Thursday, December 24, 2009

There might be carrot cake in Heaven today.... would have been my mother's 65th birthday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Enforcers vs. the Geneva Convention

FratersLibertas links and comments on a Wall Street Journal piece about soldiers technically violating the Geneva Convention, but in doing so, probably preventing war from becoming even more brutal.

The author's poignant example is of his father's unit finding that 100 American POWs had been massacred by the SS, and the response was to not take prisoners for the next two weeks--in other words, to kill those who tried to surrender. It sounds brutal, and it was--until you realize that had they not done this, what would the fate of further American POWs have been?

In the same way, what message was sent to genocidal maniacs when an Army unit opened fire on SS guards at Dachau? Violation of the Geneva Convention? Absolutely. Reminder that barbaric cruelty to the defenseless will be returned to the offender? Priceless.

It's akin to the tradition of the "enforcer" in hockey. Ever hear of Claude Lemieux taking cheap shots against the Red Wings after this?

I rest my case. Free the Seals who punched the barbarian.

Crime rate to drop in Chicago,

at least for a day. Now if only we could persuade DC to do the same on Christmas Eve.....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happiness is....

....zipping through fresh snow in the neighborhood on freshly waxed nordic (cross country) skis. I got five pairs of skis (just need a couple more for the rest of the family!) and the toboggan waxed last night. Even happier is using my old decrepit iron to melt the wax instead of my wife's Rowenta. :^) (this would have been a nice, posthumous memory if I had, I think)

A nice sad memory is....

....remembering how my late mother, not having a ton of money to spare at the time, bought me one of those pairs of skis when I shot up to six feet, along with a new winter coat (down-filled!) to make sure that those skiing outings would be fun--even at 25 below zero with 75 below windchill. (yes, I have skied in such conditions....and it was great!)

And yes, those skis are still in good shape despite a lot of use....if you doubt that parents can inculcate good lifelong habits with a simple investment in children, there you go.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tough gal

In reading Luke 2, have you ever noticed that it appears that Mary was the one to wrap our infant Savior in swaddling clothes and put Him in the manger? And I thought that labor alone was tough enough duty--somehow Mary found the energy after all that to get up and tend to Him as well.

Tough gal. Wonderful Savior. Merry Christmas!

(Joseph obviously wasn't a sensitive new age guy.....or maybe he was interacting with the shepherds? )

Covering for the Muckraker

Evidently, one of DC's finest has been videotaped drawing his gun after being hit by a snowball or two. Ayup, they're the ones mature and responsible enough to be carrying such a weapon, and you are not, according the the gun control types.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Now this is shocking

Well, not exactly. Apparently, districts which voted Democratic got twice the spend-u-more funding from Dear Leader and his minions as those which voted Republican, and there is no correlation whatsoever between need for help and the help actually delivered. This is, of course, exactly what we would expect if we put a corrupt community organizer from Chicago into the White House. Stimulus? Hardly. Payoff for votes? You betcha. Now exactly why is this not prosecuted as bribery?

It might not turn out all bad, though. Studies of the Marshall Plan found that there is an inverse correlation between government aid and prosperity--a correlation that gets additional support from the situation in the South Side of Chicago.

Honourable mention, woman of the year.....

....goes this year to Elin Nordegren, who used a nine iron to remind adulterers everywhere that somebody was paying attention when then-Congressman Dick Armey noted that had he done what Bill Clinton had done, he'd be lying on his back in a pool of his own blood while his wife asked herself "now how do I reload this thing?". "Cheetah" Woods is very fortunate that his sport is golf and not competitive shooting, to put it mildly.

To be certain, the situation is tragic, but one silver lining in this dark cloud is that Mrs. Woods is NOT standing meekly behind her philanderer trying to cover over the damage. Well done!

And yes, Mrs. Woods only gets "honourable mention," as the Bike Bubba Woman of the Year Prize always goes to Mrs. Bike Bubba, and first runner up always goes to Bike Bubba's Mom. In that light, "honourable mention" is pretty good.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why every bill should be read in the Senate

And, of course, the House of Representatives, too. Apparently, a recently signed law requires Amtrak passengers carrying firearms to be locked in boxes. To be sure, it would probably be more comfortable to be locked in a metal box than in one of their 30 year old seats, and it would definitely be a bonus to not use their bathrooms or canteen service. However, this sometimes Amtrak passenger still thinks that there is something a bit amiss here that maybe, just maybe, actually bothering to READ a bill might help.

Not to mention that if bills, and amendments, were read to the whole body, it would seriously cut down on the amount of infringement they could do on our rights.

Read every bill, every amendment, to the whole body.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's a "doodlebug"

Regarding my earlier post about light rail, I learned the proper name for a self-propelled passenger rail car. "Doodlebug."

To make them competitive with buses, though, I still think you'd need to make the rail gauge 7' or so instead of the standard gauge of 4' 8.5". Again, the chief driver of the weight of a rail carriage is the need to keep the center of mass/force between the rails, so a wider gauge allows lighter weight, better stability, higher speed, less vibration, and more.

Your government at work

Apparently, those 800,000 doses of H1N1 flu vaccine were recalled not because they posed any danger, but rather because they apparently weren't quite strong enough.

So instead of providing partial protection to 800,000 people, or increasing the dosage and providing good protection to 500,000 people, the government decided that 800,000 people would go without protection at all--and their neighbors would also be more exposed.

Their neighbors, you ask? Yes. Remember that a vaccine doesn't work primarily by protecting you from a disease, but rather by reducing the chance that you'll pass the disease on to others. If each infected person infects more than one person on average, you have an epidemic. If they infect less than one person, the disease fizzles out quickly. So even a "weak" vaccine can provide substantial protection and confer a degree of "herd immunity."

"Kudos" to the "experts" in Washington for forgetting the most basic principle of vaccines. Hopefully it doesn't have catastrophic consequences, but this is definitely something you want to consider when you ask yourself "how much influence do I want government to have in medicine?" For me, the answer is rapidly approaching a perfectly round number. 0.

This explains the chip on Obama's shoulder!

Apparently, Dear Leader made comments recently to the effect of "insulation is sexy," but his home in Chicago is a largely uninsulated brick edifice with wall and window R values of about 1. I must conclude the Obamas' marriage is loveless, and this would explain his consistent attacks on his political opponents.

Or something like that.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Till grits do you part.....

Apparently, a woman in Louisiana retaliated against her sleeping soon to be ex-boyfriend by throwing grits on him, causing second degree burns. I would guess that, even in Louisiana, this is not a good way to try to "make up". Maybe if they were cheese grits....

On the serious side, those who live in sin are 3x more likely to have domestic violence than those who get married....taking the milk from the cow without paying does not appear to be the best way to domestic bliss.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Revoke his tenure....

One of the most irritating things about President Obama's "professorial" air is that he doesn't actually know very much, and what he does "know," he tends to get dead wrong. In his recent diatribe against bankers, he demonstrates this very clearly; on the one hand, he's blaming "irresponsible lending" for the current economic difficulties, and on the other, he's beating on bankers to get them to loosen lending standards and make more loans. Either he is unaware, or doesn't care, that these statements--made in the same speech--are contradictory. They used to teach "logic" at Harvard Law, but that's not apparent in Dear Leader's rantings--or TOTUS's, if that be the case.

In the same way, he's blithely "forgotten" that TARP (or more accurately, "TRAP") was not wanted by most sound banks, who literally had to be forced by former Treasury Secretary Paulson to take the money. Not exactly the kind of "help" that the financial industry needed, and hence it's no surprise that another seven million people lost their jobs even after "TRAP" was passed and implemented.

And now he's mad that bankers--who also warned about the CRA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other issues--are also against the "reform" plan for financial services. Given his accuracy rate in the rest of his speech, I'm inclined to think that the surest way to be right is to disagree with him.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

All Aboard?

Well, if an article Mitch links regarding Minnesota's new commuter rail line is indicative, I think I'll pass. After only three weeks, the locomotive had a breakdown, and commuters were left quite literally in the cold.

Given that a well maintained diesel engine is incredibly reliable (most ships have only one, despite the need to power through storms), this is not exactly good news for the program. The news gets worse, though; all five locomotives have had the same part, a throttle housing, replaced.

In short, somebody really screwed up in procurement, and this was compounded by failures in maintenance. Thankfully for the riders, a private company sent one of its own locomotives along the only transcontinental railroad line built without government subsidies (thanks Mr. Hill!) to pull the carriages to warmth. As Mitch notes, commuter rail has the best chance of success, but it doesn't appear that they're doing too well right now.

And if you really wanted to make rail work, I still think you'd put a small diesel (say the Cummins unit Dodge uses for pickups) in each carriage and have each one power itself--and others in case one engine has difficulties. You'd reduce the weight of the train by up to half, double its efficiency, and greatly improve its reliability as well.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Mystery meat in the school lunch program?

You bet it was, and is. Apparently, most fast food chains and upscale markets are far more picky about what kind of meats they use than the USDA School Lunch program. So if you wondered whether you were eating "strawberry tart without so much rat in it" in 5th grade, well yes, absolutely.

My favorite part is the fact that even Campbell's soup would not accept certain chickens being served at school cafeterias; given that the classic use of an old hen is in soup, it says a lot when a soup-maker won't use them, but the school lunch program will.

This surprised him exactly why?

Apparently, a young man trying to live as a woman was turned down for a job by a local McDonald's, and is now taking his (ahem, not "her") case to the press and possibly the courts. Somebody seriously need to take this boy aside and tell him that if his appearance induces nausea, there is an obvious reason he isn't going to be hired at "Chez Mac."

Side note: due in part to the loving care they received from their late grandmother--enjoying brie and chai with them by age three--my children would probably inform me that it would make perfect sense that a McDonald's worker would induce nausea. After all, doesn't their food do just that? It's just truth in advertising, after all. :^)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A question not asked

President Obama is creating what he bills as an ambitious small business jobs program from $200 billion not needed for the TARP program. My question; exactly what in the law allows him to appropriate this amount of money for his pet projects without the express approval of Congress? It seems to me that Article 1 of the Constitution gives Congress the right to appropriate money, not the President.

Time to impeach Dear Leader. He's obviously not taking his oath to uphold the Constitution seriously.

How NOT to dispel a stereotype

If you're Italian and proud of your ancestry, and detest the stereotypes too often applied to Italians, it would be a good idea NOT to make death threats against MTV producers.

"Hey, we're mad youse making a TV show about sayin' bad things 'bout us Italians. Knock it off, or we make-a you some concrete shoes and dump you in the Hudson!"

Along similar lines, my brother had a friend in college whose family once made dinner reservations with another family at a New York City restaurant, only to find the restaurant vacant when they got there. Not being part of the famous "families" of their names, they hadn't reckoned on the restauranteurs taking precautions when they got a reservation for "Gambino and Columbo."

My stereotypes of Italians, for what it's worth, are people making some seriously good food....I would guess that won't get me too many threats.

A new genre of doggerel

"Pieku," or a haiku about pie. I may or may not have coined the name, but I'll proudly contribute a sample.

Take lard and flour, mix
well and roll. Add filling, bake.
Yummy, not kosher.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Speaking of Barnum's Law,

...check out this little bit by Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, who has evidently forgotten exactly which political party actually DID support slavery in the 19th Century. Hint; Harry, it wasn't the Republicans.

In honor of Barnum's Law modified by Scott Adams; never underestimate the power of stupidity. This thought came to me while I was considering why people would conspire--breathe together--to get socialized medicine to the United States (and its long lines for basic care), to cut payments to oncologists (while smoking up a storm in the White House), and destroy our economy with cap & trade.

I had thought that it was unthinkable that people would knowingly do collectivist action if they understood the history of the 20th Century--and it is--but yet we should not underestimate the power of stupidity and human sin.

Again, there's that "history of the 20th Century."

Friday, December 04, 2009


Michelle Malkin links to a Gateway Pundit report on Comrade Obama's "Safe Schools Czar," Kevin Jennings. Apparently, he's got an extensive history with the GLSEN, the "Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network," and that group has put forth a reading list of recommended books for youth of various ages.

The content is generally about young children having sexual relations, often with adults. Now there is a primary fact here that Kevin Jennings, if he truly has anything to do with this list, shouldn't be anywhere near any school anywhere in the country--he should be on Megan's List instead.

More tellingly, the number of books specifically about relationships between children/teens and adults of the same sex would suggest to us that, ahem, GLSEN's own work suggests a strong link between homosexuality, pedophilia, and pederasty. They can deny it all they want, but what does their reading list tell us?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Fill up the whole card!

Fraters Libertas tells us that if you want to fill up your card quickly with "Buzzword Bingo" (thanks Scott Adams), you could do little better than to use this speech by our President.

Just make sure the little ones aren't listening when you stand up and"Bingo." If meaningless buzzwords created jobs, Obama would have full employment in minutes. Unfortunately, it's not that easy.

Scooped the Muckraker!

Another 10 year old child tased by the police, this time in Pueblo, Colorado. Now in their defense, the child was wielding a pipe and was wreaking havoc in the house, but are we seriously to believe that police could not handle a ten year old, even a large one?

Gone, apparently, are the days when a standard requirement for police officer was stature and strength--such as the famous requirement that England's "bobbies" be at least six feet tall. By choosing officers without regard to their ability to subdue unarmed suspects without the use of incapacitating and lethal force, are we setting up a situation where the Taser and the Glock are going to be used needlessly?

Now this is classic

Apparently, Senatrix Boxer (D-CA) is saying that any probe of the leaked "Climategate" emails ought to involve a criminal probe. She is apparently slow enough on the uptake to forget that Congress, and United States justice in general, does not have jurisdiction over emails stolen in England by people apparently living in Russia.

She also is fairly slow on the uptake to realize that the emails contain clear evidence that climatologists were defrauding the governments of the world by fabricating, hiding, and destoying evidence, and by exerting political pressure on the peer review process.

That would, of course, be something punishable in United States courts, though I don't anticipate Senatrix Boxer pushing for the prosecution of people like NASA's James Hansen, however much that would be deserved.

A good column from John Lott

Here. In it, he points out that the Obama administration's measure of "jobs created or saved" more or less means that if a dollar is spent to employ someone, it is a "job created or saved"--whether or not the person's employment depended on that program.

Of course, the little detail that each job "created or saved" is costing a cool million dollars or more doesn't seem to faze Dear Leader, but that isn't the important point; the important point is that honest accounting (as opposed to the government kind) wouldn't find anywhere near the 640,000 jobs claimed by the President.

Rather, the data seem to be indicating that taking eight hundred billion dollars out of the private sector has actually put about three million people out of work--a drastic example of what Bastiat noted as "that which is not seen." Had only Lott seen fit to reference that great work in his column, it might have helped many clue in to the true damage being done by Dear Leader.

Regarding that damage, I'd also like to point my readers (all five of you?) to some great posts by my friend "ColdFusionGuy" on the subjects of excessive debt and the decline of nations. Dear Leader may think that the nation can weather the debt burden he is imposing, but reality is that when debt exceeds income by a certain amount, merely paying the interest puts a serious crimp on one's economy.

Finally, I have a touch of pride in my alma mater, which appears to be one of very few colleges and universities which do not ban students and visitors from lawfully carrying a pistol. So people there are marginally safer from being attacked.

Of course, it does NOT protect students from the trauma of cheering for a football team that drops games to Central, from the stench wafting from Cedar Village, or from the fact that too many there are not terribly interested in obtaining an education. The sad news is that students will still need to deal with these hazards of being a Spartan.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

More for the Trivium

The difficulties that Mike Huckabee is currently having answering why he commuted the sentence of a burglar after having served a typical sentence for burglary seems to indicate to me how badly rhetoric has fallon on hard times, as well as how badly our nation's capability for understanding has fallen. People are talking about the release of a burglar after 11 years as if it were a weekend pass for a murderer and rapist after only 10 years, and because our rhetorical skills are absent, too many are unable to see the difference.

If you want to do something great for our country, I can think of few things that would be more powerful than to actually teach grammar, logic, and rhetoric--either picking it up yourself, or teaching it to your (or someone else's) children.

In similar thoughts, remember that earlier comment about Jack Chick's "endorsement" of the KJV? I'm grateful that, even with my mediocre rhetorical skills, the careful presentation of facts in the case has pulled a number of people away from Chick's nonsense.

One correction, though. The most powerful argument against the booklet was not the preface, translator's notes, or even the text of the actual 1611 KJV. It was the title page. My apologies.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Conservatives are not exactly looking smart here.... attacking Mike Huckabee for commuting the sentence of Maurice Clemmons, murderer of four Washington police officers. Why?

He had been convicted to up to 108 years in prison for aggravated robbery, burglary, robbery and two counts of theft of property--crimes committed when he was 17. Now call me weird, but 108 years is usually a sentence given for forcible rape or first degree murder, not robbery and burglary. What Huckabee did was simply to commute part of the sentence (to an overall 48 years), making him eligible for parole in 11 years.

Which is, ahem, a typical sentence for burglary. So I don't fault Huckabee for setting the stage for his parole. I do, however, fault authorities for not taking firmer, "three strikes" kind of actions when it became clear that his crimes were not simply youthful sins--in 2001 and this year. Had they simply revoked the 2001 parole, he would have been in jail for another 36 years, plus a sentence for burglary.

And, ahem, four innocent victims of his crime spree would now be alive.