Iran: We Lost

The bottom line is that the game is over and we lost. Talk about "sanctions" and "military strikes" are nonsense at this point. Nothing short of an all out war of conquest will prevent Iran from getting the bomb.

Frankly, the game was lost long ago. Once the Iranians had the centrifuges and raw material they needed, it was only a matter of time.

I don't think the idea of a tactical military strike to stop those centrifuges spinning was ever serious. This includes a strike by Israel, which you still hear suggested by some pundits. Get real. The Iranians are not that stupid. I am sure they have their critical devices well protected underground, away from a few lightweight fighter bombers that Israel might send at them.

And let's face it, have sanctions ever worked, anywhere, any time?

It's over.

The gender gap

Right now, many colleges are teetering on the dreaded 60/40 student body ratio. That is, 60 girls for every 40 boys. The only schools which are holding their own are engineering schools such as Carnegie Mellon, or big sports schools like Duke. The 60/40 level is dreaded, because once you hit that, your school becomes perceived as a girls' school, which further discourages male applications.

What is even more scary is this: many schools are positively discriminating in favor of boys. In other words, boys can get in with lower grades, lower test scores, lower activity levels (such as the high school newspaper or running a food shelf) than can girls. Even with that discrimination, boys still aren't showing up on campus.

Here's Richard Whitmore from the "Why Boys Fail" blog:
No hard numbers will ever emerge on the college admissions preferences private, four-year colleges grant men, but simple math suggests it has to be larger than anything ever mounted to draw minorities into college. If that rug ever got pulled — which people such as Tom Mortenson argue should happen — gender gaps would become an explosive issue in this country.
Steve says: Six girls for every four guys? I can see an up side...

Astounding World of the Future

Something reminded me of this video I saw several months ago. It's a hoot.

Quotes from The Nation's Founders

And a few other guys...

A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicity.
Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
George Washington

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.
William Pitt in the House of Commons November 18, 1783

The way to have safe government is not to trust it all to the one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to everyone exactly the functions in which he is competent…To let the National Government be entrusted with the defense of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations…The State Governments with the Civil Rights, Laws, Police and administration of what concerns the State generally. The Counties with the local concerns, and each ward direct the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these Republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations until it ends in the administration of everyman’s farm by himself, by placing under everyone what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best.
Thomas Jefferson

We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our selection between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and our drink, in our necessities and comforts, in our labors and in our amusements, for our callings and our creeds…our people…must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread…

This is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of society is reduced to mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering…And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.
Thomas Jefferson

We, the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution.
Abraham Lincoln

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Patrick Henry

Good stuff. Found here.

A simple plan

On the Corner:
Regular correspondent B. J. writes (in reference to this post):
I agree that it's economically rational for a young, healthy person to refrain from purchasing health insurance. I also think that it's a deprivation of his liberty to require him to purchase health insurance (or otherwise to put money aside for health care) when he doesn't want to.

But: I want to know what is supposed to happen when Young Rational Person actually needs health care that he can't afford. . . . We'll either use public funds to help him or we'll force private institutions to help him and then force them to shift the cost of care to paying customers.

And if at the end of the day we're going to do that I'd prefer requiring him to pay in ahead-of-time so that we're only subsidizing half the cost of his care instead of all of it.
I don't think the costs and benefits are going to work out that way. A federal policy requiring all people to own a minimum level of insurance is going to raise premiums for everyone, not cut them. The modest savings that come from forcing the uninsured to pay their way will be outweighed by the gradual lobbying-driven expansion of benefits that are required to be purchased.

An alternative would be to enable people who are uninsured to purchase cheap catastrophic coverage. That would reduce the size of the hidden subsidy that people who are insured pay for the care of the uninsured. It would not reduce it to zero. But 1) I don't see any way of reducing it to zero without incurring other and higher costs. And 2) I actually don't think it's outrageous for society, having made a collective decision that nobody can be denied care, to pay a modest collective cost for this compassion—especially since, again, I don't see any better alternative.
Here's my idea: Send them the bill! Hmm...that's simple, straightforward. People understand bills. If necessary, set up a 5-year or even 10-year payment schedule. But in the end, make them pay for it.

Gee, no, that's not fair, let's completely screw up the entire health care system instead!

It's a bargain!

To be fair, when you add it to the cart, it does use the $5.70 price.

It's About Flocking Time!

Flocked wallpaper is finally making a comeback!
...thanks to advancements in the wallpaper industry, flocked wallpaper is set to surge back in 2009 with large, graphic designs.


Andy Richter is Smart

People have posted this video as evidence that Wolf Blitzer isn't too bright.

Perhaps, but I think it says a lot more about Andy Richter. Andy knows a lot of stuff, and plays the game very well. Indeed, according to Wikipedia, Andy's total winnings for this game is the second highest in Jeopardy history.

Ho ho ho

Michael Barone today:
"But I have to say that I am still stunned by the conduct that filmmaker James O'Keefe and his sidekick Hannah Giles"
This is really ticking me off. Barone is not alone in naming this dynamic duo like this--like it's O'Keefe's game and Giles is along for the ride. In fact it was pretty much the opposite. The idea was Giles's and she went to him with the idea. It would be more accurate to call him the sidekick.

I guess when you dress up like a ho, you just can't get the respect you deserve.

Barone should have been more precise in his phrasing.

Tough to be a Journalist These Days

It must be tough these days to be a reporter. You want to do all you can to support President Obama, but sometimes that means holding your tongue, biting your lip, and suppressing all of your journalistic instincts. Case in point, this amusing article in the Washington Post about Michelle Obama's trip to a farmers' market:

Cowbells were rung. Somebody put a lei of marigolds around Obama's neck. The first lady picked up a straw basket and headed for the "Farm at Sunnyside" tent, where she loaded up with organic Asian pears, cherry tomatoes, multicolored potatoes, free-range eggs and, yes, two bunches of Tuscan kale...

There's nothing like the simple pleasures of a farm stand to return us to our agrarian roots.

So far so good, the author is keeping it together. The author's instincts for a good story can't be fully suppressed, however. In this case, it's a clear "Let them eat cake!" moment:

The first lady said the market would particularly appeal to federal employees in nearby buildings to "pick up some good stuff for dinner." Yet even they might think twice about spending $3 for a pint of potatoes when potatoes are on sale for 40 cents a pound at Giant. They could get nearly five dozen eggs at Giant for the $5 Obama spent for her dozen.

Imagine if you will a Republican first lady out there in a middle of a recession paying $3 for a pint of potatoes and 5 times the normal price for eggs! Twenty dollars a pound for kale is also mentioned.

I suspect the reporter misses those good old days, when he would have torn into this story like a hungry dog on a piece of red meat.

The Obama Doctrine

Remember when Charlie Gibson flustered Palin by asking her to define the Bush Doctrine. Later commentators pointed out that there was no simple answer to his question. At least that's not true of Obama's foreign policy, which is now crystal clear and can be summed up in a few words:

Kiss your enemies, and f*** your friends.

Federal option

There is a website I visit once in a while, because it is a voice of sanity in an insane world. You might remember the story of a woman about a year and a half ago, who let her 9-year-old son find his way back to their house from an outing in NYC. He had asked her if he could travel the city unaccompanied. She and her husband discussed it between themselves, asking some basic questions: Is he capable of finding his way back? Does he know the subways well enough? Does he know how to ask for help if he gets lost? And finally the big one, is the adult he asks likely to drag him into an alley rape and murder him? They thought about the actual risks to their child, realized that they were minimal, and let him do it.

He arrived home in perfect safety.

The woman, Leonore Skenazy started a movement. She has since published a book "Free-Range Kids" and a website by that name. These days she spends a lot of time pointing out that the Jaycee Duggard story is not indicative of the level of risk our kids face, and that the actual crime rate against children is as low as it was in the early 70's--a time when kids were actually allowed to be outside without supervision.

So, I visit the website once in a while to check out the latest news. It's usually about parents being arrested for letting their teenager be alone for a few minutes.

Today, though, there is this:
...sometimes the problem is not parental hysteria. Sometimes, it’s that there are no crossing guards at a busy street, or no sidewalks. Safe Routes to School is a program that addresses just such issues to make it easier for kids to get THEMSELVES to school, safely. ...Here’s a note from the deputy director there on how we can help support its efforts:
Join the Safe Routes to School “Dear Congress” campaign

The federal Safe Routes to School program is all about making sure that children can safely and independently walk and bicycle to school. With Safe Routes to School funding—which is $612 million over 5 years—communities are building sidewalks, bike paths, crosswalks, and other infrastructure improvements to make sure children have safe routes to school, separate from traffic. Safe Routes to School funding also helps teach children safe behaviors when they are walking and bicycling, and encourages more families and children to get active on the way to and from school.

Congress is currently considering reauthorizing the federal Safe Routes to School program as part of the next transportation bill.
Excuse me?!!!! I can not think of a stupider use of the federal government than this.


Can't the parents do this themselves? Does every problem in the world really need a federal government solution? This is insanity. Work with the high school to get a high school kid on the corner. Hire a minimum-wage person to stand on the corner. Get a grandparent or two to volunteer. Talk to churches in the area and see if they'd like to help. Talk to local law enforcement to see if they could help. Make up a schedule to share the duty with your neighbors.

Do it yourselves!

In a movement that is all about letting your kids take charge of their own lives, this is just wrong.

Warehouse 13

I saw the tv show Warehouse 13 the other day. Seems clearly to be a reincarnation of the old Friday the 13th tv series. I liked that old show, so will try to check out a few more episodes of this new one.

Good coverage

Surprisingly, MSNBC had a very good news segment about the rally. It's well done, and I have no problems with its accuracy. I found it on the "And Still I Persist" blog:

I got quoted in the MSM rally coverage!

Not by name, but still. The night before the rally, there was a gathering of women for a cocktail hour sort of thing, and a reporter from The New Republic (or as I explained to the people I was with, the other NR) came by. I don't know if she gave us her last name, but her first name was distinctive enough to remember: Lydia.

Well, today, I found the article she wrote about our cocktail "Meet and Tweet" (Scroll down to the section that starts "I have never" in bold lettering):
I have never felt more welcome as a reporter than I did at a “Meet and Tweet,” advertised as a gathering of tea partying women on the eve of the march, at the Doubletree Hotel.
I was one of them.

Though she doesn't quote me by name, I am quoted here:
The discussion drifted from outrage to outrage, lingering on health care. No one actually doesn’t have insurance, the women agreed. Obama’s numbers of the uninsured keep wavering; maybe he just stopped factoring in the illegals. Besides, everyone can just go to the emergency room, or one of those clinics that Wal-Mart runs.

“This administration does not understand the free market,” someone pronounced.

“The only people with private insurance will be unions!” said another [Me!].
My point was that all the other insurance plans would be driven out of business, but the unions, with the help of the politicians and bureaucrats, would fiercely hold on the their gold-plated ones.

I actually ran into Lydia in Freedom Square shortly before the Rally turned into the premature march. She looked a little like a deer caught in the headlights. I was just shocked to run into anyone I recognized in the swell of people.

The Corner: Misguided Priorities

In the Corner, Veronique de Rugy posts a letter to the NYT from a professor of economics:

... Alas, in our world, melodramatic loud-mouths thunder to and fro in the foreground, doing little of any value while stealing most of the credit for civilization. Meanwhile, in the background, millions upon millions of decent, creative people work diligently at their specialties - welding, waiting tables, performing orthopedic surgery, designing shopping malls, researching plant genetics - each contributing to the prosperity of the rest. Some contributions are larger than others (as Dr. Borlaug's certainly was), but even a contribution as colossal as his is quickly taken for granted, any notice of it submerged beneath the self-congratulation, swagger, and bellicosity of the politicians who pretend to be prosperity's source. How wrong.

Beautifully said.

An important point

There's a point that needs to be made about the 9/12 rally which I don't think any one else has made.

A lot of coverage is accusing the marchers of being a bunch of racists. In answer to that accusation, I would point out that across from the Smithsonian Castle, just east of the Washington Monument, there was a festival going on:

The "National Black Family Reunion"

So, did the so-called racist tea partiers harass the attendees of the reunion?

Were there insults flying as people passed by the reunion?

Were there people surrounding the reunion with stars and bars? (and I did see a woman with the stars and bars flag over by the capitol.)

Was anyone roughing up the people at the reunion?

Anyone shouting the n-word?

Are there any reports of tea partiers giving anyone at the neighboring event the slightest bit of a hard time?

Here, after all, was the perfect opportunity. Here was a supposedly-racist march taking place right next to a black festival.

Yet the two groups seem to have gotten along completely peacefully.

Hmmmmm....go figure.

My estimate

GatewayPundit posted a graphic from Obama's inaugural. The image showed how many people could be estimated to fill the various parts of the mall. I've annotated it from my observations:

(The picture is upside down, and north is on the bottom of the image, south on the top.)

I was in the orange circle nearest to the Capitol on the left side of the picture. I have marked where I started out with a yellow and red dot. I eventually moved up to the roadway that you can see between my dot and the steps--from there, I could directly see the stage and the people talking.

From that grassy area, I couldn't see very well, but I could see enough to know that we were not only packing Pennsylvania Avenue and the Mall, but Independence Maryland Avenue as well.

I've put a thin black line around the area that I am certain we were filling. I had no view down the mall, but from other images I'd say at least 1/3 to 1/2 the way to the Washington Memorial. (There was a "National Black Family Reunificataion" festival going on on the west end of the mall. Rumor had it, we were spread all the way down that way, but picture I've seen show the crowd thinning out to nothing by the time the tents for the black festival begin.)

From my line, you can make your own estimates--though, keep in mind that where I was people were quite comfortably spread out. We had an area to sit down, put our signs down, and still leave plenty of room for people to walk around us. But we were not in the center part of the mall, nor were we down any of the streets, which looked quite crowded and people weren't sitting.

Discovery Day

My sister's post on the passing of Norman Borlaug reminds me of an idea I'd like to see for a national 'Discovery Day' to replace Columbus Day. I'd call it Discoverer's Day, but that doesn't sound as good to me. Columbus Day has been attacked recently from the PC crowd, and let's face it, who really celebrates this in some Columbus-related way, other than people in Boston's North End? It's not clear to me why we have a national holiday for one man who lived 300 years before the USA was founded.

A more general Discovery Day would honor the people who have made the scientific, medical and other discoveries that have had such a positive effect on our lives. Norman Borlaug is certainly not alone in his obscurity. How about Edward Jenner? It is said that he too saved more lives than any other man. What about Fleming, Florey et al.? If you did a poll, what percentage of people do you think would be able to say what they did?

It will never happen of course, because nobody much cares. Only politics makes for big news.

Greatest man of the 20th Century has died

The people who we think of as the great men of the 20th Century: FDR, Churchill, etc. don't hold a candle to the man who affected more people for the better than any other in history. This man literally saved the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

Yet his name is almost totally unknown.

Norman Borlaug. RIP.

Who the heck is he?

He was an agricultural scientist who helped engineer hearty, high-yield crops that have fed the Third World. Back when people were predicting mass starvation because of out-of-control population growth, he very quietly solved the problem.

The masses didn't starve because Borlaug fed them.

Some estimates have him saving a billion lives.

He was not unknown to everyone, and back before the Nobel Peace Prize became a joke, they were smart enough to give him one.

Here are a list of the awards he received in his life:

  • Nobel Peace Prize, 1970

  • Election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, 1970

  • Aztec Eagle, Government of Mexico, 1970

  • Outstanding Agricultural Achievement Award, World Farm Foundation (USA), 1971

  • Presidential Medal of Freedom (USA), 1977

  • Jefferson Award, American Institute for Public Service, 1980

  • Distinguished Achievement Award in Food and Agricultural Sciences, Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (USA), 1982

  • The Presidential World without Hunger Award: Educator/Scientist category (USA), 1985

  • The Americas Award, The Americas Foundation (USA), 1998

  • Jefferson Lifetime Achievement Award (USA), 1997

  • Altruistic Green Revolution Award, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, 1998

  • Recognition Award for Contributions to World Wheat and Maize Research and Production, Republic of El Salvador, 1999

  • Dedication of Norman E. Borlaug Center for Southern Crop Improvement, Texas A&M University, 1999

  • Vannevar Bush Award, National Science Foundation (USA), 2000

  • Memorial Centennial Medial of the N.I. Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry (Russia), 2000

  • Public Welfare Medal, National Academy of Sciences (USA), 2002

  • The Rotary International Award for World Understanding and Peace; Barcelona, Spain, 2002

  • The Philip Hauge Abelson Prize, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2002

  • Award for Distinguished Achievements to Science and Medicine, American Council of Science and Health, 2003

  • National Medal of Science (USA), 2004

  • Padma Vibhushan in Science and Engineering, awarded by the Government of India, 2006

  • Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture created as part of the Texas A&M University System, 2006

  • Congressional Gold Medal, received 2007

  • Texas A&M University honorary doctor of letters degree, 2007

  • Borlaug received more than 50 honorary degrees in his career.


After making a circle and coming back to the other ladies, we decided to move down to the other end of the plaza. By the time we got there, the march had prematurely begun. Rumor was that there were too many people in the square and waved us down Penn Ave.

Here's me along the parade route:

And to give you a feel for what it was like, here's a quick video:

Walk about

I wanted to wade into the crowd, so I made a circle of the plaza. These are some of the pictures I took:

Meet and Tweet

Last night I went to a "Meet and Tweet" of women at a nearby hotel. There were probably about 20-25 of us there.

Some of us agreed to meet at the Willard hotel (yay! now I can say I was a lobbiest!) for breakfast. Afterwards, we crossed the street to a hill overlooking the plaza which was the meeting location for the march.

This are the very nice ladies I've been hanging around with yesterday and today:

And this was our view from the hill (including some La Rouchers on the corner:

The plaza filled up fast--so fast that they had to start the march an hour a half early because we were over capacity.

Here's a video from the hill:

Geekiest sign

This takes the geekiest sign contest:

And this is the runner up:

Big! (II)

Here's Steven Green again:
Marching by (Extrapolated) Numbers

Charlie Martin — a computer scientist with extensive intelligence experience — emails from his secret bunker near Boulder, CO:

I did a back-of-envelope based on the photos and reports. A pretty dense crowd is about 1.8 people per square meter, and the National Mall alone is about 125 hectares, 1.25 million square meters. So that would be 2.3 million people.

Given the report from Steve of an actual literal count of 450K early on, I think the 2 million number is *very* plausible.

Knowing Charlie like I do, I’m inclined to trust his guestimates more than most people’s “facts.”

Which in this case… whoa.


Here's Steven Green (Vodka Pundit):

Marching by the Numbers

Just got off the phone with Barbara Espinosa, who sent in tons of great pics from DC earlier today. Hopefully, we’ll have some video later, too. As a volunteer, she had “full access” to all parts of the protest. Here are some of the things she saw today, by the numbers.
  • 70 outdoor port-a-potties.

  • 90 minute wait to use one.

  • The People Meter on Penn Ave had read 450,000 by noon, and 1.5 million two hours later. (That last number still looks awfully high to me.)

  • 1 DC police officer, who told her, “I’ve been here 20 years and this is the largest crowd I’ve ever seen.”

What a day!

I love this video. It's a 3.5 hour time lapse of the crowd moving down Pennsylvania avenue. I was in the near intersection around 9:30. The crowd continued to pass through that intersection for another 2 hours!!

The buzz

No one seems to have any idea how many people are going to be at the march tomorrow. There are some weird estimates...the weirdest from Pelosi, who is being accused of some major high-balling.

One of her aids came in with a warning to Dems of 2 million--which would be 200,000 more than Obama had for his historic inauguration (granted, that was in freezing January.) People are saying that she put that out so that anything less would be treated by the press as a disappointment.

In other words: she's scared this is going to be massive. If it was only going to be in the 10's of thousands, she wouldn't be worried. If it was even around 100,000 that wouldn't necessarily really get to her. But if we are really talking about several or many hundreds of thousands, she could be hitting the panic button.

I wonder what their researchers are coming up with?

There is a march website that is asking people to sign up online, so they can determine the kind of facilities and police they need on hand. Their numbers were somewhere around 30,000...but I would be surprised if 1 out of 10 actually bothered to formally sign up.


A lot of people have been showing up today. Every time I pass through the lobby of my hotel, another group of Tea Partiers is arriving. Every time I walk down the street, I see Partiers.

I'm still hoping this will be really, really big.

Remembering 9/11

It's been 8 years already since 9/11. It's hard to believe it has been so long. I remember I was in Washington DC for a conference. After one of the sessions, I heard some murmurs in the lobby about a plane crashing into one of the twin towers in New York City. Naturally, I assumed it was an accident. A minute or two later, I heard someone say the building collapsed. I remember thinking that was unlikely and probably just a rumor.

I went up to my hotel room to check the news, and the true horror of the situation began to sink in. I learned of the attack on the Pentagon not so far from where I was staying. My initial reaction to all of this was anger.

Of course, that was pretty much the end of the conference. Colleagues and I spent the rest of the day discussing what was happening and watching the news. I remember wondering if it could be a domestic terrorist act, not wanting to jump to conclusions. A friend said no way, that a suicide mission like this meant there was only one possibility. He was right. My friend also quotes me as saying "I don't want to understand them, I want to kill them." I don't remember saying that, but I don't doubt I did.

Only military aircraft were allowed to be flying, so the next day we rented a van to drive from Washington DC up to Boston. On the way home we passed near New York City. Crossing over a bridge, I could see plumes of smoke rising from ground zero in the far distance. It is a vision I will never forget.

Sign making

I made 9 signs today. People seemed to really like them, and lots took pictures with them. I kept 2 and left the rest for others. Here they are:

Rally last night

I was supposed to go to a Doctors rally yesterday, but I couldn't make it in time. GatewayPundit has coverage.

Crowd estimate

This is the first crowd estimate I've seen:
Organizers of the "Tea Party in D.C." march are expecting as many as 200,000 to converge on Washington, D.C., for the event.
I'd love to get twice that, but 200K would be pretty good.

Blogtrail: Instapundit

Update: Found another, much smaller estimate, in the Wash Times:
The Tea Party Express - a caravan of buses, speakers and entertainers who have been holding protest rallies in cities and towns across the country - is heading to Washington, where on Saturday, up to 50,000 demonstrators are expected to march on the Capitol in a full-scale political offensive to persuade lawmakers to reject the health care overhaul bills that are pending in the House and Senate.

A three hour tour. A three hour tour.

I just got back from a 3-hour walk, and I'm exhausted! I walked from 1/2 mile north of the White House, to the White House, to the Capitol, to the Washington Monument, back to the White House, then back to the hotel. Yikes. Here are some pics:

I was trying to get this cool sky:

I finally held it steady enough to get this one:

Made it!

I made to my hotel...without taking a cab!

Cab = $75
Bus + Metro + 3 blocks of walking = $13.50

I'm very proud of myself. Can I retrace my steps? I think so.

I was supposed to go to a "Doctors Rally Against Obamacare", but I got to my hotel at 5:30, and that's the time the thing started...2 miles away. Can't make it.

I passed a couple restaurants on my way over here, and I think there's a Whole Foods down the street.

Tomorrow there is a sign making party in the morning, which I think I'll go to. I spent the first hour on the plane coming up with ideas:

My favorite slogan that I came up with, because it uses leftist lunacy, is:

"Bush spent like a drunkard...What's Obama's excuse?"

D.C. Bound

It's almost midnight, and I'm just doing my last-minute packing.

My flight to DC leaves at around 8 tomorrow morning, and I'll be in DC by 4 pm eastern.

I've got my laptop, camera, Kindle (new one arrived yesterday) and I'm ready to go!

One event I've signed up for is a meet at a hotel bar. So far 18 women have signed up and they are from all over the country. Hopefully, people will be coming from all over to this.

I'm hoping to be in the biggest crowd of my life. I'd love 500K or more.

So, keep you box locked on Fox, and look for me in the crowd!

Text to blogger?

I just tried to post a picture from my phone to blogger. I wonder if and when it will show up?

It Must be Me

Every now and then I have the feeling there must be something wrong with my brain. A new Rasmussen poll reveals:

Seventy-eight percent (78%) of U.S. voters say every American should be allowed to purchase the same health insurance plan that members of Congress use.
I read this and my face squishes up into my most puzzled look. What the h*ll does such a poll question mean? Why would anyone think of asking this question? I really don't get it.

How can you possibly think that people shouldn't be able to buy such coverage if they wanted to? Do people think that we shouldn't be able to buy the model of car that Joe Biden drives? Should we be prohibited from buying the same type of clothes that Tom Cruise wears? What is the rationale? Should there be some products that only people in Congress should be able to purchase enjoy?

In the words of the Maitre D' at L'Idiot: You cannot have zee duck!

Wisconsin does more than its share

For providing the country with serial killers, anyway.

First there was Ed Gein.

Then Jeffrey Dahmer.

Now Walter Ellis.

Combined death count: 3 for Gein (but the whole digging up bodies, stripping their skin off, and walking around in it should count for something--I'm counting the death of his brother too), 17 for Dahmer, and 9 for Ellis, comes to a grand total of 29.

Must be something in the water (besides cryptosporidia--which killed over 100 Milwaukeeans.)

Steve Says: Yes, books have been written about it. Let's not forget the guy who killed 7 people at Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesen. Or the time an entire Wisconsin town went went nuts. There's a movie about that town.

DJ AM - Not Getting It

I saw my sister's post on DJ AM, and also the post she cites at The Corner. I'm sorry to hear about his possible suicide.

However, I have to say, I really don't get the whole "DJ" thing. Here is a guy who skyrocketed to fame and fortune for... what exactly? Check out a performance or two of his here. Here is one video

For that he got $25000 for 3 hours? He played somebody else's recordings, and added some sound effects and flashing lights? Is that it? Is that the talent? Isn't there an iPhone app for that? Sure, I'm 10 years older than he was, but still I am surprised just how little appreciation I have for this sort of thing.

Run away! Run away!

I believe I just killed a male black widow spider...IN OUR HOUSE!!!

It built a web between the knife rack and the coffee maker.

I believe I said this a week ago...

...Why do people live in Southern California again?????!!!!

Yes, I am going to DC!

I just booked airfare for DC. Leaving Thursday, returning Monday. I figured I'd stay Sunday to take in a little of the town.

Now, I have to book hotel. :)

DC bound?

I'm seriously considering heading for what "the other McCain" calls "Woodstock for Conservatives"--the rally in Washington on Saturday. Air fare is reasonable, and our credit card has hotel points I could use.


Very well done video. To the tune of the Candyman, "The government takes everything we make...":

Via Tigerhawk


The Corner has a post about DJ AM's death about a week ago. The bottom line from it is:
Is it a stretch to say that these pursuits of modern boy-manhood failed him? That male adulthood without responsibility in the traditional sense is disorienting, anchorless, and potentially fatal?
Now, I never met the man--though we probably were at the same party once. The party was for the son of one of his very close friends--who attends the kids' school--it was both a typical kiddie party and an atypical one. The atypical part was that it was so over the top, they probably spent tens of thousands of dollars on a 4-year-olds' birthday. But it was all about the kids that day.

I also know that DJ spent a lot of time around those kids, and even drove them to school in the morning.

My point is, it is easy to look at the public face of people like this. They intentionally leave their private lives out of the public eye. They might make the tabloids for their romantic shenanigans, but what they do with their friends and family usually remains very private. And often it is very different from their image in public.

This man had loyal and devoted friends to whom he was also devoted. He was very much a part of their families.

Bottom line is, you can't really get to know what a person is really like by reading TMZ.

Sir Humphry In Panic Mode

I read this:
Looking for a quick and easy boost in the polls, President Obama has decided to go to the one place where merit bears no relationship to adulation: the United Nations. On September 24, the president will take the unprecedented step of presiding over a meeting of the UN Security Council.
and an image formed in my brain of Sir Humphry Appleby reacting in horror to the news. The word is though that Sir Humphry retired to greener pastures some time ago.

Narrow Escape

Thank Heaven we got out of Brookline alive:
According to Health Department reports, inspectors stopped by the Harvard Street Stop & Shop last month, and found several baked goods made with trans fat or partially hydrogenated oils. The offending pastries included an 8-inch apple pie, braided Danish, beef knish and Jamaican patty.

Who knows how close we were to ingesting that killer apple pie. Stay diligent Brookline!

Pinky and Pinkie and a Thursday Update

"Adam's Rib" is quite a fine movie, though I prefer "Philadelphia Story" and "Bringing Up Baby"--maybe I just prefer Grant/Hepburn to Tracy/Hepburn? If the Pinky/Pinkie reference is too obscure, it comes from "Adam's Rib".

Which brings me to the evening pinkie update. The guy whose pinkie was bitten off has now spoken, and according to him, it was the pro-Obama guy who began the verbal confrontation, but the 9-figured man confesses to being the first to start shoving.

Looks like no one comes out smelling very good. Interestingly, the amputation of a finger is actually a felony, and the guy who did it could be up for some pretty serious jail time.

Fires: The sunset is still nice and red, but the moon is only a couple shades toward the yellow tonight. A couple of nights ago, it looked the color of a rose wine.

Employment: The employment report comes out tomorrow for August's data. Unfornuately, the computer I have my data on, is still getting fixed, and we haven't gotten it back yet--so, I can't run my numbers. Boo hoo!!!!

Kindle: I don't know if I've mentioned that we have a family Kindle. I love the thing and find it a great way to read. Steven has read quite a bit on it, but given a choice between a real book and a Kindle book, Elizabeth chooses the real book.

Nevertheless, our Kindle has a minor hardware problem. There is a little joy-stick-like button on it, and the button has somehow managed to crack horizontally into two pieces.

I called Kindle support today, and was amazed. First, my call was answered, and I was talking to a real person within about 30 seconds of placing the call. Second, I don't have to send the broken Kindle back before they send the new one. They are actually shipping the replacement first, then we simply put the old one in the same packaging and ship the broken one back.

Pretty cool, and very nice customer service.

Go Amazon!

Fundamental lack of understanding

A long time ago, back during the Clinton administration, I remember writing a piece on how the cynicism of the Clintonians was infuriating. My main beef was the feeling that they thought everyone in the country were morons who just needed to hear the right words to be convinced of the glory, rightness and righteousness of the Clintonians.

In other words, people are too stupid to know what's best for them, don't bother trying to explain the policy to them, because they wouldn't understand or would just let their small-minded bitter-clinging world view get in the way. The little people should not interfere, but should let their betters take care of things for them.

They follow the George Lakoff version of politics: if you can just find the right words--like casting a confundus spell in Harry Potter--then you can make them agree with you. It's like magic! Don't call it the "public option" call it the "American Plan" and people will fall all over themselves to support it!

This, of course, is utter bunk. With a major change in the direction of the country, such as the complete reordering--on the government's orders--of 1/7th of the national economy, most people actually do look pastthe hand waving and the screaming to look at what is actually being proposed.

That's why the Tea Partiers are quoting directly from HR 3200 and bringing up specific proposals from the plan. They aren't listening to the politicians but are actually looking at the facts. (With no help from the media. Has an actual, extensive breakdown of HR 3200's proposals--all 1,000 pages of them--appeared in any major newspaper? Or is the media too fixated on the horse-race aspects? The media never seem to report on underlying proposals, just on the lies and carefully-crafted turns-of-phrase of the politicians.)

The Clintonians and the Obamaniacs both seem to be under the impression that facts don't matter, only the words you use to trick people. It drives me nuts.

This type of thinking does have one upside, though. It makes it very hard for people who think like this to actually convince people of their positions. If you think it is all hand-waving and manipulation, but if you are mistaken and it is really all about the facts and concrete proposals, you aren't even competing on the same playing field.

Breaking news

A little breaking news happening out this way today. Apparently, at a MoveOn rally, someone opposing Obama's health care reforms crossed over to confront the MoveOn side.

Somehow, he ended up with his finger bitten off, and walking with it to a nearby hospital.

At least, that's what preliminary reports are saying.

Just a point of information for the MoveOn side: if you want to hold down health costs, don't bite people's fingers off!

Morning Update: It looks like there was a very-aggressive man on the anti-Obama side. Apparently, the geography of the area meant that the pro-Obama people had to walk through the anti-Obama people to get to their side of the demonstration, and this one man was giving them a very hard time. One of the pro-Obama people engaged with this man, and the anti-guy punched him in the face so hard he fell over into a busy street. The pro-guy got up and by the time they were done, he had bitten off the anti-guy's finger.

The initial aggression seems to have been on the anti-Obama side, and I wonder why others in that crowd didn't try to hold him back or kick him out.

Still, escalating by biting off a finger seems a bit extreme.

Not In MA Anymore

I was at the DMV today, getting a driver's license and registering my car. I was very surprised to see this plate option:
Wow. This is more proof we aren't in Massachusetts any more.

Red dusk

With the sun still quite high in the sky at around 6pm, the light around here was flat-out red, and looking up at the sun showed a wimpy red sun. Somehow, the smoke has managed to move from the fires in the north, around in a circle to the west, then it headed south and back east again. It looks like the smoke is making a loop around the city (of course, it's probably just perception, since looking straight up through the smoke shows it to be less thick than looking more end-on to a smoke cloud.

Still, the 7-year-old boy asked what smelled like barbecue, and he needed his inhaler a tiny bit this morning.

It's very smoky around here.