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Saturday, April 12, 2008
Too Much of a Good Thing?

Here's an article on a new form of memory that could make it possible for an IPod to hold 500,000 songs. But on its face, this is a somewhat silly notion. Consider that the average pop song runs about 3 minutes. Times 500,000 means it would take you 1.5 million minutes to listen to all the songs on your IPOD (once). How long is 1.5 million minutes?

About a thousand days. And that's 24/7; assuming you might want to actually sleep eight hours a day (without your IPod running), it's over 1500 days.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Obama on Flyover Country

Talking to the latte liberals of San Francisco about the knuckle-draggers of Pennsylvania:

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

And what state is voting next? Oh, that's right, the anti-immigrants and gun nuts and religious wackos of Pennsylvania!

Allahpundit wonders why he included religion in his litany of sins:

Or is it the shocking inclusion of religion, of all things, in the litany of sins he recites? What on earth is that doing there, given His Holiness’s repeated invocations of the virtues of faith on the trail?

That's pretty easy; it's called tailoring your message to the audience. Obama may sing the praises of that ol' time religion when he's talking to rednecks and hillbillies, but in brie and brioche country it's just something ignorant people "cling to".


If I were a rich man,
All day long I'd hang out with Obam,
If I were a wealthy man.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

As most of you probably know, SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, is supporting Barack Obama in the presidential campaign. But what you may not know is that SEIU head Andy Stern is putting the interests of his union members behind his drive for political power.

“An overly zealous focus on growth — growth at any cost, apparently — has eclipsed S.E.I.U.’s commitment to its members,” Mr. Rosselli wrote in a letter to Mr. Stern. Mr. Rosselli complained that Mr. Stern had had top officials negotiate deals with national health care corporations, depriving rank-and-file workers of adequate say in their contracts. In December, Mr. Rosselli quit as president of the union’s 600,000-member state council in California after he grew convinced that Mr. Stern wanted to push him out.

More discussion here from a left-leaning source:

"California nursing homes are sweatshops, [and] a terrible place to live," said Sal Rosselli, president of California's largest healthcare workers' union local, Oakland-based United Healthcare Workers–West, during an online interview last week with the magazine Labor Notes.

While Rosselli's statement might sound like ordinary pre-strike cant, his words are actually much more radical than that.

Rosselli's criticisms are directed at America's most famous labor leader, Andy Stern, the celebrity president of the two-million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU). According to Rosselli, Stern's expansion of the union has cost workers the ability to complain or fight to improve conditions.

Stern also held up a buyout of a nursing home chain in an effort to unionize the workers. This delay cost the State of West Virginia's public employees pension plan over $1 million per day:

Manor Care says the delay is costing investors -- including West Virginia's pension fund -- more than $1 million a day.

So what's wrong with using a little political clout in order to unionize? Well, for starters, it appears that the workers don't want the union:

What is really going on here is that the SEIU has been able to persuade only about 1,000 of the HCA Manor Care's 60,000 employees to pay union dues.

Note in particular that on SEIU's home page, at the very top is an explicit endorsement of Barack Obama. As you probably remember, SEIU's support for Obama was a key in helping him win the Nevada caucuses (although he lost the overall vote, because of weird delegate rules giving rural districts more clout, Obama ended up with more delegates than Hillary).

Note also the accusations of stalking here:

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Association today condemned the Service Employees International Union for targeting CNA/NNOC leaders and members with threats and intimidation, stalking them at home and in patient care units at hospitals.

In a statement today, CNA/NNOC -- the nation's largest RN union -- demanded SEIU International President Andrew Stern "immediately renounce the actions of SEIU staff and cease and desist these despicable attacks against anyone who speaks out against his pro-corporate agenda."

"SEIU's behavior, sending swarms of staff to threaten women in their homes, is especially disgraceful, and another illustration of their contempt for a predominantly female profession that they treat as chattel in so much of their activity, including trying to force RNs into his union," said CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro.

And this specific incident sounds like something out of "On the Waterfront":

"I was home alone. Four people were staring at me through the window. When they saw me they started screaming and trying to scare me. I called the police and they ran off," said Keenan.

"I am a leader of CNA/NNOC. I am proud of my organization, and I will always stand by it in our common goal of fighting for my patients and my colleagues. I will not be intimidated by bullies hired by (SEIU President) Andy Stern."

These are the kind of people supporting Barack Obama's campaign.

Further discussion of the issue can be found here and here.

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Bob Gibson Was Great, But...

Scott Miller gushes a bit about his 1968 season:

"Hey Russell, did you know that Bob Gibson had a 1.12 ERA back in '68 and still lost nine games?" Torre asks.

Martin pauses, digests the thought and then, confounded, comes back with a really revealing question.

"They make a lot of errors behind him?" Martin asks.

Forty years ago, Gibson produced one of the most incredible pitching performances ever, a season so dominating that the only aspect more impressive than the raw statistics is the fact that he single-handedly changed the game.

Of course there is a simple reason why Gibson compiled that great ERA and still lost nine ballgames: scoring in 1968 was the lowest in any year since the deadball era. To give you a comparison, National League teams that year averaged 3.43 runs per game. Last year, NL teams averaged 4.71 runs per game, about 40% more than in 1968.

Second, Gibson did have a higher than normal unearned run average; 22% of his runs were unearned, as compared to the rest of the league's 11%, and the Cardinals average of 12% when not backing up Hoot.

The reason he lost nine games is because he pitched 304 2/3 innings in '68, racking up 28 complete games. Start after start, he worked into the late innings, with games on the line and decisions being earned.

And yet his ERA didn't suffer? Nope, I can tell you with some degree of confidence that Bob Gibson lost a bunch of low-scoring games, 1-0 and 2-1 games. It's obvious, isn't it? If you go 22-9 with a very low ERA, you can't be losing any blowouts, you've got to be losing those tight games.

Let me emphasize here, that I'm not saying "choker". Gibson obviously won some close ballgames two years later, when his ERA was a full 2 runs higher per game, and yet he went 23-7. And he did toss an astounding 13 shutouts that year. It's just one of those one-year things, probably caused by 1968 being the year of the pitcher. The second lowest ERA in the league that year was Bobby Bolin; he went 10-5. The third lowest ERA was Bob Veale at 2.05; he actually went 13-14, which is probably even more mind-blowing than Gibson losing 9 games; how exactly do you combine the third best ERA in the league with a losing record?

How many men become so good that a sport changes its rules as a result? In most of our lifetimes, we've seen only two: The NCAA banned dunking for a time in reaction to Lew Alcindor's dominance while at UCLA, and baseball lowered the mound from 15 inches to 10 after Gibson's extraordinary season of 1968.

Close. Alcindor (Kareem) did indeed change the rulebooks in college hoops. But baseball did not change the rulebooks in reaction to Gibson's season. They changed it in reaction to Carl Yastrzemski's season. Yaz won the batting title in the American League that year with a .301 average. Nobody much minded Gibby getting a very low ERA; they didn't want the batting champion to be a .290 hitter like Danny Cater, who came in second that season.

Gibson was an excellent player having an excellent year. But it was not some freakish season.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
The Monte Hall Problem

Neatly illustrated at the New York Times. This problem drove me absolutely batty when Marilyn Vos Savant discussed it in her Parade column one day; I was convinced that she was wrong, but a simple experiment (like that shown at the Times) proves that it's indeed right.

Basically, the Monte Hall problem goes like this: Monte (of Let's Make a Deal fame) shows you three doors. Behind two of them are gag prizes, while behind the third is a very valuable prize. You pick a door. Before revealing what's behind that door, Monte now opens one of the other doors to reveal one of the gag prizes. Should you change doors, or should you stick with your original pick.

The answer, as you'll see if you try it a few times, is that you should change doors. The reason is that by revealing where one of the gag prizes was located, Monte has given you additional information that you did not have when you made your original choice.

It's pretty easy to work it out. Suppose the car is behind door number one, with the gags behind the other two. You have three choices, and odds are only 33% that you will pick the right one. But if you pick one of the wrong doors, and then switch, you are now guaranteed to choose the right one. So 67% of the time, you should switch, and 33% of the time you should stick.

John Tierney's column contains a similar problem:

1. Mr. Smith has two children, at least one of whom is a boy. What is the probability that the other is a boy?

You might think that "logically" it's 50%. But this one's a little tricky, so it helps to map out the possibilities. There are four possibilities for a parent with two children:

1. The first child was a girl and the second child was a girl.
2. The first child was a girl and the second child was a boy.
3. The first child was a boy and the second child was a girl.
4. The first child was a boy and the second child was a boy.

But we know that the first possibility is wiped altogether as at least one of the children is a boy. This means that the other three possibilities are the ones we have to account for, and it's pretty easy to see that in only one of the three the other child was a boy. Note however, that if there were more information, the odds would change. For example if we knew that the older child was a boy, then the odds that his younger sibling was a boy would be one in two, or 50%

It goes to show you that logic can sometimes lead you to the wrong conclusion.
Obama Abandoning Principles?

Show me the money!

The question was: "If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?"

Obama checked: "Yes" and wrote:

"In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election."

What he meant to say is that if he discovered he could raise more over the internet, the heck with what he said in February 2007.
Oh Canada!

Kathy Shaidle, one of Canada's top conservative bloggers, is being sued by Richard Warman under Canada's moronic Human Rights Commissions.

And fight it I will.

Richard Warman's friends at the Canadian Human Rights Commission say "freedom of speech is an American concept" they refuse to recognize.

Well, some Canadians DO believe in freedom of speech.

If you believe in freedom of speech, eh, consider dropping by the site and making a contribution to her defense fund(s). If you don't have the money, at least consider linking to her post and making the request of your readers.

Mark Steyn has a good overview of the situation, but this is the nub:

The system is risk-free for the plaintiff: the Crown picks up the tab for the "complainant," while the "respondent" — i.e. defendant — has to pay his own legal bills no matter what the eventual verdict is. Ted Kindos of Burlington, Ont., has already spent $20,000 of his own dough defending himself against a "human rights" complaint and estimates he'll add another six figures to that before it's all done. Mr. Kindos owns a modest restaurant, Gator Ted's Tap and Grill. So what outrageous "human right" did he breach? Well, he asked a guy smoking "medical marijuana" in the doorway of his restaurant if he wouldn't mind not doing it. Mr. Kindos felt that his customers — including young children — shouldn't have to pass through a haze of pot smoke to enter his establishment. But apparently in Canada there's a human right to light up a spliff in some other fellow's doorway. The other man's grass is always greener, and in this case the plaintiff's grass will cost Mr. Kindos an awful lot of green. He faces financial ruin, while there's no cost to the complainant.

Warman's a kook lefty (he ran for public office a few times as a Green) who's stumbled onto a gold mine. Obviously this needs to be handled in some other manner, but for now the lawyers' fees are paramount.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Now Michelle Obama Wants to Associate More With White People?


While the crowd was indeed diverse, some students at the event questioned the practices of Mrs. Obama’s event coordinators, who handpicked the crowd sitting behind Mrs. Obama. The Tartan’s correspondents observed one event coordinator say to another, “Get me more white people, we need more white people.” To an Asian girl sitting in the back row, one coordinator said, “We’re moving you, sorry. It’s going to look so pretty, though.”

“I didn’t know they would say, ‘We need a white person here,’ ” said attendee and senior psychology major Shayna Watson, who sat in the crowd behind Mrs. Obama. “I understood they would want a show of diversity, but to pick up people and to reseat them, I didn’t know it would be so outright.”

I don't mind the stagecraft, it's part of the game. But it is funny, nevertheless.
McCain Kicked Rick Renzi's Butt?

Another (unfortunately) unbelievable tale:

In 2006, the Arizona Republican congressional delegation had a strategy meeting. McCain repeatedly addressed two new members, congressmen Trent Franks and Rick Renzi, as 'boy.' Finally, Renzi, a former college linebacker, rose from his chair and said to McCain, "You call me that one more time and I'll kick your old ass." McCain lunged at Renzi, punches were thrown, and the two had to be physically separated. After they went to their separate offices, McCain called Renzi and demanded an apology. Renzi refused. Apparently this posture made McCain admire him, as they became fast friends.

This last part is of course very convenient, because Renzi is currently under indictment, and if the story was just that McCain scuffled with a corrupt politician, it wouldn't suit the liberal agenda. BTW, Renzi had been in office for at least three years at the time the supposed incident took place, so the notion that he was a "new member" is wrong.

Let me remind people that John McCain is unable to do some things, like comb his own hair, because of the torture he suffered at the hands of the North Vietnamese. The idea that he would engage in fisticuffs with Renzi is just plain nutty. And some of the other stuff (added for bulk) includes the shocking news that McCain once told Ted Kennedy to "Shut up". The only negative about that claim is that apparently it only happened once.

Update: Check out this list of other people McCain has reportedly had arguments with. Strom Thurmond, Robert Torricelli, Charlie Keating, Ross Perot... the man sure can pick his enemies well.

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Obama Uses Racist, Typical White Person in Campaign Ad

According to the New York Times:

The spot features two regular surrogates: his half-sister, Maya Soetoro Ng, and his wife Michelle. We also hear from his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who helped raise him and, as he told us during his speech on race, “once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.”
ABC News Manages to Find "Some" McCain Supporters Among Troops in Iraq

If you want a good example of media bias, it's hard to top this ABC News segment:

PFC Jeremy Slate said he supported Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., because of his stated intention to pull out of Iraq right away.

"That would be nice," Slate said, "I'd like to be home, yea."

SFC Patricia Keller also expressed support for Obama, citing his representation for change.

Note that in the text article, there is not one supporter of McCain cited, although in the video segment, the reporter notes (grudgingly) that they did find "some" supporters of John McCain, although she doesn't let the one that she highlights say his name. But not the focus on their "surprising" endorsements and that they had heard a "rousing speech" from Dick Cheney. Not too slanted.
Obama's Lies on 100 Years

Covered expertly at John Ruberry's Marathon Pundit.
Barack's Socialist Dad?

Here's an excellent example of investigative blogging over at PrestoPundit. Turns out Barack's dad was a socialist/communist:

3. Obama advocated dramatically increasing taxation on "the rich" even up to the 100% level, arguing that, "there is no limit to taxation if the benefits derived from public services by society measure up to the cost in taxation which they have to pay" (p. 30) and that, "Theoretically, there is nothing that can stop the government from taxing 100% of income so long as the people get benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is taxed." (p. 31)

Why is this important? Because Barack styled himself after his father:

There's a big mystery at the heart of Barack Obama's Dreams For My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. What was Barack Obama doing seeking out Marxist professors in college? Why did Obama choose a Communist Party USA member as his socio- political counselor in high school? Why was he spending his time studying neocolonialism and the writings of Frantz Fanon, the pro-violence author of "the Communist Manifesto of neocolonialsm", in college? Why did he take time out from his studies at Columbia to attend socialist conferences at Cooper Union?

Excellent digging!

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Monday, April 07, 2008
The Next Person to Believe This Story

Will probably be the first. Raw Story (no link) is pushing an ancient fabrication of an altercation between John McCain and his wife. For starters it is claimed that McCain referred to his wife as a trollop. And the precipitating event is so minimalist (but that's probably the point) that it's hard to believe anybody would get angry about it.

Still if the caricature of McCain is that he gets angry, and the caricature of Obama is that he hates America, I'll take the senator from Arizona in the finals.
Wilentz: If You Nominate Obama, History Will Track You Down....

I know that something's amiss when I agree with Sean:

The continuing contest for the Democratic presidential nomination has become a frenzy of debates and proclamations about democracy. Sen. Barack Obama's campaign has been particularly vociferous in claiming that its candidate stands for a transformative, participatory new politics. It has vaunted Obama's narrow lead in the overall popular vote in the primaries to date, as well as in the count of elected delegates, as the definitive will of the party's rank and file. If, while heeding the party's rules, the Democratic superdelegates overturn those majorities, Obama's supporters claim, they will have displayed a cynical contempt for democracy that would tear the party apart.

Wilentz goes on to point out that if the delegates were apportioned on a winner-take-all basis, Hillary would have a comfortable lead. Note that although Wilentz clearly thinks this would be a good idea, what he's really angling at is to counter the notion discussed above, that Obama's lead in pledged delegates and votes constitutes the will of the people. And there I agree with him. He also points out quite neatly that even in individual states, Obama's team doesn't hew to that rule; it's well-noted that Obama won the most delegates in Texas even though he did not get the most votes in that state, due to their convoluted half-primary, half-caucus setup.

Meanwhile, Kos checks in with a laughable article in Newsweek about Hillary's "coup" attempt:

No matter how you define victory, Barack Obama holds an insurmountable lead in the race to earn the Democratic nomination.

I define victory as the nomination. And Obama's lead in that race is not insurmountable; it is insurmountable without the superdelegates. But the superdelegates are part of the rules.

Hilariously, Kos goes on to claim that Hillary's "coup" attempt is good for the Democrats. Good, one presumes, only if Hillary fails. While likely, that is not yet a given.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008
Well, Al Gore Can Take His Gun Now

Charlton Heston, dead at 84.
Terrorist Chic

Show me a prison
Show me a jail
Show me a man
Whose face is growing pale

And I'll show you a young man
With many reasons why
And there but for fortune
May go you or I

(Joan Baez, as performed by Phil Ochs)

Ochs specialized in these types of folk songs, which are so extremely liberal that they seem like parodies. The central message of the song is of course summed up in that last bit about "there but for fortune".

Forty years later, some leftists are still singing the same song, if to a hip-hop beat. Matt Yglesias apparently has written a book on foreign policy:

He echoes Osama bin Laden when he argues that Islamist anger against the West is a justified response to foreign powers that “occupy Muslim land.” This is a bold assertion, and yet Yglesias doesn’t care to explore why Iran and Syria—countries where foreign soldiers haven’t set foot for decades—continue to be the two most active state sponsors of international terrorism. In fact, he urges the United States to engage Iran and Syrian in diplomatic talks about the future of Iraq so that all three can “work together to secure their common interests in that country.” What “common interest” supporters of a democratic, federal, and secular Iraq might share with the ayatollahs and Assads is left unsaid.

To say that the review is scathing would be putting it mildly. Yglesias, like many of the Left, believes that the only real problem in the world is the United States. We don't have any real enemies, just folks "with many reasons why."

Why does Yglesias express such serenity when it comes to the malicious threats of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yet become apoplectic upon hearing the statements of Joe Lieberman?

Heheh, the Lieberman mania on the Left is well known, and the point of not condemning Ahmadinnerjacket is that one must never give support to the Bush Administration.

See also here, where there is a picture of boneheaded Matt in terrorist attire. If Matt were ever to meet a real terrorist, one hopes he would have an empty bladder. Further thoughts at Protein Wisdom.

Update: Here's a video of Peter, Paul & Mary getting gushy over that pale prisoner:




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