Thursday, June 16, 2005

And then...
...the Rove machine will assasinate McCain.

Two men who deserve a medal each
First, you've got your stay-at-home dad—though I say he probably ought to do a little bit of the laundry, too. And he certainly doesn't measure up to at least one other in the same position. Still, a good guy overall, it seems. And if you read the first paragraph, you'll see he's in many ways very similar to me—we'll just have to wait and see where I go to law school.

And here's the real winner. All I can say about this is I hope the national press gives him just enough coverage so that people send him a bunch of cash—and then leaves him alone to deal with his grief and live his life with his child, and hopefully children. This is a good man under a lot of pressure, who still has the strength to endure and abide by his wife's wishes. Through the whole thing he even maintains a mature faith. May God bless him and his family, and deliver them from their distress. God give him strength.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Want to understand what's going on in Iraq?
I mean really understand what's going on? Start here. This is the clearest, most concise explanation of where our campaign against the insurgency stands now and where it's headed. Bravo.

Best. News. Ever.

Is this a joke?
What is this chick talking about? That is one of the most rambling and incoherent editorials I've ever read.

Furthermore, she makes a point that WikiPedia is bad, and that interactive editorials would be worse—I can't imagine they'd be much worse than what she just wrote. The thing reads like it was, in fact, written by at least 5 different people who didn't have access to the preceding paragraphs when instructed to write their portion.

Weird.

Let's break it down
InstaPundit quotes this piece about the militarization of space:

So scary tales about U.S. 'death stars' hovering over target countries promising swift strikes from space rely merely on readers not understanding the basics of orbital motion in space. A satellite circles Earth in an ever-shifting path that passes near any particular target only a few times every 24 hours, not every 10 minutes. It's quicker and cheaper to strike ground targets with missiles launched from the ground.
This may be true, but there are a few problems as well. For one thing, if the US built a Death Star, we wouldn't need it to be "near" a target—a death star is a doomsday device designed to destroy planets, not to carry out out tactical strikes on their surfaces.

Next, the author says that a satellite only passes near a particular target "a few times every 24 hours, not every ten minutes." Well, let's think about this. Assume that "a few" means twice a day (I don't know the real number, but I'm trying to be conservative in my assumption). This means it takes a satellite 720 minutes to travel around the planet. Now, we can assume that a satellite is not in range for an instantaneous moment, right? Let's say it's in range for fifteen minutes (I believe it's more like a half an hour, but again we'll be conservative). There are 48 fifteen minute segments in any 720 minute (12 hour) period. Which means, if we built 48 weaponized satellites, we could have any given target area on the face of the planet covered 24 hours a day.

Doesn't seem quite as far-fetched as the author aims to make it, does it? If I'm right and the target-range period is more like thirty minutes, we'd only need 24 of them. You get the point—the exact thing that this author is trying to make sound completely impossible is, in fact, very possible.

And there's more! Go anywhere on the planet right now, and bring a portable GPS receiver with you. Turn it on. Go to your connection status page. You will see that you are in range of at least 5, and my guess would be more like 7, GPS satellites. Anywhere on the planet you are ALREADY in range of a military satellite. Now, granted, these are not weaponized. But the Pentagon has already undertaken to built a satellite network that covers every spot on the planet with extreme redundancy—why is it so hard to believe that they might do the same thing again and slap a weapon on it?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

So in other words
Campaign Finance Reform has apparently elevated raising money to an even more prominent position among a politician's concern. I believe that our goal should be to get them to spend more time on legislation and debate and less on campaigning... but thanks to Reps. Shays and Meehan and Senators McCain and Feingold, we're moving in the wrong direction.

(Also, note that Howard Dean takes a different tack. Well, really, he takes one of two different tacks: skipping the $2,500 a plate dinners and going for $10 donations instead, or, you know, just not raising any money at all.)

In other news
Michael Jackson isn't the only one who shouldn't be allowed near children. This woman clearly has her priorities too far out of whack and should not be allowed to be a parent.

It's times like this that I wish I didn't believe in keeping the government out of people's lives, particularly their family lives. Damn.

Monday, June 13, 2005

I'll be damned
Jackson is cleared of all charges. Unbelievable.

Ahhhh! Save me from the internet!!
Ted Koppel is really just so cute. He's all afraid that his personal information—which is apparently stored on something called "computer tape," though I'm not sure that's a term in common usage—will be disclosed to some 3rd party in violation of his privacy.

Well, he may have a point when it comes to banks, like CitiGroup. But honestly, OnStar and TiVo are not mandatory—they are services that allow you to give up some measure of your privacy in order to benefit from some other service. Do we really need government to step in and protect people from such things? If you don't want Dwight at OnStar to know where your vehicle is at all times, then don't buy an OnStar vehicle!

Is there an economist in the house?
This, from Paul Krugman, doesn't seem right to me:

Medicare has much lower administrative costs than private insurance. The reason is that single-payer systems don't devote large resources to screening out high-risk clients or charging them higher fees. The savings from a single-payer system would probably exceed $200 billion a year, far more than the cost of covering all of those now uninsured.
As I understand medical insurance, the reason private insurers try to screen out high-risk clients and either not cover them, or at the very least charge higher rates, is because—well—the risk is higher. These people are, on average, going to cost more to insure because they are going to need more "routine" care. It's nice to say that the administrative costs of figuring out who these people are is more than the cost of insuring them, but I'm not sure it's true.

Sure, you'll save money by not needing the staff to locate these people—but if that cost didn't outweight the cost of actually providing care for them at the same rate, would private insurance companies really go to the trouble?

It seems to me that Krugman is doing some funny math here, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Would anyone who did decently well in Economics like to help me out here?

Nancy Pelosi reads Esquire
In this month's Esquire Magazine (sorry, subscription required) there is an article called "The Cure," which lists all kinds of problems, from smelly feet to hang-overs to cancer—all kinds of random stuff—and then tells you how to fix it. One of those is The Cure for The Dems. They asked three marketing firms how to fix the mounting electoral defeats sustained by the Democratic Party, and all three effectively responded that the Dems have a branding problem. So what does Nancy Pelosi have to do with this?

See for yourself. (I promise it's short).

Interesting
I'm probably not the right guy to talk to about torturing suspected terrorists—there's a reason they don't let the father of a dead teenager sentence the killer. Personally, I don't have a problem with some of the milder forms of torture (sleep deprivation, etc.), so I'm biased. However, I found Lileks' treatment of the American Gulag meme pretty educational. Take a look.