsoft could take advantage of if they act quickly. They have awesome solutions, but shoving Windows 7 down consumers throat won’t win it. Apple iPad has no camera, no multi-tasking, no handwriting reco. Tie it all together in a drop dead simple UI solution and Microsoft, et al might just come out the winner here.

This is ridiculous.  All of the holes that the iPad exhibits are currently plugged by Windows based solutions.

Not only does the iPad lack a camera of any sort, or multitasking, it also lacks voice recognition, pinpoint control with a stylus, or expandability.

They like to talk about use by artists, but unless your artist wants to do fingerpainting, it may not be his thing.

We haven’t even seen stats on this A4 chip, but if I had to guess I’d say it pretty much sucks.  In order to maintain the user experience they’ve crippled the OS to the point where it won’t multitask, and the first person who says that it will be hackable will get a sharp snort and a hearty laugh from me.

Seriously people?  It’s like a big, color Palm IV more than computer.  This is more like That 70’s Show than it is Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.  Same haircuts though.

And a calendar that you flip through like a book?  WTF is that?  Books are a lousy interactive interface, they were just a step up from stone tablets!

Having said all that, the iPad will be a huge hit if M$ & Co. don’t get out there and point that out.  The desperation that I’ve seen as Fanboyz try to make lemons out of lemonade is critical, and they will buy, buy, buy and attack anyone who doesn’t agree with them.  I’ve seen it, been mugged by it while minding my own business.

Honestly, I don’t dislike Apple.  I dislike the ridiculous hype that gets attached to all of their products, the assumption of superiority and innovation where none exists.

The iPad is different.  I can feel a serious frustration building in me because this thing is a weak, lame attempt at a slate computer and the thought of dealing with legions of rabid fanboyz shouting their superiority at me with no other basis than sheer volume is enough to make me want to bang my desk against my iDesk.

How to spur posting in one easy step

I read most of my stuff via Google Reader, and long ago stopped looking at straight news feeds because, well, they didn’t really catch my eye.

But yesterday I added an RSS news feed gadget to my Windows 7 desktop, so selected feeds now scroll constantly.  I’ve put some local news in there and I’m finding that the motion is causing me to occasionally notice some things.

Will this cause me to post more?  Perhaps. 

Will it cause me to read more local news?  So far.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I never thought I’d say this, but I kinda dig this rap song.

John McCain is Consistent

I dunno, are you sure we’ve spent enough?

Sen. John McCain will support President Obama's plan to freeze much of the federal budget for the next three years, but said the president must also promise to veto any bills that are stuffed with pork barrel spending items.

McCain called for this during the campaign.  Somebody thought it was silly.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

America Rising

Politics aside (and I’ll bet you can guess where mine are) (and I’ll also bet you’re at least partly wrong) this video has impact.

This is politics as a Hollywood movie trailer.  It uses an energetic score coupled with images flashed both quickly and slowly, subliminal associations, and an uncomplicated message in plain language.

It’s marketing gold.  This is going to be a very interesting season.

Treacher on Coakley

Jim Treacher works off his indentured servitude by rounding up a bunch of links regarding the Massachusettes Massachusetts race.

Tucker wants me to write about Coakley, but I’m just not sure there’s a humorous angle there | The DC Trawler


And what does it say that I knew what was coming from the first 3 seconds of that last video?

Friday, January 15, 2010

More Lemonade from Lemons

Gotta go count the change in the sofa cushions:


Tone Deaf

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is running an ad about Scott Brown, one of the contenders in the hotly contested Massachusetts Senate race.

They clearly link him to his stance opposing Obamacare, and exhort voters to not “let him derail President Obama’s agenda for change.”

Considering how poorly Obama - and Obamacare specifically - are polling, I’m not sure that’s a good idea.

Harrison Bergeron

In the story Harrison Bergeron those who are exceptional are "handicapped" so that they're no longer above average. Everyone is enforced to be the same.

What happens when everyone is forced to conform with the lowest common denominator?

in reference to: (view on Google Sidewiki)

Summit Palooza

When in doubt, hold a summit! Less talky, more worky!

in reference to:

"“Improving the technology our government uses isn’t about having the fanciest bells and whistles on our websites — it’s about how we use the American people’s hard-earned tax dollars to make government work better for them,” Obama said in a statement. Obama had proposed the meeting in April. CEOs from Craigslist, Facebook, Microsoft, Adobe Technology and are among those taking part."
- White House budget director blames old computers for ineffective government - The Hill's Hillicon Valley (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Do Bullet Proof vests float?

Who knew selling boats was so dangerous?

in reference to:

"A cigarette boat is a slender, fiberglass vessel that is built for small crews and high speeds. The "go-fast" design—which raised the bar for the maximum performance of speedboats—was the brainchild of professional racer Donald Aronow in the 1960s. By the early 1980s he was rich and his boats were legendary, both for breaking speed records and for breaking laws in the Florida Keys as Colombian cocaine smugglers used the speedboats to flee from Coast Guard and other law enforcement officials. Aronow got a multimillion-dollar contract to build an equally quick boat called the Blue Thunder for U.S. Customs agents, but the program ran into problems in 1983 when he sold his business to a man reputed to have drug ties. Aronow bought the company back in 1984, and revived the Blue Thunder order. He was eventually gunned down in the streets of Miami in 1987, allegedly by criminals hired by the short-time, drug-affiliated owner."
- (view on Google Sidewiki)

Learning from Other's Mistakes

It's what civilization is all about!

7 things we CAN tell you about Lost's final season | SCI FI Wire: "'Obviously, not every question is going to be answered, so obviously some people are going to be upset if particular questions don't get resolved,' Cuse said, adding: 'We feel if we just tried to answer questions, it would be very pedantic. Apart from that, we also really embrace this notion that there's a fundamental sort of sense of mystery ... and to sort of demistify that by trying to literally explain everything down to the ... last little ... midichlorian of it all would be a mistake, in our view. So I think there will be hopefully a ... healthy cocktail of answers, mystery, quick character resolutions and some surprises.'"

Harry Reid Alert

There’s been a lot of hay made lately about comments that Harry Reid made.  Ward Connerly makes some very good points:

For my part, I am having a difficult time determining what it was that Mr. Reid said that was so offensive.

Was it because he suggested that lighter-skinned blacks fare better in American life than their darker brothers and sisters? If so, ask blacks whether they find this to be true. Even the lighter-skinned ones, if they are honest with themselves, will agree that there is a different level of acceptance.

Was it because he used the politically incorrect term "negro"? If so, it should be noted that there are many blacks of my generation who continue to embrace this term. In fact, "negro" is an option along with "black" and "African-American" on the 2010 Census.

Was it because he implied that Mr. Obama might be cut some political slack because of his oratorical skills or his looks? If so, that fact was not harmful to Joe Biden, who was elected vice president after praising Mr. Obama as "articulate" and "clean-looking."

Or, finally, could it be viewed as offensive that Mr. Reid suggested that blacks often have a distinctive way of speaking? If that is, indeed, the offense, then I will offend a lot of individuals when I assert that I can tell in probably 90% of the cases whether an individual is black merely by talking to him on the telephone.

This is a fantastic example of being right on the details and wrong on the conclusion.

I agree that there is often more made of racial issues than need to be, and as a result real race issues are completely overlooked.

However, the right has been beat over the head with the race card so many times, valid or not, that it’s not surprising they’d like a little payback.  What’s more, refusing to use this opportunity would directly violate Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, i.e. “Hold the enemy to their own standards.”

I’m not a big fan of Alinsky, but you can’t argue with success.  Politically, the right will continue to be pummeled by scandal after scandal as long as they let their opponents set the rules of engagement.  Sadly, that means that taking the high road and taking a truly objective stance on race is a losing position.

Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Raimi & Co. take the high road

Remember the horrible fate of the Batman movies? Remember how much crap was jammed into Spidey 3? If history is any indicator, Sony tried to push more of the same on Raimi, and he did the right thing and walked.

Spidey 4's dead, Raimi & Maguire out, reboot coming | SCI FI Wire: "Seems like the problems hanging up Spider-Man 4 are more serious than previously reported: Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood is now reporting that director Sam Raimi and his entire cast, led by Tobey Maguire, have dropped out and that Son Pictures will reboot the series with a new director and new cast for 2012."

The Future of Transportation

High-speed rail. I can't wait.

in reference to:

"Amtrak says it will pay hotel rooms for passengers who need them. It will also offer refunds on a case by case basis. Because of the weather, the rail carrier is suspending service past Minneapolis today. Trains between Chicago and Denver have also been suspended until tracks can be cleared. In a similar incident, an Amtrak train bound from Denver arrived 23 hours late. A third train which runs from San Antonio to Chicago derailed in St. Louis yesterday, temporarily stranding 176 passengers and a crew of nine"
- (view on Google Sidewiki)

How to Keep a Laptop on Life Support Until the Transplant comes

From Mark Kayser, we see a terrific example of making lemonade with lemons:

What really impresses me here is the results, and the indication of how important cooling is for CPU's, particularly in the cramped space inside a laptop.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Word of the Day is CAS

This makes elegant, organic sense to me.

My readers might well ask, at this point, “Great. Does this mean we’re screwed?” If a meritocracy drawn from the brightest, best-educated people in history can’t cope with our future, what do we do next?

The answer is, I think implied by three words: Adapt, decentralize, and harden. Levels of environmental complexity that defeat planning are readily handled by complex adaptive systems. A CAS doesn’t try to plan against the future; instead, the agents in it try lots of adaptive strategies and the successful ones propagate. This is true whether the CAS we’re speaking of is a human immune system, a free market, or an ecology.

Since we can no longer count on being able to plan, we must adapt. When planning doesn’t work, centralization of authority is at best useless and usually harmful. And we must harden: that is, we need to build robustness and the capacity to self-heal and self-defend at every level of the system. I think the rising popular sense of this accounts for the prepper phenomenon. Unlike old-school survivalists, the preppers aren’t gearing up for apocalypse; they’re hedging against the sort of relatively transient failures in the power grid, food distribution, and even civil order that we can expect during the lag time between planning failures and CAS responses.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Race is Long

Google and Apple's approach are diametrically opposed.

Apple wants complete control of the environment to ensure their vision of a complete user experience.

Google wants to give people choices to find the experience that they want.

Apple will succeed if people, other than their rabid fanboy base, are in fact sheeple.

Guess what, this battle has been fought before, and Gates & Co. won that round. While Apple remained the "premium" brand, the rest of the computer industry bowed to economics and went with more pragmatic solutions.

The real danger to Apple at this point is that the more exposure they get, the more the deficiencies become apparent.

in reference to:

"Mark my words: Google's gonna make it interesting, but Apple's got the innovation, expertise and most important, the experience in software AND hardware to end up on top."
- (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Rocket Launcher Found in Texas Home

Apparently the rocket launcher was unarmed, and there’s no harm in that, but it’s part of a pattern:

The woman did tell police that the rocket launcher belonged to Nabilaye I. Yansane, someone whom she allowed to store items at her apartment.

Police records show that she didn't want Yansane at her apartment, so she called them.

According to court documents, officers also found Jihadist writings that allegedly belonged to Yansane. The woman didn't want to talk to KPRC Local 2 about that, either.

"I don't know," she said. "You'll have to ask the police."

Yansane was charged with criminal trespassing and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to three days in jail, which he has already served. No charges related to the rocket launcher or writings were filed.

"Other people could have had access to the apartment, so maybe if a rocket launcher was located there, as is stated in the offense report, maybe it belonged to somebody else," attorney Garl Polland said.

Prosecutors said there are no state charges for having the unarmed launcher or possessing Jihadist writings, unless they contain some type of threat.

The former director of Houston's FBI office said rocket launchers can be dangerous if they're in the wrong hands.

"I don't know any other use for those weapons except in combat," Don Clark said. "I've had them in combat, used them in combat. That's what they are used for."

Houston police said they did a thorough investigation and did not find any ties to terrorists or a terrorist network.

His name had better not show up in the news again, especially if there’s a body count attached.