Saturday, April 16, 2005
Quickie Baseball Season Analysis
Nobody seems to have seriously established themselves as a breakaway team; the team that gets that hot start that means everybody's going to be choking on their dust. Colorado looks like the only legitimately awful team at 1-8, although the Tigers are borderline at 3-7. Detroit has actually scored more runs than they have allowed, so I'd say they're just a little unlucky right now.
Abortion Cuts Down on Crime?
A column that should offend almost everybody
Friday, April 15, 2005
Say it ain't so
!Friends, I am broke. I have back bills to pay. My rent needs to be paid. And, as the writing of this post I don't even have the $500 it will take me to convert the files I want to share with you for the web.
Almost makes one want to shed a tear.
Hat Tip: Wizbang
Matt Yglesias Shows His Class Envy
I got a chuckle out of this chuckleheaded post
.Taxing estates doesn't really seem like a great plan. If I die with a $10 million estate and want to give $5 to 2 million different people, there doesn't seem to me to be a good reason why the estate should be taxed. Better to tax inheritance since the actual concern is that I'll give $10 million to my son and he'll be rich, rich, rich without ever having worked.
To which, I have to respond, so what? Yglesias goes on to say that the inheritance tax is fine with him:Here you are, you inherit a store worth $X. You owe $Y in taxes, with Y being less than X. So you are "forced" to sell the store, and accept "only" $X-Y as your inheritance. Note that X is a figure in the millions, and Y a small proportion of X.
And so what happens? The son is rich, rich, rich, without ever having worked. Less rich than he would be without the inheritance tax, but only by a "small proportion". Sounds like the inheritance tax has not done anything about Matt's supposed "actual concern".
He also engages in a little small businessman bashing:Speaking of which, f**k the small businessman.
Well, at least he's a little more honest than the average Democrat running for office.
Whom Would You Draft First?
Michael Silver, a CNNSI columnist, holds a mock draft
, but instead of picking college players he picks current NFLers. His top three:
1. Michael Vick
2. Peyton Manning
3. Tom Brady
Now, in fairness to Silver, that's whom he thinks the teams would pick, not necessarily whom he would pick in those spots. However, this comment on Vick certainly indicates he concurs:Vick is the most talented player in the draft, and one who has led his team to playoff victories in each of his two healthy seasons as a starter. Even John York can't screw this one up.
Look, this is really simple. Tom Brady is the best player in the NFL. He's now 9-0 in the playoffs, which ranks him in the top ten quarterbacks all-time for playoff wins. Vick is one heck of an athlete, but he's an average passer and if he gets another serious leg injury he may not even be that. Peyton's great but until he gets a ring I'm not going to pick him higher than the guy who's got three of them.
Is Hillary Disaster-Proofed?
John Hawkins gives his assessment
of her candidacy. He strikes me as right on the money with this part of the analysis:In her favor, she seems to be fairly well liked by the press and the Democratic base, has proven she can fund raise, and seems -- at least, in my opinion -- to be much smarter politically than John Kerry. Personally, I think she will be a tougher opponent than John Kerry.
She is also the only Democrat who can act like a moderate for the next three years and still have a great shot at getting the nomination. That's a huge advantage over Kerry, who was forced to tack left with his vote against the $87 billion Iraq package in order to assuage the anti-war crowd. It helped him win the nomination, but it undeniably hurt him in the general election.
However, I gotta respectfully disagree with this:[S]he has more baggage than anybody short of Ted Kennedy or Robert Byrd which is why in the last poll I saw on the topic in December of 2004, she already has a staggeringly high 42% negative rating. Just imagine that as a starting point and then add on a year of negative ads and lots of time spent reminding people about "Hillarycare," Whitewater, The Rose Law Firm Billing Records, her crooked looking cattle futures deal, on and on and on as far as the eye can see. It's not a pretty picture.
That past isn't really going to hurt her, or rather, it's already hurt her as much as it's going to. Almost everybody knows about Hillary's many scandals, it's been gone over thoroughly, and there are almost certainly no unexploded bombshells in there. And nobody is going to be interested in hearing about Whitewater again.
In a way, it's analogous to the situation over President Bush's Air National Guard service. In 2000 it was a story because we didn't know W all that well. In 2004 it didn't matter (which is the irony of Rathergate: It would have been a futile effort even if the memos had not turned out to be phony). The same applies to Hillary.
Assuming there's no deep, dark secrets from her recent past, Hillary's basically disaster-proofed. And when you consider how many skeletons popped out of Le Fraude's closet (Christmas in Cambodia, the controversy over his medals, his meeting with the North Vietnamese for starters) that has got to sound tempting to the Democrats.
Socialist Feathers Own Nest?
Turns out that Tom Delay is not the only congressman to have family on the payroll. There's nothing illegal about the situation, but it does strike me as a little funny that America's lone congressman from the Socialist Party, Bernie Sanders, does it
.According to records filed with the Federal Election Commission, his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders received $91,020 from his campaign for consultation and negotiating the purchase of advertising time, from 2002 to 2004. About two-thirds of that money was used to pay media outlets, O'Meara Sanders said. Her daughter, Carina Driscoll, was paid $65,002 in wages over the same time period. She served as her stepfather's campaign manager in 2000, fund-raiser and office manager in 2003 and his database manager last year.
That reminds me of a high school teacher's description of socialism: What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Kerry to Participate in the Boston Marathon?
Yep. Our friend John Ruberry, who was the blogger to break the story that Kerry had falsely claimed to have run the Boston Marathon back around 1980, has the news
A Savior for the Republican Party?
Try not to snicker as you read this column
by Howard Fineman entitled "A Dark Horse Republican to the Rescue?"It speaks volumes about the condition of the GOP that at least a few people around town are talking up [Haley] Barbour as a Republican presidential contender in 2008—and that at least a few of his fellow Republicans (and not just his former business partner, Ed Rogers) seem to be taking the idea somewhat seriously.
Rolling my eyes here. Fineman appears to believe that the Republicans are in trouble. This is the kind of trouble the Democrats could only pray for: Control of the White House, the Senate (with votes to spare for another Jumpin' Jim Jeffords) and the House of Representatives.
And listen to his dismissal of two obvious candidates:There is no obvious successor to George Walker Bush as El Jefe of the GOP except perhaps Gov. John Ellis “Jeb” Bush of Florida who, by virtue of being Little Brother to the President, is too oppressively obvious and therefore problematic.
Yes, and Hillary Clinton is oppressively obvious as well. That doesn't mean that the Democrats aren't going to nominate her, because they are.Others in the party have taken the measure of Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, the majority leader and supposedly Carl Rove’s favorite. They think Frist can be had. Yes, he is from the Bible Belt, but he is too princely in demeanor and had enough faith in (and knowledge of) science to have become one of the world’s leading thoracic surgeons. What’s more, they say, he is studious to a fault in the Kerry mold.
Horrors! We can't have a scientist running for President on the Republican ticket! A studious guy to boot? No, we want more morons like Chimpy Shrub McHitler! And I can't help laughing at the notion of Kerry being studious to a fault; even his hagiographer, Douglas Brinkley, noted that Kerry was no grind.
My Entry In GOP & The City's ContestDetails here
Another Kerry-Related Contest
Our buddy The Man at GOP & the City has a hilarious contest
for Photoshoppers. In fact, it's such a great idea that I'm going to create an entry. Look for it later today.
The Reality-Based Community? Part XLV
Evan Coyne Maloney documents the rise of the fascists
on the left.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Here's Hoping the Democrats Don't Listen to this Advice
Donna Brazille, speaking in New Jersey
:"You know what the Republican Party stands for. They're for smaller government, strong family values, a strong military and putting religion back in public life," Brazile said. "We need a philosophy, even if it makes some American people uncomfortable.
"We're not going to win in 2008 if the Republicans spend all their time and money defining us and we spend all our time and money running away from who we are."
Yep. That's the real problem with the Democrats as I have stated many times in the past. They know they have some unpopular positions, but rather than arguing why they're right, they try to finesse things and end up coming off as dishonest.
On the other hand, I certainly hope they listen to David Ignatius
, who has some "bold" ideas for how the Democrats can seize the day:A sensible Democratic leadership would gather this very weekend to begin formulating a plan to address America's looming economic crises. These party leaders would develop specific proposals to reduce the trade and budget deficits that are spooking the financial markets.
Let's see, my first guess on the budget deficit would be that they would propose tax increases, but not spending cuts (since that would be "balancing the budget on the backs of the poor".My imaginary Democrats would get serious about energy, too. They would admit that with soaring Asian demand pushing against tight supplies, the world is facing a long-term squeeze. Rather than pretending that the solution is somehow to mandate lower prices, they would do something about increasing supply (yes, even from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) and reducing demand (yes, we are all going to be driving versions of the Toyota Prius someday).
Well, since the ANWAR drilling bill has already passed (with little to no help from the Democrats), that's certainly a "no pain, all gain" solution since the only thing that remains is reducing demand. Either CAFE standards or gas taxes would be increased, which of course are liberal wet dreams since way back.Even as they framed plans to deal with the immediate economic dangers, my imaginary Democrats would offer proposals to solve the longer-term threats to the solvency of Social Security and Medicare. Above all, they would face up to the reality the Republicans generally have avoided: that there is no way out of the fiscal mess without a mix of higher taxes and benefit cuts for those who can afford to take the hit.
Well, hush ma mouth! Is he talking about tax increases and
means testing? Jeez, the courage that his hypothetical Democrats (who have been calling for both since time immemorial) would have to summon up to propose those "solutions" is, well, nil.
The Reality-Based Community? Part XLIV
John Hawkins notes a controversy over some "art"
. I'm with him; let's stop federally funding this kind of lunacy.
And another thing. Do any of these idiots ever stop to think what would happen if President Bush were indeed assassinated? Well, first of all, Dick Cheney would become the President. Second, he would probably run in 2008, and he would almost certainly win. Remember, Lyndon Johnson in 1964 is the only
Democratic presidential candidate to get over 51% of the vote since FDR (he got 61%); a large part of that was undeniably caused by the assassination a year earlier of John F. Kennedy.
Update: Kitty notes a similar item
A Worthy Cause
Our longtime buddy John, over at My Take on Things
, has formed Operation Soldier
, which describes its mission as follows:Our objectives are quite simple. To support the brave men and women of the United States Military as much as possible, while they selflessly serve abroad, fighting the war on terrorism.
Our support comes in the form of the care package drives, and the support of providing the family members of soldiers that are critically wounded in battle, by helping them with the financial burdens they often suffer, while visiting a wounded loved one, in hospitals that are often in major metropolitan cities, many miles from where the families live.
I can't think of a better cause
. As always, when I suggest that you make a donation, I have done so myself first.
Amazing Race Update
Viking Pundit has his thoughts here
. As I mentioned in his comments, one of the things that struck me about last night's episode was the similarity of the Detour and Roadblock tasks. In the Roadblock, one person from each team was required to look through 600 metal suitcases in search of one of ten clues. In the detour, the teams were required to serve tea to five of ten people on a list in an office building containing what appeared to be about 600 people.
Gretchen did terribly in the Roadblock. Despite being the one with apparently the most patience, she gave up for awhile and cried on Meredith's shoulders about how hard she was trying. As usual, Rob & Ambuh had all the luck, with Ambuh entering the roadblock behind the Beauty Queen and finding her clue a few minutes earlier. The gay couple have seemingly adopted Gretchen & Meredith and this episode that hurt them, as they were stuck bartering for taxis for two sets of people while Uchenna & Joyce took off.
Eric was surprised that the POW & the Beauty Queen did not force Rob & Ambuh to yield (wait for an hour). I agree, it was a boneheaded mistake. They may not find themselves in front of the Survivor duo again, and you know doggone well that the Godfather will not hesitate to force them to yield when he gets the chance.
The ending was a bit of a surprise as it was not a pit stop. Phil was there complete with mat on the ground, but when Rob & Ambuh arrived first, he told them that they were still racing. To be continued... next week!
Lorie Byrd over at Polipundit
found out that John Fraude Kerry is soliciting tales of woe from military families and their friends:Those who have stood for us should know that we stand with them, today and always. Share the story of a family you know that has endured hardship in service to our nation.
Of course, we all know that Kerry has no real interest in helping out military families; he's just going to use these stories as a club with which to beat the Bush Administration. So here's the competition. Come up with the nuttiest "tale" you can devise that fits Le Fraude's request. One very important caveat: Let's not demean or diminish the very real sacrifices that our soldiers and their families accept on our behalf.
Here's my entry:
I am a Vietnam veteran who has endured much hardship in service to our nation. During my time in Vietnam, I personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
Well, actually, I mostly ran the filmstrip projector, but you have no idea what an instrument of torture that can be in the hands of a skilled operator.
Since I returned from Vietnam I have continued to serve our nation as a professor at one of our leading universities. Now I am under attack by the little Eichmanns on the Board of Trustees for exercising my freedom of speech. Please help in any way you can.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
The Sexual Revolution Explained
Judge Richard Posner, considered by some the smartest man in America, takes on the subject of the Sexual Revolution
. Discussing contraception, abortion, and the elimination of of syphilis as a deadly disease, Posner writes:The consequence of all these things has been to reduce the marriage rate and delay the average age of marriage, and also to reduce the cost of divorce to women (and to men, by reducing the benefits of marriage to men who want to have children and stay-at-home wives). With less and later marriage and more divorce, women spend less of their sexually active years married and so their demand for nonmarital sex—sex made in any event less risky by improved contraception and the availability of abortion—soars.
The increased demand for divorce was a factor in the successful movement for easy divorce, and easy divorce makes it impossible to channel sex into marriage. In communities (and there are still some) in which premarital sex is strongly disapproved, young people marry to have sex, but marriages so motivated are likely to end in divorce, producing more unmarried people and so more demand for nonmarital sex.
An interesting post from a brilliant man. Of course, you know how that goes; brilliance is no guarantee he's right. But his explanations dovetail nicely with some of my own (less rigorous) theories.
Running Through the Blogroll
John Hawkins shares some of his hate mail
. Ever notice that most of these hate mailers can never spell?
Lucianne is my personal favorite website
; it's a must for bloggers because you can check out dozens of articles quickly.
Kerry Haters is the blog
I dedicated much of last year to updating, along with Kitty and Aaron. I wish that blogging in a non-election year was as fun or as filled with stuff to post about.
Kitty Litter is always fresh
, always interesting, and unlike the real thing, you don't have to scoop out the little turds.
Ankle-Biting Pundits is the site of two professionals
in the political game. If you want to know the real story, check them out.
Lifelike is where the old Kerry Haters, Aaron, Kitty and I (along with Professor Shade, Pam Meister, and Dodo David) blog as a group
. Lots of entertaining posts and links.
Professor Shade has his own blog
in addition to his work at Lifelike. Great sense of humor, and his "Freakin' Friday Softcore Surfin'" links are not to be missed.
To be continued....
End of the IRA? Or Just Another Speech?
Kevin Toolis has a very perceptive column
in the London Times.Common sense tells us that after 30 years at the top of the republican tree Gerry Adams should have a pretty good idea who is on the IRA Army Council. Why doesn’t he just call them up on the phone, rather than make a public speech? How can such a consummate political operator not have the number of each and every IRA gunman somewhere in his contacts book?
The truth is that for decades Northern Irish politics has been built around the lie that Sinn Fein and the IRA are separate entities. But the history books tell a different story. In 1991 Martin McGuinness and Gerry Kelly represented the IRA in secret talks with MI6’s head of counter-terrorism. Today they declare themselves to be mere democratic politicians.
Old Friend, New Digs
Our buddy Chris, who was responsible for the terrific Kerry Waffles site last year, is back with Lucky Dawg News
. Lots of coverage of NASCAR along with a conservative slant on news items. Welcome to the blogosphere, Chris!
Get Out Your Hankies
Before reading this wonderful description of a soldier's homecoming
Hat Tip: Lucianne
Monday, April 11, 2005
The Reality-Based Community? Part XLIII
John Hawkins points us
to Dadahead, who approves
of the current policy of flinging food at conservative speakers:Rather, we should make clear what they are really doing by doing the same thing--by playing their game, if only temporarily. By acting like they do: as if guided solely and absolutely by insanity and rage and the blind need to stain the world with oneself by any means necessary.
Horowitz isn't a person; he's a ridiculous hallucination, an evil spirit that thrives on our refusal to call him what he is. And the same goes for Buchanan and the rest of the wolf pack. Ridiculous buffoons all of them; treating them any other way is immoral and stupid.
Gotta love that dehumanizing of David Horowitz; the first requirement of genocide is to aver that the people in question aren't actually people.
Fatunhate 911: Underperformed in Red States
Byron York has the details
:That’s the upside of the story. The downside revealed by the Nielsen EDI numbers is that Fahrenheit 9/11, far from being the runaway nationwide hit that Moore claimed, underperformed in dozens of markets throughout red states and, most important — as far as the presidential election was concerned — swing states. Dallas/Fort Worth, the ninth-largest movie market, accounts for 2.07 percent of North American box office but made up just 1.21 percent of Fahrenheit 9/11 box office, for an underperformance of nearly 42 percent. In Phoenix, the tenth-largest market, Fahrenheit 9/11 underperformed by 29 percent. In Houston, ranked twelfth for movies, it underperformed by 38 percent. In Orlando, it underperformed by 38 percent; Tampa-St. Petersburg, by 41 percent; Salt Lake City, by 61 percent.
The list goes on for quite a while: Las Vegas, Raleigh-Durham, San Antonio, Norfolk, Charlotte, Nashville, Memphis, Jacksonville, Flint, Michigan (Michael Moore's home turf), and many others. And in Fayetteville and Tulsa, where Moore boasted that his movie had sold out, Fahrenheit 9/11 underperformed by 41 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
The Reality-Based Community? Part XLII
Wonkette has a bit about Mike Rogers' (the exciteable audience member) wilder flights of fantasy:I happened to share the elevator down from the Press Club with the aforementioned excitable audience member, who elaborated on his theory that Gannon was part of a White House male prostitution ring. Turns out Gannon gets around! In addition to his dalliances with Scott McClellan and Ken Mehlmann, Excitable Audience Member #1 also believes that "it's possible" Gannon has practiced his love with the President of the United States.
Our buddy Aaron at Lifelike Pundits has his comments
on the Press Club event here and his own run-in with Mr Rogers.
The Reality-Based Community? Part XLI
Howard Dean is planning a 50-state strategy
in 2008.Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean says his party is laying the groundwork for a 50-state strategy for the 2008 presidential race.
Dean said early fund-raising will be geared toward having the party pay for workers to help with state and local races, initially in selected states.
Unless the strategy is along the lines of "We'll concede them the South and Mountain West," it's doomed to fail. The Democrats can't compete in those areas and while I tend to think he's realistic about that, as I discussed here after the election, among the first Dean Dozen (candidates that the Deanie Babies supported enthusiastically), only three won, and one of those was unopposed. So it does look like Dean takes on Quixotic candidates.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Pinball Memories IV: Sky-Line
When I was about 12, my aunt and uncle moved to Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. Their house was on a hill about a mile from the ocean, so it was quite common for us to visit there for a weekend in the summer. They had three sons living with them. The twins, Tommy & Terry, were about a year older than I, while Marty was two years younger.
Of course, not every weekend turns out to be perfect for the beach. One rainy Saturday, my cousins and I went down to a local pool hall. I spotted a pinball machine in the corner and went over and started feeding it dimes.
Sky-Line is an interesting machine because it is organized around a gag. As you can see, the backdrop is a swanky penthouse club, with men in tuxedos and women in colorful gowns. Most of the people are staring at the elevator, waiting to see the next couple arriving for the evening.
The object of the game is to get the elevator to the top of the building. When you hit the bullseye targets at the top left and right, the elevator indicator advances one floor. Get the elevator to the 15th floor and the doors pop open revealing:
Years ago, I was reading in the usenet forum rec.games.pinball a discussion of this machine, and one writer commented that when the doors open, they reveal a homeless couple; he found the joke unfortunate. I replied that he was looking at the game with far too modern eyes and not considering the time the game was built.
In 1965, when Sky-Line was released, the hit new television show was The Beverly Hillbillies, which is the answer to the trivia question: What is the only TV show to be #1 in the ratings its first year? CBS had other shows featuring country bumpkins--Green Acres, the Andy Griffith Show, Petticoat Junction and Gomer Pyle, USMC.
And that's what the characters in Sky-Line are: rubes. The image of the woman carrying the basket with a goose in it is a particularly common shorthand of the times for a hillbilly.
When I told him this, the guy thanked me profusely. He was so glad he could now enjoy the game without feeling any guilt. Of course, I couldn't help wondering whether a gag at the expense of country people was ethically superior to a gag about the homeless, but that's just the heartless Republican from flyover country in me.
Previous entry in the Pinball Memories series