For the first time since moving to Los Angeles, there is fire visible from my bedroom window. Until now, all the fires have been over the nearby mountains.

High unemployment

Why do people live here again?

This had me in tears...

...because I was laughing so hard. I do this at least once a week at work:

Pointless Posturing at the Expense of Students

The Franklin school district is making a stand:
Williamson County school officials cancelled field trips and rescheduled sporting events because of the law. One of the sporting event canceled includes a large county-wide cross-country meet at Bowie Nature Park in Fairview.

Williamson County is one of few local governments that decided to uphold the new state law allowing guns in parks.

Franklin's is an excellent school system. But this decision makes no sense at all. I wonder what the school officials' reasoning is. Do they think that the previous legal ban on guns kept murderous psychos out of the parks, but now those psychos will feel free to shoot up the place?

More here, with comments:

James King's son is a Fairview Middle School student who runs cross-country and who had planned to volunteer at the park's upcoming Nature Fest on Sept. 12. Now, King said, not only will his son not be going to the park for school activities, the whole family will be steering clear of the park. "I just don't feel comfortable going over there now," he said. "Anybody's that's that paranoid, that they think they have to be protected to go to the park, I feel sorry for them."

Suppose guns are allowed in 98% of a state. Then a new law expands that to 99%. I suppose a guy could then decide to avoid that new 1%. But why isn't he bothered when his family is somewhere in the original 98%?

Conclusion from reading the comments... we're not in Massachusetts any more.

Speaking of Bumper Stickers

How's this for multi-layered humor?

Well, I think it's funny. Thought the Bush version was fun too.

Early adopter

Newsflash!: Government adopts technology that private business has been using for years!!!
NYC to track its building inspectors with GPS
(Via Drudge)

Rocko Hasn't Aged a Bit!

Nostalgia for my sister: Ride the Reading Rocket.

Ann says: Dude, I was 2! This was before my time!

What, you don't remember this? I think we watched an episode or two for laughs around 1980 or so. It was in the "so bad it's good" category.

Ann says: I think you have the wrong sister...considering your big sis is singing the theme song at me at the moment! and I'm still clueless.

Politicizing the NEA

Lots of people have mentioned the sleazy use of the NEA by Obama to use artists as a political arm of the White House. Here's a link from Nick Gillespie at Reason.

I have a dissenting view: Does anyone actually think that a bunch of leftist artists are actually going to do anything to change anyone's mind? The only people who pay attention to their art are fellow leftists, the rest of us wrote the whole lot of them off long ago.

Sure, it's awful that our tax money is going to promote Obama's propaganda, but I don't actually think this is an effective strategy for the White House.

By the way, as I'm fond of telling the kids: Propaganda comes in all shapes and sizes and is very hard to kill.

Death brings a life line

Perhaps Obama can gain a little from Kennedy's death, particularly, if they rename the initiative.

A crash and burn for Kennedycare will hurt him less than a crash and burn for Obamacare.

Blast from the past

Ages ago, way back on 9/11/07, my brother posted about this bumper sticker.

He said:
I don't want to split hairs or anything, but isn't there something missing here? A religion of roughly a billion people? And when did "transgender" become a philosophy?
Perhaps he'd like this one better:

Which I found on the Threedonia website.

Seems more appropriate for 9/11 than the other one, and the missing billions are taken care of. I also like the way modern multi-cultural relativists are included.

We Got a Comment!

Always surprising... we got a comment! I disagree with it.

I don't want to seem like a crank. I think our insurance system is messed up and needs some reform. If, in particular, we as a society need to ensure that health care is available to the "uninsurable", then I think it could be done with some sort of assigned risk or similar pool. But a system where a sick uninsured person can walk up to a single insurance company and demand it pay for his health care is absurd. Unless, perhaps, such payments by the insurer could be taken as a corporate tax credit! If we as a society want to insure the uninsured, then we should pay for it.

Cameras and Crime

There is an ongoing debate about the placement of police cameras in my old town of Brookline MA, and in other cities as well. The issues are public safety and privacy. There is also a question of how effective cameras are. I find myself agreeing more and more with the public safety advocates, and am finding the privacy position less and less strong. First and foremost, to put it bluntly:

Get over yourself!

Nobody is monitoring your activities. Nobody is following you about town via camera. Frankly, nobody gives a **** what you are up to. You think there is some officer assigned to you in a room somewhere writing reports to The Central Authority? Logging your whereabouts and activities?

7:52pm - Subject leaves apartment
7:59pm - Enters Whole Foods
8:15pm - Emerges with roast chicken and tube of toothpaste

Give me a break. You are not that important.

London has a million cameras. Do you think they are all monitored? Of course not. In fact, the more cameras they add, the more privacy their citizens are likely to have. Tapes from cameras are only looked at when there has been a serious crime committed. Note that the article above states that only one crime was solved by each 1,000 CCTV cameras in London last year. But this may simply mean that most crimes are easily solved, or that petty crime does not warrant the cost of looking through the tapes. What about serious crime? The report says an estimated "70% of murder investigations have been solved with the help of CCTV retrievals and most serious crime investigations have a CCTV investigation strategy." That is a spectacularly high percentage, in my opinion. Note also that evidence regarding two recent serious sexual assaults in Brookline was in fact caught on tape.

Sure, police may catch criminals even without video tape, but that is not the whole story. There is also the trial phase. A tape showing the criminal at the scene of the crime at a specific time is great evidence for a prosecutor to have. And doesn't having videotape decrease the likelihood of a false identification? If I were accused of a crime I didn't commit, I would be praying to God that there were police cameras rolling near the scene.

Oddly, the privacy advocates don't seem to have many specifics of just how cameras violate their privacy. Can this be explained a bit better? If one is in a public place, how much privacy should one expect? If I set up a webcam and point it out the window, am I violating your privacy? Isn't there some way to ensure that government acquired tapes are not available without a court order? I wouldn't have any objection to that. But I don't get the objection to the whole concept of cameras in public places.

As a side note, I suspect my opinion here has changed over time. Previously I might have been more of a Libertarian idealist and an opponent of a Snooping State. I would say I have... "matured."

Ann says: My biggest objection would be the level of staffing to maintain and watch the cameras. Does it mean creating an army of camera-watchers who spend time flicking between screens looking for something. If it is mostly-automated and requires little staffing, that's not so bad. A big camera-bureaucracy, I can do without!

Yes, I agree. I can't believe there is an army of humans looking through 1 million cameras in London. The cost is another issue, and a good one.'s an idea

Consider this from Pennsylvania:
With uncertainty about whether Pennsylvania's film tax credit will be authorized in the state budget - now in Day 56 of limbo - the supernatural thriller [written and produced by M. Night Shyamalan] has relocated production to Toronto.

Though the filmmaker has shot eight of his nine features in the Philadelphia region - for an estimated economic impact of $375 million, according to the local film office - his backers couldn't wait any longer for legislators to approve the incentive that brings filmmaking and jobs to the state.

"Last week, at the 11th hour, Devil withdrew its application for credits because of uncertainty with respect to whether film tax credits would be in the state budget," Jane Saul, director of the Pennsylvania Film Office, said yesterday. "This is an obvious sign that without the film tax credit in place, we lose film business, and in turn, jobs."
So...lower taxes on the film business increases revenue and economic activity...

I about we lower business taxes across the board!

Gee, that couldn't possibly work to encourage businesses to create more business, could it?

I'm a Believer!

A report on a survey of beliefs about what health care reform will bring:

Among the results on items the White House considers myths:

67 percent of respondents believe that wait times for health care services, such as surgery, will increase... [I believe that. Who doesn't? ]

About five out of 10 believe the federal government will become directly involved in making personal health care decisions... [Of course it will. Duh!]

Roughly six out of 10 Americans believe taxpayers will be required to pay for abortions... [I believe this too. How can you not believe this, and at the same time not believe in the previous "myth"?]

46 percent believe reforms will result in health care coverage for all illegal immigrants... [Even if not designed to cover illegal aliens, if no one checks immigration status, they will be effectively be covered.]

54 percent believe the public option will increase premiums for Americans with private health insurance... [I don't see why it would. It's more likely that coverage mandates would increase premiums.]

Five out of 10 think cuts will be made to Medicare in order to cover more Americans... [I'm not sure.]

Fewer participants believe "myths" regarding the impact of proposed changes on current health insurance coverage. For instance, less than 30 percent think private insurance coverage will be eliminated. And just 36 percent think a public insurance option will put private insurance companies out of business. [Just 36%??? Isn't that a lot?]

In addition, only three out of 10 respondents believe the government will require the elderly to make decisions about how and when they will die. [Again, only 3/10? For such an emotional issue, that seems like a lot.]

    So it looks like I'm a myth believer.

    More to the point, how obnoxious that the White House calls these "myths." Most, if not all, are differences in opinion, no?

    The wrong Avatar

    237 million dollars for this?

    Which looks suspiciously like a blue version of this:

    That's Jim Henson's "Dark Crystal", in case you were wondering.

    I think I'll wait for this Avatar:

    Besides if I had to choose between the ever-cheesy and brute-force storyteller Cameron, and the far more challenging and subtle Shyamalan, I'll take Shyamalan any day.

    Steve Says: The Avatar pic reminds me of this. Cameron will always be ok with me no matter what, because he directed Aliens. But I agree, I think I would rather see a Shyamalan flick these days; I am one of the very few people who actually liked Lady in the Water.

    Keeping the Faith

    I laughed out loud at this article
    But can Congress require every American to buy health insurance? In short, no. The Constitution assigns only limited, enumerated powers to Congress and none, including the power to regulate interstate commerce or to impose taxes, would support a federal mandate requiring anyone who is otherwise without health insurance to buy it.

    I know we were all taught in school that the Constitution limits federal power, but does anyone really believe that any more? The authors are partners in the D.C. office of Baker Hostetler LLP and served in the Justice Department under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. I salute their faith, even if I don't share it. I am sorry to say that I think the Constitution is essentially dead. There is really very little, if anything, that limits the Federal Government's power any more.

    Am I exaggerating? Consider this quote from a dissent by Justice Thomas:
    Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything–and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.

    How can it be doubted that the same Commerce Clause, or some other supposed justification, will be applied in the case of mandatory health insurance? The legality of McCain-Feingold, the Kelo decision, and the decision in the Monson-Raich case are just some of the more recent and egregious examples of how the our Constitutional protections from Federal over-reach have been eroded.

    Ann says: I prefer the far more ironic Roe v Wade objection: if the government can not ultimately interfere in the decisions made between a doctor and their patient, and if the patient has a constitutionally-guaranteed right to privacy for all that happens between their doctor and themselves, then various rationing schemes, and government interference in general is unconstitutional.

    I don't believe for one second that would actually fly either.

    Evidence of liberal inbreeding

    According to Reason's Hit and Run blog:
    if the music matters in public policy debates, then this song is the ultimate weapon for opponents of single-payer health care. And folk music. And quite possibly, humanity itself.
    (Warning: Not for the faint of heart!)

    Or as I would say: that video is like "Deliverance" for liberals. For their next song, it's dueling banjos!

    Is Everything Our Fault?

    Found at The Corner, a White House statement on the release of a terrorist convicted in the UK
    The United States deeply regrets the decision by the Scottish Executive to release Abdel Basset Mohamed al-Megrahi. Megrahi was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which blew up over Scotland on December 21, 1988.

    How can the US "deeply regret" something it had nothing to do with? I suppose we should expect President Obama to issue a formal apology soon.

    Maybe some stimulus money should be spent on a dictionary for the White House staff.

    To grandmother's house we go

    A tornado hit Minneapolis today, just blocks from our grandmother's old house. Here's a link to video taken at 42nd & Portland. Grandma was at 45th and 4th.

    Star Tribune Video.

    Iowahawk Visits an Auto Show

    Don't miss Iowahawk's report from an auto show held recently at Pebble Beach. It includes his commentary, plus great pics of some spectacular cars.

    All his pics from the show, without the commentary, are here.

    Poor Bill O'Reilly

    Poor Bill O'Reilly. According to my calculations, it will be about 18 hours before his head explodes in an apoplectic fit. From Gateway Pundit:
    Team Obama Funds Oil Drilling Project in Brazil... Nixes Offshore Drilling In US ...Update: Soros Invested Heavily in Petrobras

    I'll be sure to tune in to "The Factor" tomorrow.

    Remember, he's a lawyer

    I would think by now, after 8 years of Clinton--and his famous "depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is"--people would be wary of politicians who are lawyers. Let's take a careful look at Obama's most-quoted line:

    "If you like your current coverage, you can keep it."

    Remember, again, he's a lawyer. So the questions you have to ask are:

    1) What if you want to change/upgrade/down-grade/etc. your current coverage?
    2) What if you change jobs/become self-employed/get fired/employer changes coverage/etc?
    3) In each of those cases, will you have the freedom of choice to pick your own level and quality of coverage?

    The answer is pretty clearly a big, fat no.

    As I always say: STOP ELECTING LAWYERS!!!

    My Daughter Again

    For no particular reason, here's a recent picture of my little girl...

    dressed up in her best Indian attire. That's a silver ankle bracelet in her hand.

    Poor Old Microsoft

    Someone posted a question to a Microsoft user's group. Is it possible in Hotmail to seach for and display just the mail you haven't read? The answer from Microsoft:

    no, it isn't possible. You have to wade through all of your inbox and look for the unread mail "manually."

    It's just one issue, but it's difficult to overstate just how lame this is. Despite a major recent makeover by the "Product Development Team," Hotmail lacks this basic functionality. I can't even imagine what their group meetings must be like. What the h*ll do they talk about? Hotmail is, in so many ways, grossly inferior to alternatives like gmail. I only still use hotmail because changing now would be a pain; I would have to go to all the sites where my hotmail address is registered and change them.

    I remember that, back in the olden days, I used to root for Microsoft. They were the agile underdog, and IBM was the behemoth with a stranglehold on the computing industry. How did Microsoft get so sedentary so fast? How long before Google follows the same path? I bet it will take even less time.

    Update: They added an "unread filter" functionality.

    Countdown to Tuesday

    Remember this famous graph from the Washington Post?

    That was based on data released by the CBO back in March.

    They will be releasing their updated forecast on Tuesday. My guess is that it will be massively worse than last time and will kill health care reform once and for all.

    This release is also one of the big reason Obama and the Congress wanted their health care monstrosity done by the time it came out.

    Nephew's claymation

    My nephew made a movie using stop motion. I estimate it has about 570 frames, which he created over the course of 2 days at ID Tech Camp at UCLA. For more, visit my other blog: Square Dots.

    Interestingly, within 3 hours of posting the message on Square Dots, someone from the company that created "de Blob" actually posted a comment. That's some fancy marketing operation!


    Powerline posts a now-common break down of the "46 million uninsured" number. They mention people eligible but not yet signed up for government insurance, the young and healthy, the relatively well off, and the non-citizen, but they still miss something.

    This is the final number that they give for the uninsured:
    This leaves about 15.5 million (one-third of Obama's 46 million) who actually are uninsured, cannot become insured simply by enrolling in a free program, are U.S. citizens, and cannot easily afford to purchase insurance. About 5 million members of this cohort are childless adults.
    The remaining problem is this: if you make a list of the names of each of those 15.5 million and look back in on them in 3, or 6, or 12 months, how many of them would still be uninsured? And how many of them were only uninsured briefly as they were looking for work or between jobs? The 47 million number, just like the number of people living in poverty, gives the illusion of a static cohort, when in fact people move in and out of insurance and in and out of poverty all of the time. Being without insurance for a couple of months is a very different thing from being a long-termed, unwilling uninsured person, or person who can't get health insurance because of pre-existing conditions.

    Interestingly, over on Hot Air, the Captain posted an excerpt from the proposed bill (Here's a link to the text from -- the Congress's own computers):
    (a) Tax Imposed- In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of–
    ‘(1) the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over
    That should be a pretty nasty provision. Go without health insurance for one day--while changing jobs, of if you employer screws up and accidentally doesn't pay premiums on time, or if you're short of cash for a couple of months and fall behind on your premiums, you're socked with a tax of 2.5% on your gross income.

    B5 on the Corner

    Star Trek references are a common occurrence on NRO's The Corner. Far more rare is today's Babylon 5 reference. Nice to see one of my favorite shows get a little attention.

    Odd Comments on the Death of Two Robbers

    A store owner shot 4 men during a hold-up in NYC a few days ago. Two died. The Times reports:
    Another crying woman, surrounded by family members, heard one of her relatives had been shot trying to rob a store.

    “Oh my God!” she wailed. “Why would they want to rob a store?” She started to scream: “Damn! Why? Why would he go to a family store? He got money!” She slumped against the wall and began to pray.

    Emphasis mine. Later in the article:

    “How the hell are you going to rob someone in broad daylight?” said Sarah Martin, president of the General Grant Residents Association.

    Emphasis mine. Is it just me, or do these comments seem a little... odd?

    Update on Whole Foods Health Insurance

    Some of the shoppers at Whole Foods are apparently outraged at the editorial by Whole Food's CEO I posted about yesterday. A boycott is being called for
    "I'm boycotting [Whole Foods] because all Americans need health care," said Lent, 33, who used to visit his local Whole Foods "several times a week."

    "While Mackey is worried about health care and stimulus spending, he doesn't seem too worried about expensive wars and tax breaks for the wealthy and big businesses such as his own that contribute to the deficit," said Lent.

    What a bunch of intolerant jerks. As I said before, the air about the clientele is a main reason I don't shop at Whole Foods. If the boycott starts working, I may start shopping there.

    Whole Foods and Health Insurance

    I'm not a fan of Whole Foods. I find it terribly expensive, and when I'm in there I swear I can smell the eco-sanctimony of the shoppers, proudly purchasing organic hydroponic tomatoes at $3 a pop. I just bought a gallon of milk at Wal-Mart for $1.97. At Whole Foods, it's been known to go for $7/gallon.

    So I was pleasantly surprised to read this editorial on healthcare from the CEO of Whole Foods:

    While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment. Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone

    Who would have guessed the CEO of Whole Foods would have libertarian leanings? Read it all. His are all good ideas.

    Fallout: Cash For Clunkers

    In my neighborhood of Nashville, there are many second-hand car dealerships. There must be a dozen or so within a mile of here. These dealers buy cars at auction, cars that typically have high mileage and are no longer wanted by car rental companies and main-line dealerships, and sell them to people who can't afford a new car.

    How will Cash For Clunkers affect them? A story in the Tennessean is the only one I have seen that considers their case:
    The resulting vehicle shortage has pushed up used car prices in the last few weeks for vehicles that do escape the crusher, dealers say, and end up at regional auctions where independent used-car lots bid on them.

    Common sense will tell you that if we take these cars and crush them, there will be a void in the marketplace," Lewis said. "The government would have us believe that the only cars being traded in are clunkers, but that's not the case. Many of these are not junk, and have lots of good, usable miles left on them. And not everyone can afford a $10,000 or $15,000 car.

    Cash For Clunkers benefits the relatively wealthy at the expense of the relatively poor. You won't hear that from the main-stream media though. All I've heard from them are rah-rah-rah interviews with new car dealers and people cashing in their clunker for $4500. What a surprise that they think this program is great!

    Related post here.

    Dumb turkeys (II)...this time at the NYTimes

    Just a few days ago, my brother debunked the always-silly idea that turkeys are so dumb (how dumb are they?!) that they turn their open beaks up to the clouds and drown in a rain storm.

    Now, in the New York Times's on their "Idea of the Day" page, subtitled "Must reads from the Week in Review staff" (remember...layers of fact-checkers!) they quote the same article my brother pointed to from the American Enterprise Institute:
    Much of his argument comes down to: beware the law of unintended agricultural consequences. Farming without herbicides means more tilling and more erosion. Let turkeys roam outside and they’re prone to attack by weasels, or drowning by their own upturned beaks in downpours. Freeing massive hogs from confinement crates means they sometimes crush their piglets to death, or eat them right after they’re born.
    If it's in the New York Times, you know, it must be true!

    This is how stupid science propagates.

    Steve says: I should point out that I think it's plausible that a severe storm could wipe out a flock of young turkeys. If they get waterlogged, they might die of hypothermia. But drowning from looking up is preposterous.

    Predatory Lending

    Seems that "Federal deficit higher in July, $1.27T this year:"
    The Obama administration is projecting that when the current budget year ends on Sept. 30, the imbalance will total $1.84 trillion, more than four times last year's record-high.

    The soaring deficits have raised worries among foreign owners of U.S. Treasury securities including the Chinese, the largest holder of such debt.

    Damn those Chi-Coms and their predatory lending! Listen to Peter Schiff, and have a good laugh:

    Found via John Derbyshire at the Corner.

    Million $ baby

    A great deal has been said in the health care debate about death counciling and end-of-life care, while nothing has been said about people at the other end of life.

    One of the biggest costs in healthcare is the care given to premie babies. In fact, they cost so much they are routinely called "million dollar babies." in a rationed system, would we do what most other countries do and write these kids down as still births? That's one reason why our infant mortality rates are so much worse than other developed countries--we treat such kids as living human beings worthy of the effort and the cost.

    Of course, a cynic would say that the death of these kids under Obamacare would drive up infant mortality rates, leading, of course, to calls by liberals for even more government control and spending.

    (This post made from my ITouch. Not an easy thing to do, but doable.)

    Dumb as a post and in the Senate!

    A couple of good things on Watts Up with That today. I love this one, which is actually a quote from Planet Gore on NRO:
    ...Senator Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) — recently appointed to the Senate Energy Committee — made clear that fighting the climate crisis is her top priority.

    “Climate change is very real,” she confessed as she embraced cap and trade’s massive tax increase on Michigan industry — at the same time claiming, against all the evidence, that it would not lead to an increase in manufacturing costs or energy prices. “Global warming creates volatility. I feel it when I’m flying. The storms are more volatile. We are paying the price in more hurricanes and tornadoes.”

    And there are sea monsters in Lake Michigan. I can feel them when I’m boating.
    Andrew Watts also links to this video on the ridiculousness of local television weather broadcasts:

    Birth Insurance

    I ran across an editorial by Clarence Page today in which he describes the "horror" of a friend of his being denied insurance coverage of the birth of her child:
    My friend Sarah Wildman learned the hard way. She's a new mom with what she calls her "$20,000 baby."

    That's how much it looked like she and her husband would have to pay out of their own pockets after her insurer decided her baby was a "pre-existing condition."

    ... Some of them are women who discover the hard way, as Sarah did, that if you bought maternity coverage after the pregnancy began, the fetus is viewed as an uncovered pre-existing condition.

    In the end, Mrs. Wildman ended up paying 10% of the total bill.

    Again, I ask myself the question "what do people think insurance is?" It seems clear that Thomas and Wildman think insurance is a system in which other people give you stuff for free, e.g. the $20000 medical cost of child birth. That's a pretty nice system for the insured!

    Do Thomas and Wildman really think it is reasonable for a woman to get pregnant, buy insurance right before delivery, have the cost of delivery covered by the insurance company, and then cancel the policy right after that? It seems, based on Thomas' editorial, that they do. Why in the world do they think they are entitled to pass along the cost of child birth to someone else? When they see insurance companies balking at such a thing, they attribute it to "corporate greed!"

    Would someone make the same argument about collision insurance for your car? Can you drive around without insurance, get in an accident, then buy collision coverage after the fact and file a claim with the insurance company? Cancel the policy after you receive payment, and you have effectively gotten your car fixed for free. Good luck with that.

    Let's take a step back and ask why child birth should be covered at all. Say the average child birth costs about $7500. I can envision getting coverage for costs in access of that, in case there is a problem with the delivery. But really, having a child is the choice of the parents. Pregnancy is not an disease. It is not in any way an accident or act of God that could not have been prevented. Why should people who choose not to have children help pay for the delivery costs of those who do?

    Would it make sense to have home owner insurance that covered the cost of a room addition, if the owner chose to add on to his home? I don't think so.

    Conspiracy Theories

    Don't read much of Ann Coulter's stuff, but she is spot on today.

    Which party contains 99 percent of the people who believe (or believed):

    -- O.J. is innocent;

    -- Bush shirked his National Guard duty;

    -- Sarah Palin's infant child, Trig, was actually the child of her daughter;

    -- Justice Antonin Scalia threw the 2000 election to Bush so that his son could get a legal job with the Labor Department;

    -- The spectacularly guilty Mumia Abu-Jamal was framed;

    -- The Diebold Corp. secretly stole thousands of Kerry votes in 2004;

    -- Duke lacrosse players gang-raped a stripper;

    -- Bill Clinton did not have sex with "that woman";

    -- Heterosexuals are just as likely to contract AIDS as gays;

    -- John Edwards didn't have an affair with Rielle Hunter;

    -- John Edwards' campaign aide Andrew Young is the father of Rielle Hunter's child.

    And as has been recently noted, a 2007 Rasmussen poll showed that 35 percent of Democrats believe Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance, while 26 percent aren't sure ...

    She also mentions the October Surprise. Read it all.

    I doubt President Obama is hiding anything. It might seem odd that he hasn't approved the release of his entire birth record, and much of his early life is a mystery. We do seem to know much more about GW Bush's grades, test scores, etc. than we do about Obama's. Still, that doesn't mean his is hiding something interesting. I remember thinking that maybe John Kerry was hiding something by not approving release of his full military record. After the election, when he finally did release it to the Boston Globe, there was nothing much there. The only interesting thing was that his test scores and grades were not better than Bush's. Perhaps he thought that would put a dent in his "Vote for me, I'm smart!" campaign.

    Country Stardom

    Found this quote on the web:
    Among several distinctions, the duo has had 40 different Billboard hits, 20 of which reached number one. They also won the Country Music Awards Vocal Duo of the Year award every year since 1992 with one exception in the year 2000.
    ... [they] are not only the biggest-selling duo in country music history, they've also sold more records than any other duo period, save for Simon & Garfunkel.
    It seems they are splitting up. I tip my hat to the greatest musical group I've never heard of!

    Inquiring minds want to know

    So here's a question that has troubled me for some time... the Dell computer "Lollipop" commercial, the first guy starts singing the lollipop song and is quickly joined by a second's that second guy who puzzles me. He pops up from below while buttoning his overalls.

    So...what was he doing on the floor?

    And what was he doing on the floor with his coveralls unbuttoned?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

    Dean Kamen on Health Care

    Dean Kamen on health care:
    The reason 100 years ago everyone could afford their healthcare is because healthcare was a doctor giving you some elixir and telling you you'll be fine.

    Kamen has invented a lot of cool stuff, including many useful medical devices. The interview linked above is well worth reading.

    I don't think there is nearly enough discussion on the potential danger of the health care reforms being talked about. The danger is the curbing of medical innovation. As I've said before, I'm afraid we are about to cook the hen that lays the golden eggs.

    John Hughes has Died

    John Hughes, filmaker of the 80's has died. Big Hollywood has some nice words.

    Quite a talent. Rest in peace.

    Dumb Turkeys

    From an interesting essay by a farmer (linked from the Corner), "The Omnivore’s Delusion: Against the Agri-intellectuals:"
    Weasels were a problem, but not as much a threat as one of our typically violent early summer thunderstorms. It seems that turkeys, at least young ones, are not smart enough to come in out of the rain, and will stand outside in a downpour, with beaks open and eyes skyward, until they drown. One night Niemann lost 4,000 turkeys to drowning, along with his dream, and his farm.

    Oh come on! This old wives' tale? Is he serious? I remember hearing this story from a friend of mine in seventh or eight grade. I have always thought it was a rather comical tall tale, told to see who might fall for it.

    This guy says it ain't true.

    Snopes debunks it too.

    Check out google results. Seems pretty clear the story is nonsense.

    Now, what to make of the rest of the farmer's blog, if he thinks this is real?

    Propaganda Works II

    The Democrats are trying to convince everyone that the town hall protesters and the tea party movement are run by lobbyists and nefarious, highly-paid Republican think tanks.

    But I'm beginning to think the audience for that idea isn't necessarily the press of the general public. Take this:
    [ Yahoo ] An unruly Little Rock crowd heckled and shouted at two Arkansas Democratic congressmen Wednesday, accusing them of supporting a government-backed health plan that would take away Americans' personal choice and freedom.

    At one point, U.S. Rep. Mike Ross sat with his head in his hands while the crowd shouted.
    Seems to me, that Representative Ross could use a little encouragement, could use a little bolstering up that passing the Obamination is a good idea.

    Seems to me that the most-important audience for the idea that the protesters are merely astroturfed nutjobs is Blue Dog Democratic members of Congress and the Senate.

    Don't listen to the wingnuts, the party is saying to its own members, listen to us. Nice, soothing, confidence-boosting're not going to listen to them... they don't matter... they're crazy... no, listen to us... listen to us... listen to us... vote yes... vote for our dear leader... Obama is right... listen to Obama.... vote yes... vote yes... vote yes...

    Propaganda Works

    Sis was right in her prediction about North Korea:
    4) Pardon the women to the acclaim of all, scoring a propaganda victory by showing the soft and cuddly side of their extreme dictatorship.

    Which is most likely? Obviously #4. These women will not see one second of the inside of a real labor camp. No way, no how.

    I'm happy they have been released though. I'm not sure how much of a propaganda victory this is. I doubt perceptions of NK by people outside NK have been altered. Everyone knows the country is collectively nuts. Inside NK, the people were converted into zombies long ago.

    The sister of one of the released women is Lisa Ling, a reporter who did a report for National Geographic from inside NK. In a most remarkable scene, NK citizens who had long ago lost their vision were given their sight back by a western doctor. As they had their bandages removed, and they realized they were able to see again, each of them would immediately run up to a large portrait of Dear Leader, fall on hands and knees, and thank Dear Leader profusely and emotionally for the return of their sight.

    It was remarkable, but it was also very depressing. It made me realize that propaganda really does work. These people have been brought up for generations now hearing nothing but endless words of praise for their leader. Everything good in their lives is attributed to him, and they have come to believe it. Their leader is more deity than man.

    I think many of us believe that if we were brought up in such a country, we would believe differently. Somehow we would see through the propaganda and know the truth. The film clip made me question that. Given enough time, propaganda works.


    Cash for Clunkers in action:

    God forbid this 2001 Volvo turbo sedan be allowed to be out on the road. The last thing we want is for hoi polloi to be driving around in luxury cars like our President and Congressmen do. Used car or not, it's just not acceptable to they who must be obeyed. How are you going to separate the elites from the regular folks?

    Seriously, this is disgusting. Our government has spent a billion dollars on this, with more to come. Thanks Dems! They are passing this off as an environmental and economic measure. Both points are complete bullsh*t, of course.

    Update: More here, with interesting historic context. Have a look.

    Full House

    We had quite a full house over the weekend. Six adults and two babies! Our baby got to visit with a grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle and cousin. It was a good time.

    Grandma and grandpa will be staying for a few weeks. It's a good opportunity for our baby to get to know them. It's hard to say when she will be able to get over to India to see them again.

    Family Heirlooms

    A whole new meaning to "Family Heirlooms"
    Ashes-to-Diamonds is a certified, high-quality diamond created from the carbonized ashes of your loved one. A living legacy that will be passed from generation to generation.

    I am surprised to find myself thinking this is kind of a cool idea. I think it would be tacky as jewelry. However, keeping these things would provide a physical connection to earlier generations of your family. A diamond is forever!

    Ok, it's a little weird...