Monday, July 01, 2002
Here's the opening paragraph of the "news" story that pushed me over the edge:
THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The first permanent1 world criminal court, dreamed of2 for decades, became a reality on Monday -- even as the United States fought tooth and nail3 to avoid its jurisdiction over humanity's most heinous4 crimes5.
[Similar text appeared as part of the caption for this Reuters photo.]
1) Permanent? We'll just see about that. Persisting, pestering, perpetual, open-ended perhaps, but permanent? Pie-in-the-sky, I say.
2) Dreamed of by whom? Certainly by the author, for one.
3) Having an opinion and using diplomacy to further your view, when practiced by mere Americans, is fighting tooth and nail.
4) As created this kangaroo court will have the ability to reach within borders and deal with entirely domestic issues, potentially criminalizing legitimate acts by civilians and government officials alike.
5) The only crimes they will bother with are crimes by the west against others. Call me with an update after they indict Saddam Hussein, Osama
Bin Laden, and/or Yassir Arafat.
Thursday, June 27, 2002
So, what is going on with the homeless?
I've written before about how the most notable difference between reality and a Tom Clancy novel lies in the real world's lack of thoughtful, efficient government bureaucrats.
It turns out that the truth is even more bleak than that. Not only do federal workers lack the zeal of their fictional counterparts, USA Today reports that many of them are there merely for their paycheck, and for no other reason. Like standing in a dole queue, but with an office, and good benefits.
No wonder the public has again lost faith in the government. The public's increased pride in federal workers after Sept. 11 has been flattened by persistent cynicism about what makes the government tick. Before Sept. 11, the vast majority of Americans said federal employees cared more about keeping their jobs than helping the public -- and we've found that the vast majority still thinks so today.Worse still, employees that do show initiative, creativity and foresight might not only be shown the door, they risk an FBI investigation and loss of their security clearance. The San Francisco Gate has an article today about Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, a biodefense researcher who in 1999 commissioned a study depicting the effects of a hypothetical anthrax attack using the mail to distribute the anthrax.
In fact, the public may be right. In a Brookings Institution Center for Public Service poll that we are releasing today, two-thirds of the federal employees interviewed this spring said they took their job for its security, pay and benefits -- not the chance to help people, make a difference or accomplish something worthwhile. Two out of five said they come into work solely for the paycheck, while fewer than one in 20 said they show up to help the public.
I suppose that showing initiative is suspicious behavior for a federal employee, anyway. Is it any wonder that the administration griped about how things were "outside the scope of imagination," given that the federal government is filled with drones?
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
In all its pre-interview airing hype, Couric and the crew at Today made it seem like the biographer's conclusion was that the Gipper is an airhead. Note the lack of the word "apparent", and the lack of explanation that that was merely Mr. Morris' first impression, which he came to change.
The author talked about how when he first met Reagan he though he was an "apparent airhead," but over time he came to know that Reagan was "a very bright man."
Either the Today show was intentionally lying to build hype about the story, or they were totally incompetent in reading the book (if they even bothered to read the book), or they were biased in their presentation, taking the release of the book as an opportunity to independently slander
I leave to the reader to decide if they did this to further an ideology, or merely to hype a story to improve their ratings.
I also posted the transcripts here, in case the link above doesn't work.
There, I did it, I gave away one of my greatest sources of fun stuff.
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Other than the Stampede, the main story in Calgary media when I visited there in 1999 concerned the province's attempt to allow private clinics to open. Unhappy with their ration of socialized medicine doled out by Ottawa, Albertans wanted to supplement their local health care system with a private pay-for-care system. So far as I know the national government never allowed this to happen. Under Canada's current system, private health care is illegal.
"Interesting things happen to two adjacent countries with dissimilar health care funding and delivery mechanisms". For years we've heard that Canadians head south of the border to acquire needed and/or wanted healthcare in the United States that they simply could not or would not wait for any longer, sometimes with the blessing and assistance of Canada's nationalized system. Heading north with busloads of seniors seeking lower cost, Bernie Sanders draws attention to this discrepancy in cross border pricing, without ever bothering to draw any conclusions about tort reform.
Well, some enterprising Canadians have taken a cue from Bernie and organized a bus trip to the U.S. for Canadian patients not receiving needed care from their socialized government health care system.
Free will, what a concept.
Monday, June 24, 2002
California's electricity crisis was the result of demand getting "too close" to available supply as well as the economic and regulatory disincentives that blunted new power-plant development, the U.S. General Accounting Office said in a report released Monday.
With the GAO report dispelling the assertion that market manipulation alone caused the power crunch, "We need to move forward to find solutions to correct this problem and fix the California electricity market," [Rep. Doug]Ose [R - Capitalism] said.
Ose also found support in the GAO study for his demand that federal energy regulators act to end control of the state's power-grid administrator by appointees of Gov. Gray Davis.
The report cited state control of the California Independent System Operator, or CAISO, and concerns that the power-purchasing state Department of Water Resources will receive favorable treatment in the state's electricity market, as contributing to regulatory uncertainty stalling investment in new generation in California.
"As I have repeatedly said, Gov. Davis's control of the CAISO is a serious problem for California," Ose said. "When the government controls the marketplace and simultaneously represents the largest market participant, it sends a chilling signal to other market participants," he said.
Unless the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission acts soon to address the governance issue, the state will again face supply shortages, blackouts and spiking prices, Ose said.
Target not only calls its customers "Guests", it calls all of its drones "Team Members".
Blogger bleat thyself.
Found via The Hub.
This strikes me as rather disingenuous.
Had the FBI thwarted the 9/11 attacks it would have claimed a crime-fighting victory. It certainly would have included any terrorist arrests in its statistics for the year.
Excluding the 9/11 murders is yet another attempt by the feebs to sweep their failures under the carpet, and a dishonest one at that.
Sunday, June 23, 2002
Film It, and It Will Suck
Kevin Costner returns to the big screen in "Terms of Indifference." You'll shrug, you'll chuckle, you'll be lulled to sleep. Combining the drama of The Postman with the passion of Waterworld, Terms of Indifference will bring together for the first time the director of Cabin Boy with the producers of Welcome to the Dollhouse and the screenwriting team from Steel Dawn.
Seriously, what the hell happened to Costner. I surf by Field of Dreams and I can kiss the rest of the afternoon goodbye.
Tin Cup was serviceable, though mostly because of Rene Russo looking the best she ever has outside of The Thomas Crown Affair, and the screen power of Don Johnson and Cheech Marin in their only joint venture outside of "Nash Bridges."
Now I just want to take Terrence Mann's bat and beat my TV.
Saturday, June 22, 2002
- Rational Ignorance
- Dismayed over U.S. world cup Loss
- Catatonic after seeing this guy.
[And wondering about the missing "A".]
- You know that bumper sticker that says "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention."
- Spent day in line at bank waiting to exchange my greenbacks for euros.
Friday, June 21, 2002
Thursday, June 20, 2002
[Found Via Group Captain Lionel Mandrake VC, AFC, RAF (Retd.).]
The "standard" FAA passenger weight is 170 pounds. The seats are designed to support this payload up to 2.5 g's. There is little, if any reserve strength in the seats.
Transport catagory aircraft are designed to operate at gross weight with a plus or minus 1.75 g loading ([It has] been a long time [since I worked on this], but I think that it is correct, right around 2 g's or so.)
A 350 pound (or larger) passenger will damage a typical airline seat in a hard landing or during an encounter with severe turbulence. If the turbulence is bad enough, the seat can totally fail and injure a passenger seated in the row behind .
I have repaired many seats damaged by "plus" sized passengers. The airlines have every right to charge extra for such passengers, it costs more to haul their butts around the sky.
Fatties cry foul over airlines charging double fare
Sunday, December 17, 2000
Airlines in America will be able to charge obese customers an extra fare if they spill on to adjacent seats after a judge dismissed a lawsuit by a 135kg woman who sued for discrimination.
The decision angered America's politically correct lobby and shocked observers who had grown used to the country's tireless campaigners for equal rights.
Cynthia Luther, from California, complained after Southwest Airlines asked her to pay for her own, plus a neighbouring, seat. The airline said her bulk made the adjacent seat unusable.
Miss Luther claimed this was "fat discrimination".
The airline initially told Miss Luther she would have to hire a seatbelt extension because the regular ones were not long enough to fit round her.
Then Southwest told her she would have to buy the other seat or not be allowed on the flight.
The airline tried to soften the blow by telling Miss Luther she would be entitled to receive two snacks - one for each fare she had purchased.
Miss Luther filed a discrimination lawsuit claiming the airline harassed and embarrassed her. But Superior Court Judge Marilyn Hoffman agreed with Southwest lawyer Arthur Willner.
"The procedure and policy is directed in any situation where it appears for whatever reason a passenger might significantly encroach on another passenger," she said.
After asking for a bunch of demographics, the bottom half of the ad goes on:
What part of Beinggirl.com interests you? (Check as many as apply.)[UPDATE: Reader "Sam" cautions that this might be some "sort of a sting operation." While I welcome the caution, concern, and paranoia, I'm pretty sure there is no attempted entrapment here. I just think that Yahoo is doing its advertisers a great disservice by not targeting its adverts more carefully.]
- Community: It's all about going through it with other teens just like me. [And/Or dirty old men.]
- Mind & Body: I like straight talk about what's going on with me. [And I hate my parents.]
- Puberty & Periods: It's like having a big sister online. ["Big sister" just got out on good behavior.]
- Product Info: Somebody tell me how to use this stuff already! [No way even I touch this one.]
- Relationships & Sex: So what's the real deal with friends, family, and boys? [And Priests?]
After searching you, the "guards" will be forced with the decision to take away the Bill of Rights from you, as part of a warrantless search!
[Security Edition found via Penn Jillette's site via the rather bizarre 8128.org. Thanks!]
- Rehab State of Mind (Newsday)
- A bottle of Red? Joel reportedly treated for alcohol addiction (Stamford Advocate)
- Not a headline, but the first sentence of the E! Online story reads "Billy Joel is apparently looking for a substance-free state of mind."
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
When you get to your seat during pre-boarding, raise the armrest between seats. This may give you the inch or two of extra space you need. The chances are that the passenger who will be seated next to you won't say anything; if he does, smile pleasantly and say that you'll both be more comfortable if the armrest is up.In just a few sentences Jean Soncrant and Lynn McAffee manage to be sexist, selfish, fake, annoying, imposing and downright dishonest.
Fatties can provide anti-hijacking airliner security while riding in the comfort of free first class upgrades, so long as they promise to sit on the bad guys. (Value carriers, shuttle flights, and other single class flights will need another plan.)
From Item #1:
While buying a ticket for a Southwest flight from Sacramento to Burbank, Calif., he was told he'd need to buy an extra ticket."Says he's never been accused of taking up more than a single seat."
The reason? He's what the airline calls "a person of size" - the PC term, evidently, for someone so large he may need more than one seat.
McAllister is, in fact, a big man - 6 feet 2 inches, 350 pounds. But the former college football player says he's never been accused of taking up more than a single seat on a flight.
Note, he does not deny that he does take up more than a single seat, he only claims that he's never been accused of taking up more than a single seat. People are probably afraid to tell this behemoth much of anything. Or, unlike he, they display a modicum of civility when flying.
From Item #2:
Police in Maryland say a man who tried to rob a store died after a customer sat on him.
He was sat on by a six foot two man who weighed 280 pounds after he was spotted stuffing packs of cigarettes into a bag.
A wildfire burning in Alaska's interior was ignited by state biologists using firecrackers to ward off an aggressive cow moose, officials said on Tuesday.I wonder how much he elevated moose-calf mortality by burning down 92,000 acres of forest? How about next time you just shoot the damn moose and get on with your business?
The 92,000-acre wildfire, which started last month and is burning spruce forest south of McGrath, was inadvertently started during a field study into elevated calf mortality.
The Chinese government's one-child policy makes matters worse. Worried that runaway population growth would devour China's scarce resources of food and water, the government in 1979 began limiting most families to one child -- sometimes forcing women to have abortions and fining couples who had a second child.I probably deserve a "stating the obvious" award for this, but Communism isn't a very hopeful ideology. I like to think that if we faced a population crisis in the U.S., we would look for ways to increase our productivity to support the growing population. Having none of optimism or hope, the Red Chinese threw up their hands, declared that they would not be able to support so large a population, and set out to kill off future Chinese generations by the tens of millions.
Think of this next time you see that GE advertisement for its portable ultrasound machine. Like all technology, even a seemingly innocuous piece of gear like an ultrasound system, can be used to perform evil acts. In China, even though it is technically outlawed to disclose gender as a result of an ultrasound, parents often make the decision to abort female fetuses.
The article goes on to list the four ways that societies have historically dealt with this problem, and the Chinese are already doing three:
- Imposing authoritarian rule
- Sending them off to war
- Dispatching them to public works projects far from the cities
- Co-opting them with jobs in security forces
Tuesday, June 18, 2002
Maybe we shouldn't complain. They could call it FatherLand or MotherLand security...
This reminds me a bit of an excellent post that Mike Trossman wrote on the connection between Patriotism and Pop Culture. (If archive does not work, try the link to his front page and scroll down to June 16,2002.)
Monday, June 17, 2002
Cultures produce curious strictures that seem bizarre and ridiculous to other societies. But the fewer taboos a society has, the more important they are, the more they are observed, and the more likely the society to be progressive and adaptive because it’s not picking its way through a mine field every time it points a camera at the heavens or dissects a human body. You can almost look at the position of dogs in a culture as a barometer of social health - on one end, hatred of dogs; in the middle, tolerance and consumption of dogs, and on the other end love of dogs so intense there are surgeons who specialize in reconstructing their hips so they may chase squirrels three years into their second decade.
Hypothesis: To hate dogs you have to hate the part of yourself dogs represent. Frolic. Drooling enthusiasm. Blind trust. Perhaps at the absolute extreme some see dogs as an affront to God because they live in the moment, unconscious of tomorrow let alone eternity, and have no desire to govern their appetites. Show them a steak and they deploy that pale purple tentacle and stare at you with desire. They have no word for shame.
Sunday, June 16, 2002
I'm reminded of the 1999 Shasta-Trinity Forest fire stared by a BLM employee conducting a "controlled burn". Of course, in that case the employee was not so much to blame as was the ridiculous policy of attempting a "controlled burn" in a forest filled with an unnaturally high concentration of fuel, fuel present only because of the enviro-whack agenda of not utilizing natural resources.
Saturday, June 15, 2002
Friday, June 14, 2002
Compare that reaction to what happened when a similar thing recently happened in Scott City, Kansas. Officer Doug Haire left his canine locked in a police cruiser for three hours on a hot day, killing the dog. Haire resigned his position from the police department following public outcry, stating that he quit because "basically I'm responsible for the dog." The local prosecutor is considering filing animal cruelty charges against the officer, though as yet there is no talk of filing a civil suit against the officer for the $8,000 value of the dog he negligently destroyed.
Remember this next time somebody refers to a small town police force as amateurish, "Barney Fife" like, or calls them a bunch of goat ropers. It may be how the local media values animals, it could be local values, or it just may be that small town police officers are different than their big city cousins -- They still take responsibility for their actions, they don't hide behind all powerful unions, and they have the good sense to admit when they make a mistake.
I was dismayed to read that Eclipse had its hand out grubbing for government assistance. Eclipse lobbied hard to get in on the government guaranteed loan program created after 9/11 to help airlines recover, even though it has yet to produce a single aircraft. In a twisted way, Eclipse will arguably benefit from the damage done to commercial airlines by 9/11, as those with the means to afford an aircraft like this will have an even better reason to avoid commercial travel. So much for capitalism.
This system not only wastes resources, I believe it is very susceptible to spoofing. Send one person to the head of the line with a very big, loaded carry-on bag with many "items" of interest and they could tie up the guards for a very long time.
Monday, June 10, 2002
How Appealing-- Howard Bashman's blog devoted to appellate litigation. It is of a similar quality to the excellent New York State Law Digest, but daily, and national in scope!
Daily Probe-- Satirical newspaper that vows to "Outwit, Outmock and Outrage, Because Real News Sucks." More hit and run than Da Zwiebel. My favorite over there is the running joke of Travistan, a sovreign apartment nation ruled by the benevolent, and hilarious Travis Ruetenik. [Make sure to use the dailyprobe.com link. "TheDailyProbe.com" is something else entirely!]
A young man is out so late at night that it is now early in the morning. He bangs on the door of a house, repeatedly, scaring the elderly residents who shoot and kill him. Strange thing is that he has no criminal record, and as of now no one seems to know why he was at that house. Some of his friends speculate that he might have been out looking for the next party of the night/morning and that he went to the wrong house. He had been at a party earlier in the evening eight doors down on the other side of the street. The paper did not indicate if toxicology tests have been ordered or returned yet.
If the slain in this case had been a Japanese national student instead of a white assistant manager at Footlocker just starting his eight day vacation, maybe this shooting would have made the national news. As it is this will likely never be spoken of again outside of Plattsburgh city limits. Funny how the "equality" loving mainstream media treat individuals so differently based upon external characteristics. To be fair, post 9/11 tragedies seem a bit muted, and there is no 'culture-clash' angle on this story. Still, why was Yoshihiro Hattori's life so much more valuable to the media, if not for the ability to play the race card?
The college lists a staff of 19 priests, eight brothers, one sister, six lay professors and student body of 97.Catholics may need to find a new word to describe the non-ordained.
Tom Ridge faces the same problem in his current post, though he lacks the sense to resign. Further, I think he lacks the skills necessary to do a good job even if given the necessary authority. The fact that he took a job with so much responsibility and absolutely no authority is the biggest strike against him.
[Link to article found via Airliners.net's new feed.]
Sunday, June 09, 2002
"And typical porn is actually far worse than this. Mostly the models have a vacant-eyed, stunned look to them."Stunned may just be part of the story. I think it was Jay Leno, long before he got totally boring, corporate and straight laced, who used to tell a joke about how all the women in lower-tier porn, "Always have one pupil bigger than the other, and they have a look in their eye that says 'Can I get my money now?'" For many of them I suspect that posing is the last step before prostitution, if not merely moonlighting on their pimp, or working to pay their dealer. For an alternate theory of their origin and motivation, see Jim Belushi's Greedy Show #5.
I exclude, for some reason, soft-core produced by big money firms with big money budgets. Maybe the difference between porn and erotica isn't just the the quality of women, or the photographer's choice of pose, exposure (pardon the pun), lighting and focal length, but the difference between cheap and expensive. Like the difference between eccentric and crazy, or alcoholic and wino, societally acceptable soft-core porn may be acceptable simply because it has a large bankroll. Taking pictures of successful, highly paid models does not have the air of desperation seen in low budget productions.
Perhaps that is why amateur stuff is so compelling. Somebody not doing it because they need the money hasn't hit rock bottom. Yet. [I'm tempted to re-link to the David Brin piece on "Living in an Age of Amateurs," but I don't want to sully his work with links to such gutter topics.]
I make no judgment about the good or bad of letting someone take pornographic pictures of you for money, but in the real world people typically have to fall pretty far before they will pose for Screw, Oui or Hustler. Sure, lots of girls (and I do mean girls) dream of using an appearance in Playboy as a stepping stone to a better life, but posing pretty much anywhere else means the end of your old, good life, and entre into a shitty world filled with thugs, predators, cretins and users.
With all that said, Unablogger does offer some amazingly high quality photographs, which you may or not consider to be good porn.
Saturday, June 08, 2002
Friday, June 07, 2002
Tonight, driving home from date night, encountering a few potentially homicidal drivers, I asked my wife
TC: Would you rather be happy or smart?
Without missing a beat. Beautiful!
"He did not do it, he wasn't there, and he never confessed. I believe in him, I will believe for the next six months, three years -- or however long it takes."
The wife of the European Central Bank chief has left Amsterdam for her holiday home in France after outraging her Jewish neighbours by draping a Palestinian flag over her balcony and blaming Palestinian's woes on an "elite club of rich American Jews".
Displaying pictures of young children producing soccer balls for typical third world wages, Harkin wants to take their jobs away in the face of a possible war with India.
Now how's that for a kick in the shins.
(Harkin missed the real story about the balls at the World Cup. This year they switched to an extra-lively ball that doesn't fly straight. The latest reports, however, say that the balls are being underinflated.)
[Later in day update - 3:20PM] Upon further reflection, this should not have surprised me at all. Most of our elected representatives seem more than comfortable squabbling over domestic policy during a time of foreign conflict. The next logical step was for them to start squabling over other nations' domestic policies during their time of foreign conflict.
Thursday, June 06, 2002
Volokh dismissed your notion that there's a dichotomy between measures taken against implements and measures taken against terrorists. I think he's right in theory but wrong in practice. We could go after both, but we don't. "Taking measures against terrorists" would in practice mean profiling, some of which would be based in race, which we don't dare do, so we concentrate on the implements. If we shed our racial profiling compunctions, we'd probably allocate our resources best by forgetting about the implements and concentrating on the enemy.I think I made my point, though not quite as well as you did.
I think you could have hit him a little harder on this.
As for not "hitting him a little harder on this," all I can say is that I learned long ago to allow good teachers to go off on tangents. When a teacher the quality of Professor Volokh picks one point and hammers you on it, there is usually a valuable lesson to be learned where they take the discussion.
In this case I learned that my plan would likely be unworkable in today's society. How and why we got to a point where so few people provide for their own self-defense on a day to day basis is a debate for another day. And heck, does it surprise anyone that a law school professor wanted to drive the direction of a conversation?
[Isntapundit also has a piece on racial profiling.]
Wednesday, June 05, 2002
Well, be alone no more because the The Finger Lakes Independence Center (FLIC), supported in part by the United Way of Tompkins County, has a dating service for you. Feel free to comment about this on FLIC's bulletin board.
Tuesday, June 04, 2002
"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity," wrote Sigmund Freud in his "General Introduction to Psychoanalysis."
Recently your paper quoted me as saying that my unit was ordered to kill women and children.
I would like to clarify this quote and provide more context.
Prior to the operation, we were made aware of the fact that the hostile forces of the Whaleback might include women and children. In that event, if those women and children showed hostile intent, we were ordered to kill them as hostile forces, just like any other hostile force we encountered. However, this does not mean that we were ordered to slaughter noncombatants such as babies.
We were further informed that some of these children are trained starting at a very young age to be soldiers. Knowing this, we could not afford to just dismiss them as noncombatants.
However, I do not want anyone to get the idea that we were ever sent out to kill anyone and anything that moves. We are better than that, both as a military unit and as a society.
Cayuga Heights, May 31
Monday, June 03, 2002
In a statement, (Spielberg) said he wanted to complete his bachelor-degree requirements "as a 'thank you' to my parents...and as a personal note for my own family--and young people everywhere--about the importance of achieving their college education goals."
That message, "Earning a Bachelor's degree is not important. Hell, look at me. I'm talented and successful, and not having a stupid piece of paper never held me back."
Now, before you go thinking that The Comedian (Damn third person is just too easy to use given that I title this blog with "The Comedian") is a bitter non-college graduate, I should point out that I have a Bachelor's degree from one of those Ivy League institutions, and a JD from a lesser school.
I just don't get people's belief that they need a piece of paper, or what it represents, to feel complete. Spielberg would have better spent his time teaching others. He is a gifted and unique individual who should not need external validation of his success.
Some of the most vital work ever done on Capitol Hill will begin behind closed doors this week as efforts to prevent another Sept. 11 type attack compete with election-year politics.Time for another quiz. Is the preceding passage the opening of:
1) A lead editorial in the NY Times; or,
2) The first blog I scanned this morning; or,
3) The latest George Will Column; or,
4) A Reuter's News Story?
Click here for the answer.
For bonus points tell me why I thought this was blog-worthy.
Sunday, June 02, 2002
Save the price of admission and just watch this wonderful Triumph the Insult Dog piece about fans waiting for the opening of the film. Triumph's ten minutes are far more rewarding than Lucas's latest debacle. Meesa wish Me no paya for da filme.
UPDATE: Upon further reflection, I realize that this is a flatly acted movie portraying characters with whom the audience shares no interest. Joyless characters run through beautiful backdrops and I couldn't bring myself to care whether they died or not, knowing full well which characters had to survive until at least episode three. I must admit I enjoyed watching Natalie Portman's in her white bodysuit during the final act, though I think Lucas played a bit with her body, digitally. (No pun intended.) It is of note that I enjoyed watching Natilie, though I couldn't give a crap about Padme...