Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year, New Blogroll
I've been meaning to do this for a while, but I've finally gotten through a bunch of blogroll updates.

First and foremost, make sure to visit the new Blogs4Bauer for all of your 24-related blogging needs.

I've deleted Powerline, as I've come to find their blog incredibly overrated, and their views a bit too radical for my tastes. I also deleted Political Wire—while he provides a good synthesis of the news, it's always stuff I've read elsewhere, and his blatant joy over everything that hurts the Republicans and near ignorance of anything that hurts the Dems has just gotten to overpowering. I also removed TheAnchoress—nothing personal, I just don't find her stuff as gripping as I once did. I never read "Oh That Liberal Media," so they're gone. And The Yale Free Press never updates their blog—ever—so they're out too. Command Post stopped being updated a while ago, and I finally got around to reflecting that fact. That's it for the deletions.

There were also a few demotions. While my blogroll does not necessarily reflect the ordering of my tastes, I've typically reserved the bottom of the blogroll for those I rarely if ever read. Andrew Sullivan has gone off the deep end, so he gets bottom billing. Hugh Hewitt has always been too radical for me, so he's second from the bottom. Both are still worth reading, so I've left them on—but they might be gone soon enough.

I also moved IMAO and Mountaineer Musings down the list. I think IMAO went way downhill when it became a group blog—too much cacaphony, not enough funny—and I think Mountaineer Musings has gotten way too whiny of late. Sorry, just my opinions. I'm still reading them both, hoping desperately for a return to their former glory—but I'm not exactly optimistic. Another reason they both got demoted is the fraud that they're perpetrating against the blogosphere, and, more significantly, close friends of theirs. I promised I wouldn't reveal said fraud, so I can say no more—but I think it's despicable.

Now, on to the good stuff (saving the best for last).

I've added Kobayashi Maru. I would have added him a long time ago (and if memory serves, I may even have done so), but he went through the painful loss of his brother and was supposedly taking a blogging break for a while. In his own words, that never really happened:

I slowed down on the blogging for a bit, vowed I would quit it entirely, then dove back in with a vengeance that's distracting me from what I should be doing which is writing a book. The instant feedback is addicting.
I just assumed when he swore it off that he was serious, so I stopped checking for a while. Now that I know he's back, however, He's on the blogroll where he should be. Check him out—smart guy, smart, interesting posts.

Next up we have Jenn, at Say No To P.C. B.S.. Smart, conservative young woman with whom I've been corresponding for a while. I think she could use a few more links in her posts, but she always has interesting things to say. She really infuriates the lefties that read what she has to say, and she can back it up with the logic necessary to really drive them wild. So check her out.

I've also added Slate Magazine. I've been listening to their podcasts for a while now, and reading the site of late, and really like the variety of topics and opinions they cover.

And finally, The Man's little brother gets a slot for his blog, Gop and College. When he graduates, he should rebrand with something a little more original, but in the meantime he's got a good eye and has had a few major break-through posts.

So check them out. You might learn something.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

U.S. Responds: Yeah? What are you going to do about it?
Canada blames U.S. for gun violence

Friday, December 23, 2005

Blogs4Bauer - The Day Has Arrived
Click the image below to visit the launch of Blogs4Bauer:

Thursday, December 22, 2005

It's beginning to look a lot like...
I don't know why, but I've been slow to get into the Christmas spirit this year. I had a spurt a few weeks ago, when I put up my tree, put the candles in the windows and the lights on the roofline—but since then I've been feeling sort of ho-hum.

Well today—again, I don't know why—I woke up in the mood. It's a great feeling, really. And this only helps.

I always like knowing that there are good and generous people in the world.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Can we please stop kidding ourselves?
From CNN:

More than one medical professional is under scrutiny as a possible person of interest as Louisiana's attorney general investigates whether hospital workers resorted to euthanasia in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina shattered New Orleans, a source familiar with the investigation has told CNN.
This is one of the most disturbing things I've ever read. Why? Because we are now euphemistically calling murder "euthanasia." Euthanasia was a euphemism to begin with. "Assisted suicide" was deemed to poll poorly, so they re-dubbed it euthanasia. Now, we are looking at a situation that was clearly not voluntary on the part of the deceased, and calling it euthanasia simply because the victims were old and possibly approaching death of natural causes.

Sick.

Strikeblogging - An Outside Perspective
There are plenty of strikebloggers who are directly inconvenienced by the TWU's arrogance. The Man, for example, is a New Yorker who has to walk in the cold due to a lack of subway transportation.

I am a non-New Yorker who works in the city. Commuting from CT in the middle of a strike is a breeze, as I simply ride Metro-North to Grand Central Station and walk to work like I always do. No problem.

But let me tell you, it's funny as hell this week. Imagine nuclear winter. Humanity is forced to live in cages. Finally the air clears, and we emerge. We flinch at the sunlight, rubbing our eyes, stumbling around not quite sure where to go or what to do.

Now you have a decent approximation of what New Yorkers look like right now, forced out of their subway homes. It really is funny.

But on to the strike.

The TWU has squandered any goodwill or support that New Yorkers might have offered them. This is absurd. They want 8% raises every year, a 55 year-old retirement age with full pension, and free healthcare. The average TWU worker makes $55,000 a year. That means the average TWU worker is making more than me, and I've got to tell you two things: First, what I'm doing takes a lot more knowledge and training than what any of them do. It's arrogant, I know, but it's true. Second, I'd LOVE to have that kind of deal. And, since the average subway rider makes less than that as well, I'm pretty sure that they'd love it, too.

And when they throw the city into chaos, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars PER DAY, it's really hard to pity them. This will end badly—and I can tell you that no one I've talked to faults the MTA management in the least.

Oh, and MOST important. I need someone to explain something to me. The union wants the MTA to reduce the number of disciplinary actions. WHAT? Isn't that more in the union's control than the MTA? Are they supposed to turn their backs when these over-paid workers screw up??

Or am I missing something?

Monday, December 19, 2005

It Almost Seems Worth It...

It's not that surprising
...but wow.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Listen to the man
He knows what he's talking about.

Inexcusable!
Ugh.

Hussain Kamal confirmed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- the al Qaeda in Iraq leader who has a $25 million bounty on his head -- was in custody at some point last year, but he wouldn't provide further details.
Need I say any more?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Um...
I honestly think there isn't a single thing about this story that lacks an overabundance of weirdness.

UPDATE [14:03 - 12/13/2005]: Now CNN offers another one, equally disturbing!

What's going on??

Monday, December 12, 2005

Priceless
Lileks offers the first—of what I can only assume will be many—year-end summations. And it's funny. Read it.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Celebrate the funny
Yes, that's right. I, once again, brought the funny to GaijinBiker's weekly caption contest, winning my second first place victory. Lot's of funny entries this week, so check it out.

Awful. Simply awful.
Sheriff's deputy Andy McDowell is living a parent's worst nightmare:

After he was taken to the site where one of his two sons was killed in a car crash early Wednesday, McDowell was driven past another fatal accident. Only later did he learn that the fiery wreck took the life of his only other child.
Pray for him and what's left of his family. I really just don't know what else to say.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ever vigilant
Unfortunately, that title is not a description of MTA-Metro North Railroad employees.

I get on the train this morning. I find one of the few open seats and sit down. As I do, I see someone (I honestly didn't notice if it was a man or a woman) stand up very quickly and bolt off the train just as the doors closed. I thought that was a bit odd, but sometimes people fall asleep and only wake up just in time, and I let it go.

When the woman who had been sitting next to him or her and the man who had been across from them started looking around puzzled, I got interested. It became very apparent that this fast-moving person had left behind a plastic bag. It had what looked like it might have been a purse sticking out of the top, and the shape of a box (maybe a shoebox?) in the bottom. But let's be honest, folks: God only knows what was in that bag.

The woman left behind seemed to think in the same way as I did. She seemed a little shaken by the whole thing, and began constantly scanning for one of the conductors. After all, we all know the line by now:

If you see something, say something
The MTA has a web page devoted to this topic, and regularly posts advertisements both on the trains and in the stations to remind us. They implore you, "Alert a police officer, train or bus operator, station personnel or call 888-NYC-SAFE (888-692-7233)."

After a few minutes, the conductor happens by. She says "excuse me" three times before it catches his attention, and she starts to explain: "Some woman left this bag here and got off the tr—" And he cut her off (!), saying, "I'll be with you in a few minutes."

By the time he came back about 20 minutes later, the woman had reached her stop and left the train. In an effort to clear the seat to make room for another passenger, the conductor picked up the very bag in question and moved it to the floor—so it'd be out of the way. I couldn't believe it. So, when he came back two rows to me, to collect my ticket, I pointed at the bag and explained to him that a woman had run off the train and left it behind. He responds, "don't worry, we'll put it in the Metro-North lost and found when we get to Grand Central—I know all about it."

I let it go, but I couldn't believe my ears.

Honestly, what's the point of saying something when you see something if the conductor isn't even aware of what's going on around him?

No wonder we aren't any safer. And yes, that picture at the top is an actual picture of the actual bag, taken with my cell phone.

UPDATE [12/7/2005 - 13:51]: More from Flip, The Man, and GaijinBiker. Welcome also to the TotalFarkers, and thanks to whoever linked me over there—I'm not a member, so I can't view the article to thank you more specifically.

Monday, December 05, 2005

This doesn't seem complicated to me
A man previously sentenced to life in prison is released on parole. He holds up a pizzeria. He writes a letter to the judge explaining that he was hearing voices and wanted to kill himself. He is granted a psychiatric evaluation. The judge can sentence him to life in prison, or order hospitatlization or some other kind of treatment, which would prevent him from returning to jail.

Does this actually seem complicated to anyone? The guy was already sentenced to life in prison, so I'm not entirely sure why he was released in the first place.

Put his ass back in jail. And leave him there. For life—as should have happened the first time.

Makes sense to me
This is the first sensible diet advice I have heard in a long, long time. Now if only we could convince women that the number on the scale doesn't mean anything; it's all about how you think you look.

I can't wait for this decision
Of all of the cases before the Supreme Court this session, this one is probably the most interesting.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Unbelievable—and yet entirely believable
The Man takes a story from Best of the Web and runs with it. Thanks to some great sleuthing by GOP and College, MoveOn.org has been caught in another lie.

Best of the Web pointed out that MoveOn had taken a picture of British soldiers and attached it to a headline lamenting the number of American troops "stuck" in Iraq for the holidays. BotW's contention, based on the fact that American soldiers do not wear shorts in a combat zone, was that MoveOn doesn't know what an American soldier looks like. Well, it turns out that that's not true. MoveOn knew very well, it seems, that the picture in question could not be of American troops—or at the very least that an American soldier in shorts raises some serious questions. They just didn't cover their tracks very well, photoshopping some images and not others.





Click on either of the pictures at the left for a larger version.

UPDATE [11/30/2005 - 17:17]: It seems the MoveOn has pulled the offending ad, though it is still available on their website.

UPDATE [11/30/2005 - 22:29]: There's more coverage all over the place now. Here, here, here, here, and many more.

Sounds like a good idea to me
New Orleans is taking the steps necessary to get their economy back in order—and they've clearly got their priorities in order:

Hurricane-ravaged New Orleans is starting the nation's first free wireless Internet network owned and run by a major city, a move aimed at boosting the city's stalled economy.
Are they kidding?? Who decided that this was an urgent early step?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Hippies lose focus
It's the inevitable outcome, isn't it?

Make sure you read my favorite sentence of the whole piece:

Harry Reid closed down the Senate in a closed session, and the Senate is very rarely closed.
So a closed-minded Senator used the Senate to close down the Senate for the sake of having a closed Senate session in the closed Senate chamber?

Friday, November 25, 2005

I'm a grouchy old man
And as such, Ned Crabb's column in today's WSJ, as well as suiting his last name amazingly well, fits my sensibilities perfectly:

I can stay my pen no longer. Solecisms that are becoming common in written and spoken English must be dealt with firmly. Two are dreadfully ignorant and unacceptable, while another usage is forgivable though nonetheless wrong. Today, with this column, I'm going to halt the use of the worst two and force a general acknowledgment of the third. Tomorrow, I'm going out to Jones Beach on Long Island and command the waves to cease rolling in to shore.

Well. That's the way it is. You do your best. Perhaps a smattering of librarians will agree. Or just maybe a bunch of guys and gals in a holiday-bedecked tavern somewhere out in the heartland, boozing merrily and reading The Wall Street Journal, as I'm sure they are wont to do in such places, will wonder, by God, isn't good grammar a pillar of our beautiful English language? And are we going sit idly by and watch it knocked down by clumsy use?

"No!" they'll shout. And the cry will be raised and the word will spread from that tavern.

And I'll be crowned king of Uzbekistan right after Christmas.
While his particular examples seem rather tame to me the sentiment does not. I'll add one of my own:
Everyone is not in the room.
Think about that sentence. What do you think it means?

Many people use it to say that there are people missing who are supposed to be in the room. What it actually says is different. Literally, that sentence means that there is no one in the room. [UPDATE (11/28/2005 - 11:35): As I mentioned in this comment, I was mistaken in my initial definition of this sentence. It does not mean that there is no one in the room, it means that no members of a specific group are in a room. "Everyone" refers to some subset of humanity, and by saying "Everyone is not in the room," you assert that no one of that subset is present. "Not everyone is in the room," instead allows for the possibility that some portion of the specified subset is present although at least one member of said subset is absent. Feel free to dispute this, but I'm pretty sure I'm right this time.]

The hypothetical person in question intended to say "Not everyone is in the room." People who say the former, incorrect phrase butcher the English language.

Yeah, it's minor, but, well, I'm a crotchety old man. Yes, I know I'm only 22—imagine what I'll be like at 60.

UPDATE [11/25/2005 - 0:50]: I just thought of another one what needs mentioning:
I could care less.
The very nature of that statement, in the context it usually takes, contradicts itself. People use it to mean that they do not care about something. However, saying "I could care less" means that there is a possibility of caring less (duh), and therefore that you care on some level. One should instead say, "I couldn't care less."

If I think of any more, I'll add them. Feel free to place your own in the comments below.

I bought an Xbox today
Not one of those stupid 360 things. I have no need to spend, nor interest in spending, several hundred dollars for another game system.

Instead, I spent just over a hundred for the previous generation of Xbox on eBay. Looks to me like it was a good idea.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Giving Thanks
Well, I can't buck the blogger tradition and ignore the fact that it's a holiday, so here's my Thanksgiving post.

First, I want to reiterate all of the things I said last year: we, as a nation, have a lot to be thankful for. We are truly blessed to be Americans, and must never forget how lucky we are. Once again, I invite you to visit a charity of your choice (again recommending Heifer International) and give a little something for people who aren't lucky enough to be Americans.

Also remember those less fortunate Americans who cannot enjoy today as a day of rest with family and friends.

And by reflecting on those less fortunate than we, let us give thanks for the things with which God has graced us. Personally, I'm most thankful for the fact that I have a loving family, a spectacular girlfriend, a great job, a beautiful house on the beach (rent, not own), and a remarkably intelligent constituency (after all, they did vote for me).

Seriously, I'm truly blessed, and I know I'll never be able to express how thankful I am for all that I have.

On a different note: I'm sorry I've been absent for the past week. I needed a bit of a break from the usual daily blogging, and I took it. I'd had enough of arguing about why we went to war in Iraq, instead of figuring out how to win now that we're there; I'd had enough of the "Bush lied" bullshit; I'd had enough of the press manufacturing news about a Congressman's speech that was nearly identical to what he's been saying for two years; in short, I'd had enough of politics generally. I'm still a bit fed up, but the rest has done me good. I'm going to post sporadically over the weekend, and then I'll be back on Monday in as much full force as my work schedule allows.

For those that care, I was sworn into public office on Monday night in a great little ceremony at one of the town's middle schools—and my first meeting is Monday night, where committees and chairmanships are assigned. Everyone cross your fingers that a few Democrats don't show up—they have a 26-to-24 majority, and if two don't show up, we can snag some committee chairmanships.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Game
I'll be up in New Haven tomorrow for The Game, the annual football game between Yale and Harvard. (For more on why it's referred to as The Game—unlike, for example, Stanford and Cal's "Big Game," which clearly needs the adjective—and on why it's so important to the heritage of modern football, read this). And I'd like to give you a few thoughts on the subject.

When I was a Freshman, Yale had won the previous 3 Games, with strong hopes for winning four in a row. When I was a senior, Yale had lost the previous 3 Games, and had little hope of breaking the streak. Sure enough, Harvard trounced us.

This column in today's Yale Daily News attempts to describe the emotions that come with such crushing (and repeated) defeats. The key point:

It hit me that it wasn't just that we lost a football game. It was more than that. Our social reputation and essential identity were on the line.

Over the years we have worked diligently to create the image of Yale as "the cool Ivy." Sure, Harvard may hold a monopoly on the popular consciousness as the premiere institution of higher learning in America. But who cares, we're kick-ass. We stuffed Harvard kids in lockers on our way to AP English. We hate to be associated with those nerds from Cambridge. They were the shunned outsiders in high school, but no, not us. We were the 'cool smart kids'; our social mobility was unparalleled, allowing us to migrate seamlessly from the jocks to the preps to the Plastics. No matter how delusional this might be, our sacred identity is nonetheless under siege.
This has been said elsewhere, in similar fashion.

In episode 4F05 of The Simpsons, Mr. Burns and Smithers attend The Game in New Haven. The following exchange ensues (note: at the time this episode aired, a large proportion of the writers were Harvard graduates):
Burns: Honestly, Smithers, I don't know why Harvard even bothers to show up. They barely even won.
Smithers: Their cheating was even more rampant than last year, sir.
Burns: Well, I say let Harvard have its football and academics. Yale will always be first in gentlemanly club life. Why, every friend I have, I've made right here.(transcript here)
And we've proven it. Last year, The Game was in Cambridge, and, as I said, we got destroyed (35-3). But we had our own fun.

From the Yale Daily News:
The "Harvard Pep Squad" ran up and down the aisles of Harvard Stadium at The Game Nov. 20. They had megaphones in hand and their faces were painted as they encouraged the crowd to hold up the 1,800 red and white pieces of construction paper they had handed out. It would read "Go Harvard," they said.

But the 20 "Pep Squad" members were actually Yale students. And when the Harvard students, faculty and alumni held up their pieces of paper -- over and over again [every time Harvard scored] -- they spelled out "We Suck" in giant block letters the whole stadium could read.
More details are available here.

I've described this in the past as the nature of the beast. Both Harvard and Yale look for a well-rounded student body, but they do so in different ways. Harvard looks for individuals who are the best at something. They want the best students, the best violinists, the best athletes, the best entrepreneurs, etc., and by getting a few of each, they have an overall rounded body. The problem is that they get an unintended result. Think back to your high school days. Think about the kid who was number one in your class. Now, imagine ALL of the kids who were number one in their class being thrown into the same environment. What you end up with is an entire undergraduate student body primarily comprised of socially-inept over-acheivers—not a very fun environment.

Yale, on the other hand, tends to look at people who are similarly outliers on the bell curve. But the admissions department would rather have people who are outliers in several areas—maybe not the best, but in the top few in a variety of departments. As a result, you end up with the people who are more likely 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th in their high school class because they're too busy to devote all energies into one arena. And these people are fun.

So Harvard has tended recently to beat us pretty handily in The Game. At the same time, you can hear the constant complaints of Yale students every time it's played at Harvard, due to the lack of a social scene the night before and the night after—and the sheer amazement of Harvard students at all of the fun to be had when it's played in New Haven. They really are two different worlds—and I say let Harvard have its football and academics; I'd still go to Yale any day of the week.

Oh, and I'm not alone. Today's YDN also reports:
For the first time in recent history, Yale received more early applications than Harvard this fall, with 4,065 students applying under the University's early action program.
It looks to me like the message has gotten out. As long as Yale keeps up its reputation for a better, fuller college experience, this trend will continue—and eventually we'll have the football and academic reputations over Harvard, too.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Blogs for Bauer
I'm probably just solidifying my reputation within the Blogs4Bauer blogroll (see below) for being obsessed with Kim Bauer (played by actress Elisha Cuthbert), but, well, get over it.

It seems that there may be a new member that should be added to the blogroll4bauer—Ms. Cuthbert is now blogging! Apparently, she has joined NHL.com as a celebrity blogress. Unfortunately, her three posts seem to be all about hockey (not surprising, I suppose, considering the location), and noticeably lacking in hot pictures of herself.

24: Season 5 Countdown: 59 Days! Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting developments in the Blogs4Bauer arena over the coming weeks...

Blogroll for Bauer:
GOP and the City - Lifelike Pundits - Caption This - The Ox Rant - Hector Vex - Conservative UAW Guy - Catscape - Sharpshooters - Sobek

Wtf, mate?
This is just damning. And it's not like the LA Times can claim a tight print deadline, as they had an extra 17 hours over the others.

Let's get Hitched
A must-read for everyone who honestly believes Bush lied to get us into the war comes from (who else?) Christopher Hitchens. In his typical "slam you with the truth until you can't see straight" style, Hitch makes his point with resounding force:

Hans Blix, the see-no-evil expert who had managed to certify Iraq and North Korea as kosher in his time, has said in print that he fully expected a coalition intervention to uncover hidden weaponry.

And this, of course, it actually has done. We did not know and could not know, until after the invasion, of Saddam's plan to buy long-range missiles off the shelf from Pyongyang, or of the centrifuge components buried on the property of his chief scientist, Dr. Mahdi Obeidi. The Duelfer report disclosed large latent facilities that were only waiting for the collapse of sanctions to resume activity. Ah, but that's not what you said you were looking for. Could pedantry be pushed any further?

We can now certify Iraq as disarmed, even if the materials once declared by the Saddam regime and never accounted for have still not been found. Why does this certified disarmament upset people so much? Would they rather have given Saddam the benefit of the doubt? Much more infuriating about the current anti-Chalabi hysteria is this: He turns up in Washington with a large delegation of Iraqi democrats, including a female Shiite ex-Communist, several Sunni dignitaries from the 'hot' provinces, and the legendary Abdul Karim al-Muhammadawi, who led a genuine insurgency among the Marsh Arabs for 18 years. And the American left mounts a gargoyle picket line outside and asks silly and insulting questions inside, about a question that has already been decided. What a travesty this is. Not only do the liberal Democrats apparently want their own congressional votes from 1998 and 2002 back. It sometimes seems that they are actually nostalgic for the same period, when Saddam Hussein was running Iraq, and there were no coalition soldiers to challenge his rule, and when therefore by definition there was peace, and thus things were more or less OK. Their current claim to have been fooled or deceived makes them out, on their own account, to be highly dumb and gullible.
I invite one and all to refute what he says, and to use the comment space below, if you wish.

UPDATE [11/17/2005 - 11:23]: Make sure you read this, too. Another great argument.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'll never understand it
Niko Bowie writes in the YDN on a topic that actually deserves some consideration.

He argues that there is no right to vote in the United States (according to the Constitution and federal law), and that there should be. He actually makes a pretty convincing case, overall—though I'm not sold yet—which he proceeds to eviscerate through his deceptive reasoning:

Most recently, in the 2004 election, an anonymous Minnesota elector voted for John Edwards, though most Minnesota voters cast their ballots for John Kerry, and Edwards wasn't even running. Such 'faithless' electors are not uncommon. Over the past two centuries, 156 electors have chosen not to vote for their party's designated candidate. (To be fair, 71 of them changed their votes after the original candidate had died.)
OK. So. In the more than 50 elections we've had, there have been 156 electors who voted against their party's nominee. Sounds like a lot. Unfortunately, it's really not.

There have been 51 elections in the more than 200 years since the Republic decided to distinguish between votes for President and Vice President. If we could multiply that by the number of electors in each election, we get the total number of electors that have cast votes in all presidential elections combined. Unfortunately, the latter multiplier has not been static.

There are currently 538 electors in each presidential election, thanks to the sum of the seats in the House of Representatives (435), the seats in the Senate (100) and a few random electors assigned elsewhere (D.C., etc.). If we assumed that all elections had this number, though, we would be overapproximating the number of electors—instead, we'll need to add the historic number of electors. By looking at this site, we can get a total number of electoral votes for each presidential election year since 1804.

Feel free to check my math, but I found that there have been 20,882 total electoral votes cast. The 156 electors who were "faithless" equal less than 1% (.74%) of that total. If you take advantage of Bowie's admission, and use the lesser 85 who voted faithlessly when their appointed candidate was still alive, that number falls to .4% of the total.

And yet Bowie feels the need to say that the casting of faithless electoral votes is "not uncommon." Clearly, it is uncommon. So why did he feel the need to deceive? Why, when the rest of his argument makes so much sense, did he need to take you down this misleading path?

Then again, maybe it's a good thing, as it takes away from this later, glaring sentence:
After the 2000 election, I do not think you need to hear the political costs of the disenfranchisement of ex-felons.
I'd love to hear him expand on that—after he defines "ex-felon" for me, of course, as it seems to me that, once you committ a felony, you are forever a felon. But setting that aside, what is the penalty of preventing felons from voting? What was the politial consequence that he refers to?

What do you want to bet he's referring to the fact that W. got elected?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Get the word out
I'm glad to see the President finally standing up to the hypocrisy of revisionists who claim that Bush lied about Iraq intelligence, or that he manipulated it to accomplish his goals—when in fact they were right there with him, and often even ahead of him.

Well, Michelle Malkin is equally pleased, and suggests another way that the Bush administration might turn this against the Dems: Google.

She says:

[...] the administration could prove beyond doubt that it didn't lie its way into war just by promoting a simple Google search. Take a look at this graphic.

googlethelie

You can either go to Google and plug in the search string in that graphic, or you can just click on the graphic. Google will take you back in time to 1998, the last time prior to the invasion that the US and Saddam Hussein had a major confrontation. The Google search string Clinton Iraq 1998 will bring up 3.5 million hits about that conflict, during which pretty much every prominent Democrat expressed his or her belief that Saddam had or was developing WMD and was a threat because of it.

No one believed then or since that any US action including Operation Desert Fox in December 1998 completely destroyed Saddam's WMD programs. So if the Democrats believed in those weapons back then, why are they claiming to have been fooled by Bush into believing in them in 2002 and 2003? Well, it's obviously politics at work--the leftwing base of the Democrat party has pulled even its national security hawks to the left, where conspiracy theories rule. And the biggest conspiracy theory that the left loves concerns the war, and how Bush LIED us into it.
Do what the woman says, and tell your friends.

FINAL Election Update (IV)
I just received official word from the Town Clerk's office—there was no change in the recount whatsoever. I am officially a member-elect of the Fairfield RTM, to be sworn in Monday the 21 and attend a planning meeting Monday the 28 of November.

As my friend in the Town Clerk's office just said over the phone: the good news is that I won a seat on the RTM; the bad news is that now I'm on the RTM.

Election Update III
The recount of the standard ballots was this morning at 9:00, with absentees occuring later in the day. After the standard recount, nothing has changed.

I'll post again once I know the absentee totals.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Election Update II
According to current information, the registrars will begin the recount at my elementary school (the polling location for my district) at 9 AM tomorrow. I will be there to observe, and will post an update as soon as I know the outcome.

Hang in there...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Election Update
I just received an email from one of the Assistant Town Clerks. She has informed me that one of my opponents refused to waive his right to a recount, so it must occur. They're telling me it will most likely be on Tuesday.

I have to admit, I'd probably be pretty stubborn in his case as well. His wife is the president of the PTA for the elementary school in our district, around which pretty much everything political revolves. He should have been a shoe-in, but here comes this punk kid just out of college to squeak in ahead of him.

I was hopeful that he'd get over it and skip the recount—but deep down I knew better.

Call me Florida
Or Ohio. More on that later.

I was at the polls by 6:20 AM yesterday. I stayed there until 1:30 PM, when I left for an hour lunch. I was then there until 3:30, when I went to use the bathroom inside, only to discover that some yahoo had locked everyone out, at which point I jumped in my car and went home for 3.5 minutes before returning. The polls closed at 8 PM. One of my running mates and I went inside for the "quick count."

To explain the quick count, I should first explain Fairfield's voting machines. When chads were hanging in Florida in 2000, I was completely confused; I could not believe that people were still punching ballots by hand. In Fairfield, we have behemoth voting machines—originally designed sometime in the 1920s—that happen to be incredibly straightforward and easy to use. All you have to do is pull a small lever down over the people you're voting for, and then pull a big level in front of you to register all of your votes at once. In the event that you vote for too many, the big lever won't budge until you rectify the problem.

So, as I said, this is all mechanical. At the eight o'clock, when the polls close, they lock out all of the voters and allow in anyone who's there for the "quick count." For the quick count, they rotate all of the machines—there are four of them in my district—90 degrees and open up the backs. One of the volunteers then walks from machine to machine, reading off the count for each of the offices at the top of the ticket (i.e. first selectman, selectman, town clerk, board of finance, board of ed), while skipping over the down-ticket offices (i.e. constable, planning and zoning, RTM). People like us who are there to hear the quick count then have a few minutes to add up the results and call them in to their respective headquarters.

So, as I said, my running mate and I went in for the quick count. It was not good. And, if history is any indication, when things go poorly for the top of the ticket, they go just as poorly (if not worse) down-ticket.

We call in the quick count and get ready for the real count. As predicted, things don't look so good. You may remember from my previous post that there are ten candidates (five from each party) and the top five vote-getters win seats on the RTM—well, I was coming down pretty much dead center. It could easily have gone either way.

We do a quick addition once all the numbers have been called. One of the Dems sitting across the table say quickly "what do you figure, we held three?" My running mate and I were still sort of in shock by how badly things had turned, and we agreed that that sounded right. They got up and left, and we started double-checking our numbers. When we were certain that we had everything right, we started circling the winners for each race. And on RTM, we couldn't believe our eyes.

Now, my district used to be a Republican stronghold. About ten years ago that started changing. Two years ago, the Dems took all five seats. If we hadn't been in shock from the up-ticket trouncing, we would have been very excited to have stolen two seats back from the Dems.

When the dust cleared and we verified the numbers, we saw that we'd picked up three. And I was in fifth place. By ten votes. And the next closest was two votes behind that. The fourth place finisher was twenty votes above me.

In other words, it was a pretty tight pack. To make matters worse, we didn't have the absentee ballots included in this count.

So, we packed up our stuff and headed back to headquarters. After a while, the official counts came in. Including absentees, I am now in fifth by six votes, with two Democrats tied for sixth. A fellow Republican is ahead of me by thirteen votes. And by Connecticut state law, if the difference between us is less than one and one half percent of the total votes cast in our race, then an automatic recount is required. Sure enough, my race demands an recount.

Now, the Town Clerk's office will do its best to convince the Dems below me to concede, in which case the recount is cancelled. That makes it possible that I could have been declared the official winner as early as today—I wasn't. Otherwise, the recount should occur early next week.

In other words, as I said before, call me Florida. Or Ohio.

The good news is that as far as anyone can remember, no one has ever picked up six votes in a single-district recount. I should be able to hold up under these circumstances, but it will be close.

So keep your fingers crossed, and I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

It's coming, I promise
I will give you an update on the election--I've just been swamped at work.

Check back later this evening.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Get Ready
Tomorrow, as you know, is Election Day. Michelle Malkin has an Election Watch round-up, and mentions that she'll be covering the major races tomorrow. Of course, she misses a big one, but I'll forgive her for not knowing of my own candidacy.

I'll try to post some of my last-night jitters (as well as a reaction to tonight's Republican Town Committee meeting) later this evening. I'll be at the polls all day tomorrow (as I have been on every Election Day since 2000 and probably will for every one until my death), but may post a few updates throughout the day. Either way, when it's all said and done, I'll post a summary and the outcome tomorrow night.

So keep checking back if you care about a blogger's run for office.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Quagmire!
It's time for the French to end their illegal occupation of Paris. Seriously, though, this is getting a little bothersome. Is anyone else beginning to think we might see the beginings of a land-war in Europe?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Ok, enough. I have to say it.
Yes, that's right, it's time to bitch about Bloomberg. No, I don't want Freddy Ferrer to win, of course—but Bloomberg wouldn't be my choice either.

I just saw a Bloomberg ad on TV, in which he says "I believe government can be a force for good." What kind of Republican starts out a political ad like that? Yeah, I know, a Republican who wants a prayer of winning in Manhattan. But still. It's just wrong.

Doesn't anyone remember The Three Great Lies?

The first: I'll still respect you in the morning.

The second: The check is in the mail.

The third (and the one that applies to Bloomberg's statement): I'm from the government and I'm here to help.

Sigh. I'm glad that Republicans are going to have such a long reign in NYC—but it'd be nice if they weren't moving further and further away from traditional Republican ideals as time goes on.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

This is an easy one for me
The House has apparently decided that internet speech can be restricted by campaign finance laws:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Online political expression should not be exempt from campaign finance law, the House decided Wednesday as lawmakers warned that the Internet has opened up a new loophole for uncontrolled spending on elections. . . .

The vote in effect clears the way for the FEC to move ahead with court-mandated rule-making to govern political speech and campaign spending on the Internet.
I didn't know that Congress was discussing this today, but for some reason I started thinking about this possibility today. And I reached a decision.

I have no intention of limiting my internet speech, no matter what laws Congress passes, no matter what rules the FEC passes down.

And I'm willing to go to jail to stand up for that fact.

Does anyone want to bet that I'm the only one who feels that way? Congress is in for a rude awakening if they or the FEC tries to restrict our speech, as it can't possibly play well in the press for them to start arresting people for violation of such laws. I don't care how much the press wants to see us silenced—this is a battle that only free speech can possibly win.

Who's with me?

This can't be good for my political career
Somebody just reached this blog by searching for 'interacial sex.'

I don't think that has any good implications for the content of this site, or my political future.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Alito Round-Up
Still swamped at work, but I'm on my lunch break and I wanted to get a few thoughts down regarding Alito.

Fortunately, it won't take much effort, because many brilliant columnists have already said everything I could hope to say.

First off, Ann Althouse explains in the NYT why it's a bad idea to draw such a quick comparison between Alito and Scalia.

Follow that with George Will's explanation of the benefit Alito's nomination poses for the country and Jonathan Adler's description of Alito as neither pro-life nor pro-choice, but pro-law and Cass Sunstein's suggestions as to how we might sort out Alito's judicial philosophy.

Finally, and most importantly as far as this blog is concerned—alongside George Will's thoughts—we have Michael Barone's perspective on the Democratic response. Specifically, he explains why they won't filibuster, or actively oppose Alito's nomination. All good stuff.

That should keep you busy at least for a little while...
(P.S.-Major hat tip to RCP.)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Good Point
And it's one I'd never really considered before.

By the way, I'm playing catch-up at work today—after running crazy on one project all last week, I have a lot of smaller loose ends to tie up today and tomorrow, hopefully in advance of the next large project. So, blogging will likely be extremely light until tomorrow. I do want to get some thoughts up on Alito, which I'll try to do on my lunch break—if I have time for one today.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Distressing
Some of you may be aware that I'm running for office this November. It's a town office, known as RTM—which is short for Representative Town Meeting. Perhaps not surprisingly, I'm running as a Republican.

My town is governed by a Board of Selectmen, consisting of three members. Each Party runs two candidates, one for First Selectman, and one for Selectman. Of the four candidates in the race (or more if there were to be a third party run, which hasn't happened to my knowledge), whichever gets the highest vote total town-wide becomes First Selectman—roughly equivalent to mayor. The next two vote-getters win the remaining Selectmen positions.

Now, it would make sense if the candidate for First Selectman and his running mate won seats—and that's usually what happens—but it's theoretically possible that the winner's running mate could be so disliked that he comes in last and doesn't get a seat. The way it usually turns out is: say the Democrat wins—his running mate will most likely get the second most votes, and the Republican candidate for First Selectman will get the third. They will make up the board, and the Republican candidate for Selectman is left out in the cold. Two years ago we had an interesting variation, but I'll address that in a minute.

Fairfield (my town) used to be a Republican stronghold. Starting about ten years ago, we had catastrophic infighting within the Party, from which we've never really recovered. While registered Republicans still outnumber registered Dems, unaffiliates outnumber us all by more than 2-to-1 (if memory serves), and that block has been leaning Dem for a few years now. But the town as a whole remains very conservative (in the New England tradition—fiscally conservative, socially moderate-to-liberal), and, frankly, it's embarrassing that we can't win a majority on the RTM or in the Board of Selectmen.

But why haven't we won those?

Well, the previously-mentioned infighting is having lasting repercussions, for one thing. The Party (I'd say we, but this all occured before I was old enough to be involved) looked ridiculous in front of the town, and people were incredibly turned off. But more than that, we're just putting up lousy candidates.

Two years ago, we ran a woman named Penny Hug. Now, personally, I like Penny. As a candidate? She makes Harriet Miers look like the best choice in history.

You should have heard this woman speak in public. While intelligent, congenial, and interesting in a small group, put more than five people in front of her and she'd choke on every word as it came out, making certain to ramble and repeat herself enough to triple the length of a prepared speech. It was awful.

And she didn't want to do the legwork of campaigning. She didn't walk door-to-door enough; she didn't spend time at the town dump (always key for a town-wide race). Generally, she just seemed apathetic. To her credit, she was talked into it against her will in the first place—but she was the wrong person to talk into running.

Her running mate, on the other hand, is a great guy. Steve Elworthy. Remember that name if you're involved in Connecticut politics, as he'll likely move up to the state level at some point. He's charismatic, he lets you know that he cares about the issues, he'll walk until his legs fall off, and he spends every Saturday morning of campaign season at the dump. The antithesis of apathetic.

It's not surprising, then, that as the final returns came in on Election Night 2003, we found that Steve had received more votes than Penny. If you're not seeing why this is such a big deal, let me explain it another way.

In Fairfield, it's pretty much assumed that the Board of Selectmen will be made up of the victor, his/her running mate, and the losing First Selectman candidate. Currently, it's the victor, his running mate, and the losing First Selectman's candidate. This is how week the Party has become in this town.

And the Democratic First Selectman is an asshole. He's losing the town tons of money, school building projects are so far off schedule that they have to keep one of the middle schools half-closed probably into November despite a plan that called for construction to be done by the first day of school. In short, he needs to be replaced.

So, as I said, the Republicans put up Jack Stone to run against him this year. Jack Stone is currently a state Representative, and he's a nice enough guy—even looks presidential—but this campaign has been run into the ground from the beginning. Rather than bring in the current Party activists, he appealed to the old schoolers. These old schoolers basically backed out of the Party ten years ago when the whole fight I described earlier was going on. And they've been out of the Party since. Plus, he involved too many of them. So, not only are his campaign advisers out of touch with what a campaign in Fairfield takes, but it takes too many of them to approve any campaign action. They're convinced that they'll win, because the current guy is such a bum, but they aren't attacking the issues in a way that makes that possible.

The best part is, they're already patting themselves on the back—and I genuinely think they're going to lose.

Anyway, I'm writing all this because I got an email from the campaign yesterday. They launched their website yesterday. YESTERDAY. Election day is in 10 days, and they just launched a website. I just can't understand how they could ignore something that could potentially swing a lot of votes—basically anyone who Googles "Jack Stone" to find information about the campaign, because we really do have the issues on our side—for so long.

Best of all, the website is pretty damn bland, and on the front page he's got a welcome letter whose last paragraph makes me want to scream:

I'll always listen to your ideas. If you elect me First Selectman, I'll put my experience to work for you. Together, we'll make Fairfield a place we are all proud to call home.
I mean come on. We'll make Fairfield a place we are all proud to call home? I don't know about you, Jack, but I'm already proud to call Fairfield home. I graduated from college and moved back—not back home, but into a place I'm renting—because I love Fairfield.

And I want a representative who loves Fairfield too—I don't want someone who thinks we need to make it loveable.

It's like John Kerry and and John Edwards saying they want to make America great again. America and Fairfield are great. And I don't think I can ever in good conscience vote for someone who thinks they have yet to return to greatness.

Jack Stone thinks he has this election sewn up, and he hasn't even won the votes in his own back yard yet. That's a problem. And it's one I'm not inclined to help him solve.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sad
But true. (Via InstaPundit).

If you have something nice to say...
...you should say it—especially if you usually rant and rave about the tiniest things, sometimes very meanly. So, here we go...

I usually rip on CNN.com pretty hard. Every now and then, though, they pick up a story that I probably wouldn't have seen anywhere else and I'm glad to come across. Today's example is a report on the death of the voice of the Jolly Green Giant. As soon as I read that, I heard the "Ho ho ho," ring clearly in my head. He's no Rosa Parks, of course, but he's someone that was incredibly familiar and yet entirley unknown to millions of people—I'm glad his passing was noted.

Now, in lieu of a moment of silence, let's all celebrate his life with a brief "Ho ho ho, greeeeeeeeeeeeen giant."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Curious Coincidence
Over the past day or so, I've been getting a lot of hits from Technorati, Google, Yahoo, and other searches for the phrase "Paul Krugman." I've also seen the amount of spam in my inbox (the address is in the upper right-hand corner of this page) increase exponentially.

Is it possible that Krugman—or one of his minions—is Googling himself, found something he didn't like, and sent my name off to spammers?

I'm not making any accusations here, just positing a theory...

(On an unrelated note, the Blogger spellcheck suggests that "Technorati" be replaced by "degenerate." Could this be a sign of institutional rivalry, now that Blogger provides its own method of searching blogs?)

Monday, October 24, 2005

F*ck the Grandkids, I'm Warm Now
Drew Carey used to have a stand-up bit about global warming, in which he described the miserable winters he'd experienced, and how he'd walk outside to spray aerosol cans into the air, shouting "f*ck the grandkids, I'm cold now."

As GaijinBiker shows us, this is no longer consistent with the theory of Global Warming.

Hah!
Just received this via email:

Paul Krugman is due to write his weekly column in the Times tomorrow. Here is his pickle:

  • Bush just nominated a new Fed chairman, which Krugman (as a blindly partisan demagogue, largely disconnected from reality) is obligated to rail as incompetent and undeserving of his post.
  • This particular appointment happened to be his boss in the economics department at Princeton. If your boss is incompetent.....what are you, Paul?
Dare he laud the President on a nomination? Stay tuned.
It's an interesting pickle for Mr. Krugman to find himself in—and I will definitely be staying tuned.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Muslim DVD sparks Christian riot
That headline seems a little weird, right? So how come this one surprises no one?

I've been doing a lot of thinking recently about people who demand not only that others tolerate their world view, but that they exclaim it as well. This is a prime example of that.

I plan to write a more substantial post about this idea in the coming days, but use this to get you thinking.

Sorry I haven't been around
I've taken on more responsibilities and been increasingly busy. Longer days, more to do, etc. Also, yesterday I had to travel.

I'll try to post some things I've been thinking about later on today, maybe tomorrow.

Keep an eye out.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Heh.
Finally, some sense out of the YDN. Some may remember my related post.

I'll never understand why the African American community is upset when the only thing known about a criminal is that he's black, and police release this information. If a crime is committed by a caucasian, hispanic, south asian, asian or member of any other ethnic community, and that's all the cops know, it's ok to release that information. But when it's released about a black, the black community screams victim.

Stupid, and racist.

Monday, October 17, 2005

InstaDiscount
Glenn Reynolds is excited that his forthcoming book is up on Amazon, that he found out about it from a blog rather than from his publisher, and that he's up to #905 on the Amazon bestseller list, despite the lack of cover art.

I wonder, though, is he excited about the fact that it's price is already marked down a full 34%?

My dream
Someday I will channel my old-man rants into a form of writing that might actually approach this level of cohesion.

Say what you want about the man's radio show
But don't try to tell me that Rush Limbaugh is anything less than brilliant. You may disagree with his political philosophy, and I'll be the first to admit that his radio show does little besides appeal to the lowest common denominator—but the man is smart. He writes well, he knows what he stands for, and he can argue just about anything convincingly.

There's a reason he was the pioneer in conservative talk radio. He figured out the system and gamed it to the extreme. And it's no wonder he's stayed the most popular—his biggest competitor is Sean Hannity, whose show is crap. I listen to both from time to time, and while I think Rush's show is mostly useless, he at least understands what he's saying at all times—Hannity, by way of contrast, often makes it abundantly clear that he has no idea what he's talking about. Laura Ingram is my personal favorite, but she has a less attractive timeslot&8212;falls at the end of the East Coast commute, the middle of the Midwest commute, and the beginning of the West Coast commute—which will continue to limit her possible audience. But I digress.

The column linked above is Rush's explanation of why conservatives—social and fiscal alike—have concerns about the Miers nomination, and why it doesn't show a crack-up in the Republican Party. I think he's pretty much right, and he explains himself well. Take a look. It has its faults, sure—I don't agree with everything he says—but on the balance it's a pretty strong piece.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I don't buy it—but maybe somebody else will!



My blog is worth $111,778.92.
How much is your blog worth?


Sigh
Will the pursuit of ratings at CNN never cease? This headline is a big tease: Oscar winner goes topless on Italian TV. I had visions of myself searching the internet for hot pictures of Halle Berry, or someone remotely similar. Click through to find out why I won't be pursuing such pictures.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Doin' a greaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat job
Oy.

African Americans were pissed that a neo-nazi group was marching in Toledo, Ohio, to protest "black crime." So what did these black counter-protesters do? They pelted the neo-nazis with rocks and glass bottles. Then they turned on the police. Then they started rioting and looting.

What better way to counter-protest then to provide your opponents with exactly the evidence they can use to prove their point?

Before I get attacked for racism, I don't think this can necessarily be attributed to the fact that counter-protesters were African American, per se, but it's very easy for the neo-nazis to claim precisely that.

I will never understand what goes on inside a man's head to make him suddenly decide that throwing rocks and bottles at another human being is ok. I'll never understand why a group of people involved in one activity suddenly decide it's ok to break windows and steal.

It's just stupid.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Always a pleasure
Another thorough debunking of the Chickenhawk meme, via InstaPundit. I enjoyed it, and I invite you to do the same.

Damned arrogant MSM
File this in the "bloggers don't count" file.

It seems that Homeland Security has launched an investigation into the possibility that members of the Department may have leaked a security threat to family members. We learn the following from 1010 WINS:

The Homeland Security Department has launched an internal investigation into whether department officials privately tipped off relatives or friends about last week's subway terrorism threat before the public learned of the news, officials said Thursday.

The probe was announced just as Gov. George Pataki and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly raised concerns about the possible leak, first reported in the Daily News.
[emphasis added]
The Daily News reported this story on Thursday, October 13, as documented in this post.

So here's the problem: The Daily News was not the first to report this, by any means. A full week earlier, on Thursday, October 6, GOP and the City had the story.

Maybe someday those stuffy journalists will admit that just because they didn't break it doesn't mean it wasn't previously reported.

UPDATE [10/14/2005 - 11:11]: We now know the names of the parties who initiated the email warning. The Man informs us that it was two NYC dance instructors, Nicholas Seligson-Ross and Tony Micocci. He guesses that they just wanted to initiate a snopes-worthy email scare, and were victims of coincidence when there turned out to be an actual terror threat.

I think that's possible. But I also think it's possible that Mr. Ross is actually related to someone in Homeland Security—a fact that the Feds should be able to confirm or deny in a matter of minutes. I think that's legitimately likely primarily because of his using his real name in the hoax email. If he started out sending it to friends as a first-person, and began with "As some of you know my father works for HomelandSecurity, at a very high position and receives security briefings on a daily basis." I find it very unlikely that he would have tried this with people who knew him—usually these things start as second or third-hand information, but Nick claimed to be the source.

So basically he's either an idiot, or he really was tipped off. We'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Good, the Bad, and the Really Really Wet [UPDATES BELOW]
Ok, so mostly just the third of that series. I stole the picture at the left from The Man's excellent post concerning the extreme weather we've been having here in the New York area the past few days. Even though I live in Connecticut, I feel it's pretty applicable at this point.

Why? Because my house may very well flood today.

Let's hope that doesn't happen—but renting a little cottage on the beach comes with its risks. Several houses on my street did flood last night, and people had to be pulled out by fire trucks and national guardsmen in military trucks.

So how will we know if my house floods? Well, for one thing, I'll be home before the next high tide (I hope), so I'll be there to keep an eye on things. But for your reference, if the little green line in the image to the right goes about 3 feet at high tide, my house is probably flooding. We won't know until tonight, but it should be interesting. I'll post a new image every couple of hours. The current image is as of 11:30 AM.

UPDATE [10/13/2005 - 14:13]: The new chart is posted at the left. As you can see, the residual (green line) was falling for a while. Unfortunately, Weather.com is predicting increasing winds through the rest of the afternoon, and the tide is about to hit its nadir and start rising. This all combines for a less-than-ideal situation. Everybody cross your fingers some more.

For those that are curious, here is the current flood warning, issued by the National Weather Service:

...COASTAL FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN UPTON NY HAS ISSUED A COASTAL FLOOD WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING.

A PERSISTENT AND STRONG EASTERLY FETCH OF WIND HAS CONTINUED ACROSS THE REGION AND WILL CONTINUE TODAY. THIS HAS ACTED TO PILE WATER INTO LONG ISLAND SOUND...THE BACK BAYS OF LONG ISLAND...AS WELL AS PECONIC BAY. TIDE LEVELS ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING FROM 2 TO LOCALLY 3 1/2 FEET ABOVE NORMAL. THESE TIDAL DEPARTURES MAY CONTINUE INTO THIS EVENING...RESULTING IN MODERATE COASTAL FLOODING...MAINLY DURING THIS EARLY EVENINGS HIGH TIDE.

A COASTAL FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS FAVORABLE FOR FLOODING ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP. COASTAL RESIDENTS SHOULD BE ALERT FOR LATER STATEMENTS OR WARNINGS...AND TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT PROPERTY.
I'll keep you posted.

UPDATE [10/13/2005 - 15:32]: The Man has an explanation for this ridiculous weather: Plame it on the Rain. I think he might be on to something—e is, after all, part of the New York elite.

UPDATE [10/13/2005 - 20:07]: It looks like we'll be ok. High tide is in less than 20 minutes, and—as you can see in the most recent chart, posted to the left—the tide has been running pretty consistently at 1.7 feet above normal, which is not enough to flood. It was a small bullet, and aimed off-target, but we've dodged it anyway. The winds are supposed to increase tonight, but off-sync with high tide, so I'm not terribly concerned.

I'll let you know how it turns out. Oh, and in case you're curious, I've posted a picture of my house below (it's the one in the red circle). The blue line is a typical high tide, the orange is a high high tide, the green is where the water was last night at high tide, and red is how far it needed to go to cross the point of no return and run down to the house. Though it is obviously at least a couple of yards, it's at most a difference of six vertical inches between where the water was and where it could have been to spell disaster.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Heh
Republican Ice Age?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Not Good
I've long said that the most effective way for Al Quaeda to hit the United States would be several coordinated strikes on college campuses. If you choose your targets well, you could effectively cripple the future leadership of this country, and temporarily cripple their parents—the current leadership of this country.

Is it possible that this is now happening? Yes, it is.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Read and learn
Want to understand what the "anti-war" protests are really all about? Read this.

And if you don't believe it—if you don't think that it could possibly be true without a peep from the press—well, read this and then this short one (and make sure you click through to this piece).

Sometimes I really wonder if the press can get any worse at covering reality.

It's too bad I didn't see this sooner


Before Subway pulled the add, that is, because this is hilarious.

Best news for the Republican Party
We may be in a serious split over the most recent nomination, but there's good news. As usual, it comes from Daily Kos:

Gore is awesome

As of right now, I'd support him before pretty much anyone else. Especially Hillary...
Awesome. Simply awesome.

The's left-wing lunatics really want to flush their party straight down the tubes.

Another reason Chicago blows
First, they beat the Red Sox.

Then, on the same day, they lose one of their most worthwhile residents, for reasons passing understanding.

Cool!
I love articles like this. Bret Stephens discusses the reality of myth-based creatures the Hobbit, the Lord God Bird, and the Kraken.

Hey, Kofi!
Keep your damn hands off my stuff!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Hah
Day By Day does it again:

Once I start shooting, I'll know exactly how he feels.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Oy.
This is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. (Via Dave Justus (via Lileks)).

Could it be??
Some good news for once??

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Maybe they are just trying to scare usAlleged Iraq link to New York subway terror threat
It's all a conspiracy of the Republicans, right? The whole color-coded system?

Actually, I think it's the media. If you make your way over to the front page of CNN.com, you'll see an interesting picture, which I've replicated at the right. The caption says "Security is increased at Grand Central Terminal." But was it really?

The Man emails:

I got on on the south end of Grand Central and did not see a cop until I got to Hunters Point.
Personally, I went through Grand Central's north passage, and even the little police office I go by every day was empty. And that photographic evidence that I've provided above? Those are the same two cops, police dog, and national guardsman that are always standing at that little wooden desk on the lower level at Grand Central. Next time you're there, go to the bathroom in the food court—it's right there.

So why is CNN.com lying to us about increased security at Grand Central when it's completely typical?

The Man has more. So does Michelle Malkin.

I won!
After complaining last week about Gaijinbiker's weekly caption contest last week—it discriminates against unfunny people like me—this week, I won!

Hmmm... let's think about this
Apparently, (via GOP Vixen), a python in the Everglades bit off more than it could chew:

A 13-foot Burmese python recently burst after it apparently tried to swallow a live, six-foot alligator whole, authorities said.

The incident has heightened biologists' fears that the nonnative snakes could threaten a host of other animal species in the Everglades.

"It means nothing in the Everglades is safe from pythons, a top-down predator," said Frank Mazzotti, a University of Florida wildlife professor.
I'm not sure that makes any sense at all. Apparently, alligators are safe from pythons, since this one burst...

Am I missing something here?

Also, make sure you click through—there's an awesome picture of the end result.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Does no one pay attention to Hollywood?
InstaPundit has a transcript of W discussing the possible responses to an outbreak of the avian flu. Basically, he explains why he wants to explore the possibility of a militarily enforced quarantine:

And who best to be able to effect a quarantine? One option is the use of a military that's able to plan and move.

And so that's why I put it on the table. I think it's an important debate for Congress to have.
Hasn't the man ever seen Outbreak? Or The Stand? The military may be able to plan and move, but they're also always compromised and only make things worse. This has been established in movie after movie.

And it had better be a part of the congressional debate.

Not Sure About Miers
I'm not. Honestly, I don't know. I don't really like that she's never been a constitutional scholar, but I also don't think that precludes her from the Court. I think it's a good thing to have a smart lawyer on the court. Lawyers who have a working knowledge of the Constitution will definitely have a different perspective than those who have been studying it their whole lives, and that can be a positive contribution.

But there's also this fairly substantial cronyism charge to worry about. It's pretty convincing when you can use the text of Alexander Hamilton and make it sound like he wrote it yesterday, in direct reaction ot the nomination. (Full disclosure: there's a rebuttal here.

But then Patrick Ruffini weighed in. I really respect Ruffini, and he has a tight, cogent explanation of why he thinks Miers is the right choice. It's hard to deny the points he raises. The Second Amendment thing, in particular, is very heartening, as is her apparent support for democratic control of abortion, rather than dictatorial. And he linked to Jay Sekulow's support—another man I really respect, whom I also heard on the radio yesterday—which also sings the woman's praise.

But the big problem here is that, in order to be certain that Miers is an actual judicial conservative (setting aside the cronyism thing), we have to trust George W. Bush.

I supported W, albeit reluctantly and mostly to make sure that John Kerry never got into office, and he has repeatedly betrayed fiscal conservatives like myself—so forgive me if I'm not quite ready to jump on the "I support the President's choice," bandwagon yet. I'm not the only one, either.

More over the next few days and weeks.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Hah!
From GOP Vixen:

We'd been led to believe that just ornery Americans called Arabs camel jockeys. We didn't know they called each other that!
As a proud ornery American, I am infinitely amused.

Friday, September 30, 2005

This is gonna cost me...
This invention will help bars take even more money out of our pockets.

Still, it's pretty cool.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A breath of fresh air
Sure, it may be a little warmer than normal, but still quite refreshing.

In case that wasn't clear enough, Dave Justus does a pretty good job debunking the idea that global warming is clearly caused by humanity, as I've attempted once or twice before. (Start here, and the post will work you backwards through my global warming history—make sure you click on "done" and "before.")

And before you all go nuts, he's not trying to prove that global warming is caused by something else—he's just stating that the presumption that we're to blame is dubious at best.

This is why I love her
Once again, Peggy Noonan has precisely expressed something that's been on my mind for days. Make sure you read the whole thing, but here's the key bit as far as I'm concerned:

The day before hurricane Rita hit Texas, last Friday, I saw on TV something that disturbed me. It was not the usual scene of crashing waves and hardy reporters being blown sideways by wind gusts. It was a fat Texas guy swimming in the waves off Galveston. He'd apparently decided the high surf was a good thing to jump into, so he went for a prehurricane swim. Two cops saw him, waded into the surf and arrested him. When I saw it the guy was standing there in orange trunks being astonished as the cops put handcuffs on him and hauled him away.

I thought: Oh no, this is isn't good. This is authority, not responsibility.

You'd have to be crazy, in my judgment, to decide you were going to go swim in the ocean as a hurricane comes. But in the America where I grew up, you were allowed to be crazy. You had the right. Sometimes you were crazy and survived whatever you did. Sometimes you didn't, and afterwards everyone said, "He was crazy."

Last week I quoted Gerald Ford: "The government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." I was talking about money. But it applies also to personal freedom, to the rights of the individual, including his right to do something stupid as long as it's legal, like swimming.

Government has real duties in disaster. Maintaining the peace is a primary one. But if we demand that our government protect us from all the weather all the time, if we demand that it protect us from rain and hail, if we make government and politicians pay a terrible price for not getting us out of every flood zone and rescuing us from every wave, we're going to lose a lot more than we gain. If we give government all authority then we are giving them all power.

And we will not only lose the right to be crazy, we'll lose the right to be sane. A few weeks ago when, for a few days, some level of government, it isn't completely clear, decided no one should be allowed to live in New Orleans after the flood, law-enforcement officers went to the home of a man who had a dry house, a month's supply of food and water, and a gun to protect himself. The police demanded that he leave. Why? He was fine. He had everything he needed. The man was enraged: It was his decision, he said, and he was staying.

It is the government's job to warn and inform. That's what we have the National Weather Service for. It is not government's job to command and control and make microdecisions about the lives of people who want to do it their own way[...]

Governments always start out saying they're going to help, and always wind up pushing you around. They cannot help it. They say they want to help us live healthily and they mean it, but it ends with a guy in Queens getting arrested for trying to have a Marlboro Light with his Bud at the neighborhood bar. We're hauling the parents of obese children into court. The government has increasing authority over our health, and these children are not healthy. Smokers, the fat, drinkers of more than two drinks per night, insane swimmers in high seas . . .

We are losing the balance between the rights of the individual and the needs and demands of the state. Again, this is not new. It's a long slide that's been going on for a long time. But Katrina and Rita seemed to make the slide deeper. [emphasis added]
The kid who swallows too many marbles doesn't grow up to have kids of his own. His parents can protect him from such stupidity, and hopefully they'll raise him to know better—but it's not the government's responsibility to ban marbles because some crazy kid is going to swallow them. The government's job is to protect us from the kid who would force marbles down the throat of another.

You don't want to leave your house because you don't want to leave your pets behind? Fine, that's your choice—but you will die, and you should be aware that it was your choice.

Live in New Orleans without flood insurance? Again, your choice, and your loss when your below-sea-level house inevitably floods. Now we've got a situation where the government of Louisiana is telling people that, even if they didn't have flood insurance, the damage is covered just like they did have flood insurance. WHAT?! So all those people who planned ahead, and invested in flood insurance just in case something like this happened, just got screwed out of all the money they put into it? I'm sorry (and I know I usually don't swear on this blog), but that's bullshit.

And perhaps most frightening of all is the idea being floated that we should repeal the Posse Comitatus Act. We are now considering the idea that the US military should be allowed to circumvent state authority whenever the federal government thinks the states aren't doing a good enough job. This is just bad—and could lead to the end of individual rights, or at least their dramatic restriction.

Read the whole thing, and then think about it. Let it sink in, don't let it wash over you and be done with. This is a serious crisis, and people need to be aware of it. Privacy is a big deal—but it's not about the right to tie your lover up and stick your finger up his nose, or about the right to abortion. It's way more than that. It's the right to live your life free of molestation by the government. It is the right to go swimming at a damn-stupid time if you want to. It's about the right to own a bar and have customers who smoke in it, while telling anyone who doesn't like it to get the hell out.

And yes, it's about being able to stick your finger up your tied-up lover's nose.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

No blood for oil!
No blood for tungsten?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sounds about right to me
From Political Wire:

The film won't be seen publicly until Thursday, but a press release claims the movie "turns a harsh but deeply revealing mirror on the campaign ... a disorganized, contentious, self-absorbed team that thought they could win by 'not making mistakes,' and keeping their candidate in the public eye without clarifying a position on anything."
Sounds like what the right blogosphere was saying all of last year—and what the left blogosphere roundly rejected. More from GOP and the City:
It features, among other not-ready-for-prime-time moments, Clinton scowling and rolling her eyes over an apparent Kerry gaffe during a presidential debate; Kerry pretending to interview himself and babbling in Italian while waiting for a real interview to begin; Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) cursing at reporters during a campaign stop, and Kerry message guru Robert Shrum confidently declaring a few days before the 2004 election: "Zogby [a prominent pollster] just announced who's gonna win. Us!"
But clearly, in their opposition to Roberts and their screaming about Katrina, the Dems have shown that they've learned their lessons, right? This political resurgence of the Democratic Party that we keep reading about in the press—it's completely different, right? I mean, they're full of new ideas and strongly-reasoned positions now. Just look at what they say about how they would have managed Katrina differently. Just ask any Dem, and they'll tell you they could/would have done it better.

Just don't mind the crickets when you ask them how.

Who would ever want to be the Yale Chief of Police?
I mean, come on—this is the kind of crap he has to put up with?