Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Okay, I know that spell-checkers are not the smartest programs. But I still find it amusing every time Blogger's spell-checker tells me that "Blog" isn't a word. You'd think they'd have added that to everyone's standard dictionary. More interesting is the fact that it only balks at it when the first letter is capitalized. Though that may be because I added the lowercase word to the dictionary myself. I don't remember.
Well, probably not. But I did sign up for the three free years of web-hosting that Greg mentioned here. Problem is, I'm not so tech savvy, myself. So it may be a while before I figure out how to get this blog transferred over (since I have barely enough time for this one as it is, I'm not starting another separate one). Or until I get frustrated enough to ask my techie friends for help. Anyway, address might be changing at some point.
Sunday, December 21, 2003
Last week Joe Horn, of the New Orleans Saints, made a call on cell-phone he'd stashed in the endzone after scoring his second touchdown. Cost him 30 grand. So what do I think? I think it's a problem. Now that Terrell Owens got the ball rolling, so to speak, by bringing a non-football object (a Sharpie) on the field to assist him with his touchdown celebration, it's starting to get out of hand. Joe Horn's cell-phone, Chad Johnson (Cincinnati Bengals) had a pre-printed sign hidden near the endzone is too much. It's no longer about a team, nor even really about football, but about the individual. I think that's a bad thing. It's an excess of individualism. I'm all for the rights of the individual, but when that goes to excess, it's the first step on the road to anarchy.
And no, I don't think that our society will fall apart because professional football players are celebrating too much, but you have to draw a line. Is it about the team or the player? Which is more important in this instance? And I think it's indicative of our larger society, people are out to get theirs without counting the cost to others.
The wife had some friends over and they made chocolate truffles this weekend. One batch has cayenne and a dash of Dave's Insanity Sauce added to the mix. The result is surprisingly good. Never tried chocolate with some spice? You should.
Neat site where you can submit digital photos in a contest. Don't think there's a prize beyond having your picture posted on their site, but they've got a bunch of neat pictures. Get a lot of desktop backgrounds here. They're usually smaller than my resolution, but the quality is high enough on most that stretching them works fine.
Saturday, December 20, 2003
Friday, December 19, 2003
Been a while since I got a post up. What is it? Ten days? Decided it wasn't wise to blog from work. Well, at work I have an ultra-fast connection that only have to share with about 2 other people because of the hours I work. Anyway. I can still write from work (which is where I wrote this post) and then post it from home. I just need to be a bit more disciplined about doing that.
That and I've been doing more reading lately. Finally finished C.S. Lewis' The Problem of Pain, got through a short book on Tolkien called J.R.R. Tolkien by Deborah Rogers, Robert Patterson's book on Clinton called Dereliction of Duty and another Nero Wolfe book titled And Four to Go. I'm about half-way through Pilgrim's Regress by C.S. Lewis and a bit more than half-way through Margaret Thatcher's Statecraft. When I work through the current crop of books on my reading list, I'm thinking that I'll reread the Horatio Hornblower series and start on the naval series by Patrick O'Brian. Saw Master and Commander in the theaters and it was rather good. Certainly good enough to pique my interest in the books since the books are almost invariably better than the movies.
Speaking of that movie, I thought it was quite well done except for the character of Stephen Maturin in certain places. Maturin seemed to have sensibilities that were more modern than contemporary with the setting. And the final scene of the movie seemed to have been played for laughs in a way that was discordant with the rest of the film. On the whole, however, a fine film.
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
So, how 'bout that college bowl game situation? Watched Kansas State whup up on Oklahoma this past Saturday and my was that ever sweet. Now, I have nothing against Oklahoma and no particular love for Kansas State, but I think the BCS is the tool of the devil. Or something like that. So now that this mess has happened (Quick summation for those not in the know: Top three teams all have one loss, the BCS has Oklahoma and LSU ranked 1 and 2. But the AP has USC ranked 1 while the BCS has them at 3.) the BCS is under fire. Several reasons for this.
1. The Pac-10 is the conference that is always being left out. The BCS acts (whether it is or not) as if it were skewed against the Pac-10.
2. Some of the computer rankings that are combined to make the BCS are screwy. See Texas ranked above Oklahoma in the NYT poll. This despite Texas being pummelled by Oklahoma 65-13 in Texas and having one more loss.
3. The front runner for the BCS championship isn't conference champion.
4. The one loss for USC was by a field goal in the third overtime. The loss for LSU was by twelve points. Oklahoma lost by 28 and, after scoring an opening touchdown in the first quarter were shut out the rest of the way while giving up 35 straight points.
The solution? Controversy is nothing to fear, but the bowl games need to go back to their traditional opponents. I'm pleased that the Rose Bowl will feature Michigan and USC, and I'm pulling for USC so that more damage can be done to the BCS because I want it gone. We got along fine with disputed champions from different polls for years. The BCS (obviously) does nothing to solve this "problem", but instead is all about ensuring bigger bowl game paydays for power conferences and colleges.
I've read Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra in the last week or so, and it was an interesting experience. I had never read these books before and didn't really know what they were about, beyond the fact that they are commonly referred to as the first two installments of Lewis' "Space Trilogy". Which is true, but possibly a bit misleading.
The first book is an examination of what a world might be like if it were inhabited by unfallen, pre-Messianic creatures. The second is an examination of an unfallen post-Messianic world. Probably an oversimplification, but there it is. The first book is more of a straight-forward fictional tale exploring interactions between fallen men and unfallen beings. The second is more of a philosophical exploration of temptation and a musing on the intended nature of man prior to the fall. I haven't read the third book, That Hideous Strength, yet, (though it's sitting on the floor a few feet away and I'll get to it in the next couple weeks) but I'll try to remember to post a thought or two about it here when I have read it.
On a side note, I finished another two Nero Wolfe mysteries this week as well: Second Confession and Death of a Doxy
Monday, December 01, 2003
Read another three Nero Wolfe mysteries this weekend. (The collections come in sets of three.) Too Many Clients, Might As Well Be Dead and The Final Deduction. These were solid, nothing really stood out about them, except that they seemed to include a touch more profane and vulgar language than the other books I've read. I'm not sure why this was. They were published a few years later than some of the other books, but earlier than some others I read. Neh.
Thursday, November 27, 2003
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Finished another three Nero Wolfe books, Too Many Cooks, Plot It Yourself and Triple Jeopardy. The first was the best, even though it wasn't difficult to solve, it had the most interesting characters and storyline. The second started promisingly, had a bit of a surprise villain, but didn't end well. And the third was three short stories, none of which was exceptional in either a good or bad way. I think that the reason I like these stories so well is because I like the narrator, Archie Goodwin. I have a fondness for first person perspective when I like the narrator's character. Jeeves and Wooster stories would be funny regardless, but the fact that they're told by Wooster gives them that extra something or other that pushes them from funny to hilarious. Similarly, I think that Archie Goodwin pushes the Nero Wolfe mysteries from fair-to-middlin' to rather good.
Also finished the third Discworld book by Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites. Not as good as the first two, but you can't hit a homer every time up. And my brother warned me that the best ones are the ones that feature Death prominently as a character.
Almost finished with The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis. I've been taking my time and thinking about it as I go along. It's a very thought-provoking and instructive read. Don't have any particular thoughts to share about it at this point, but perhaps later on. I would recommend it to anyone with any interest at all in spiritual matters.
Last but not least, I've been re-reading bits of The Count of Monte Cristo, which is probably one of my top three all-time favorite books. Certainly top five. That is the most ripping yarn I've ever read. If you've never read it, shame on you. Stop what you're doing, get up from your computer and go to your library or bookstore and get it. Now. Then read it. It's about 1400 pages, but I'll bet you won't be able to put it down and have it finished in under a week.
Saw the final installment of the Matrix movies (at least, I hope it's the final installment; they left the door open for more movies) last Friday with the wife. It was okay. Not any worse than expected, and actually probably a bit better since my expectations had been lowered quite a bit by all the negative reviews I saw.
Pros: it was better than the second movie, the outcome of the battles was more in doubt since this was the final movie which made for better suspense
Cons: the ending was lame, the acting wasn't stellar and the Manicheist Dualism that the movie propounded didn't make any sense
On balance, I'm not going to buy it nor the second movie on DVD, but I might still pick up the first one since I think it stands alone better than in concert with the second two. If you have to know how the story ends, it's worth seeing in the theater at a matinee price, maybe. If you don't care about how it ends, wait until a friend of yours rents it. It wasn't great, but it wasn't mind-bendingly awful either.
Interesting article about how programmers at the Georgia Institute of Technology created a system of virtual monkeys that predicts the best football teams about as well as the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system.
Simply put, they have a group of "monkeys" that vote for a team. They may change their vote depending upon whether it loses. So far it works pretty well.
But I have to say that I think a return to the old system of polls was the best. Sure, people argued about whether or not this team or that team was given enough or too much credit. But that's half the fun! You can do that with the BCS too, but what the BCS has done is trampled all over tradition.
I used to be assured of seeing the Pac-10 champion square off against the Big-10 champion in the Rose Bowl every year. I liked that. It was traditional. It was conservative. It was good. But now I may have to watch Texas play Michigan because USC looks like it's going to the BCS championship. Ugh.
Sadly, if anything, we'll end up moving further away in the future. A playoff system would destroy the bowl games altogether. As much as I hate the BCS, I'd rather keep it than go to an NFL style playoff system.
This is a bit of a long post. This is a speech by Umberto Eco (linked from AL Daily) that deals with the history and future of books. It explores the role and fate of books in an increasingly computer-filled society. It's rather long, but it's intelligent and on a topic I find important and interesting. Three significant excerpts follow. (Don't worry, there's plenty more to read where this came from.)
"Up to now, books still represent the most economical, flexible, wash-and-wear way to transport information at a very low cost. Computer communication travels ahead of you; books travel with you and at your speed. If you are shipwrecked on a desert island, where you don't have the option of plugging in a computer, a book is still a valuable instrument. Even if your computer has solar batteries, you cannot easily read it while lying in a hammock. Books are still the best companions for a shipwreck, or for the day after the night before. Books belong to those kinds of instruments that, once invented, have not been further improved because they are already alright, such as the hammer, the knife, spoon or scissors.
"Indeed, there are a lot of new technological devices that have not made previous ones obsolete. Cars run faster than bicycles, but they have not rendered bicycles obsolete, and no new technological improvements can make a bicycle better than it was before. The idea that a new technology abolishes a previous one is frequently too simplistic. Though after the invention of photography painters did not feel obliged to serve any longer as craftsmen reproducing reality, this did not mean that Daguerre's invention only encouraged abstract painting. There is a whole tradition in modern painting that could not have existed without photographic models: think, for instance, of hyper-realism. Here, reality is seen by the painter's eye through the photographic eye. This means that in the history of culture it has never been the case that something has simply killed something else. Rather, a new invention has always profoundly changed an older one.
"Finnegans Wake is certainly open to many interpretations, but it is certain that it will never provide you with a demonstration of Fermat's last theorem, or with the complete bibliography of Woody Allen. This seems trivial, but the radical mistake of many deconstructionists was to believe that you can do anything you want with a text. This is blatantly false. "
Monday, November 24, 2003
Here's another list of searches that turned up my website and produced visitors.
what does gaffer mean
nero wolfe omnibus
sam tannenhaus tanenhaus
dilbert response to Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch
tolkien political beliefs
what makes a book a classic
"biography of U.S. Grant"
disguise a turkey
chandler the simple art of murder essay full version online
last punch bowl eruption
"Brian anderson" "city journal"
disguise a turkey
homestar runner figurines
best "Apple Cup"
how to disguise a turkey
review of the high window by raymond chandler
Ramesh Ponnuru abortion -site:nationalreview.com
how to disguise a turkey
does tracy mcgrady have any children
"Stephen Hayes"+"Weekly Standard"
ECCLESIATES IN HAMLET
margaret thatcher speeches of the 70's
"Brian anderson" "south park"
My favourite is the fact that four different people looking to disguise a turkey found my post on Turkey and the EU instead and still came and had a look. Weird.
I like Day by Day. I think it's funny, clever and I like the right-ish politics of the creator. But Sunday's comic was off. Suggesting that the FBI is acting like the Gestapo by asking for suspicious activities of anti-war protestors to be reported is ludicrous and silly. Especially without any definition of what is meant by suspicious. Obtaining funds from or channeling funds to suspected terrorist groups? Using protests as a cover to commit terrorist acts or further their planning? Recruiting terrorists or supporters at or during a protest? Is Mr Muir really against stopping all that? We don't know because all he felt compelled to do was compare the FBI to the Gestapo for wanting to investigate suspicious activities of individuals and groups. Without demonstrating that it was planning or stated that it planned investigation without cause Mr Muir engages in the specious comparisons of the disliked to Nazis that is so common to those kooky protestors on the left. Come, come. You can do better, Mr Muir.
At least, the pros that played the President's Cup are. The teams were tied when the final day ended. So they had a sudden death play-off. After three holes of that, it was still tied. It was getting dark. So what next? Postpone the sudden death playoff until the next day? Keep playing in the dark? No. They called it a tie. Lame. Puts me in mind of the camp counselor I had when I was a lad who would always tell us that "We're all winners, deep down." In his defense, he was an Army captain who didn't really mean it and said it in a mocking tone of voice but it seems that golfers have accepted such pap. After this, I don't want to hear about Tiger Woods' "killer instinct", "desire to win", or even that he's competitive. Both teams didn't win, you morons. You all lost. Second place is first loser and none of you came in first. No other sport would accept a tie in any of their championships.
Great article by Natan Sharansky on anti-Semitism and it's relationship to anti-Americanism. It's long, but well worth reading. He makes an interesting case regarding the nature of anti-Semitism and the reasons for its re-occurence throughout history. A couple of excerpts:
"In the summer of 2000, at Camp David, Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians nearly everything their leadership was thought to be demanding. The offer was summarily rejected, Arafat started his "uprising," Israel undertook to defend itself--and Europe ceased to applaud. For many Jews at the time, this seemed utterly incomprehensible: had not Israel taken every last step for peace? But it was all too comprehensible. Europe was staying true to form; it was the world's Jew, by refusing to accept its share of blame for the "cycle of violence," that was out of line. And so were the world's Jews, who by definition, and whether they supported Israel or not, came rapidly to be associated with the Jewish state in its effrontery.
"Despite the differences between them, however, anti-Americanism in the Islamic world and anti-Americanism in Europe are in fact linked, and both bear an uncanny resemblance to anti-Semitism. It is, after all, with some reason that the United States is loathed and feared by the despots and fundamentalists of the Islamic world as well as by many Europeans. Like Israel, but in a much more powerful way, America embodies a different--a nonconforming--idea of the good, and refuses to abandon its moral clarity about the objective worth of that idea or of the free habits and institutions to which it has given birth. To the contrary, in undertaking their war against the evil of terrorism, the American people have demonstrated their determination not only to fight to preserve the blessings of liberty for themselves and their posterity, but to carry them to regions of the world that have proved most resistant to their benign influence."
Derb linked it.
Theodore Dalrymple writes some of the most lucid prose on social issues that I have ever read. Right here is a review he wrote of a book called Therapy Culture. It seems a bit short, like it got cut down for length rather dramatically, but it's still well worth reading.
Saturday, November 15, 2003
Heard this story on the BBC a couple days ago. It seems that the EU wanted to classify kilts as women's clothing. And not only that, they threatened Scots with large fines if they refused to comply. Luckily for the EU, the EU backed down. Otherwise, we might have seen a modern day William Wallace rise up to defend the freedom of Scotland's kilts. Or something.
An inspiring article (found in the Corner) about how a planned Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin has ground to a halt because the contractor can't find enough subcontractors to do the work. It seems that a boycott has been organized by churches and small contractors to prevent construction of a facility that will do something that they personally oppose: kill babies.
And the best news? They're going to try and broaden the boycott to other areas of the country. More power to them.
A bishop of the Church of England is under investigation by police for suggesting in a newspaper article that homosexuals should seek psychiatric help. Now, people disagree over whether homosexuality is right or wrong and what the root causes of it are, but this instance just goes to show that homosexuals can't tolerate any dissent from the idea that their behavior should be, not only accepted, but encouraged by the world at large. Homosexuals demand tolerance of themselves but are reluctant to be tolerant of anyone who disagrees with them.
Friday, November 14, 2003
That's the gist of this article. And I couldn't agree more. Whenever people ask me why I don't read any recent best-selling novels, I tell them it's because 99% of what's written is dreck. It's not worth the paper it's printed on. It's boring, dull, poorly written, unimaginative, with characters and plots that aren't compelling and I can't be bothered to wade through all that muck that's out there just to find that occasional diamond-in-the-rough. That's why I'll stick to the old stuff. Classics. Things I know are good, thank you. Tolstoy, Tolkien, Dumas, Plato, Sayers, Lewis, Shakespeare, etc. If it's not 50 years old, then I'm not reading it without a strong recommendation by someone whose judgment I trust. And it's not as if I'll run out of classics to read. There's enough to keep me busy through two lifetimes, especially with all the non-fiction reading that I try to get in.
Anyway, good article, little weak at the end, but you should still read it. (Found via Al Daily) And while I'm at it, I'm gonna say thanks to my little brother (Thanks!) for pointing me towards some excellent recently written fiction. Tad Williams' Otherland series and Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. I'd recommend both. They're both kinda fantasy series, but definitely not your conventional Tolkien rip-off fantasy.
Monday, November 10, 2003
An article from City Journal (found via AL Daily) written by Brian Anderson argues that we're seeing the rise of conservative media that will challenge and eventually supplant (to a degree, not completely) the liberal media. He makes an interesting argument. I'm still not sold on South Park as a conservative show, and I'm dubious about blogging being quite as powerful as many seem to think, but I agree in general.
Note: Several instances of profanity.
Friday, November 07, 2003
Okay, I admit. I'm a LOTR geek. (For those really not in the know, LOTR=Lord Of The Rings) And, as any LOTR geek would be, I was psyched when I found out they were going to make movies. True, there was the worry before the first movie that it would not accurately capture Tolkien's work. Worries that LOTR was not adaptable to film because of it's length, complexity or because the special effects would not look right. Or perhaps it would be ruined by bad directing, acting or a poorly written screenplay.
And then the first movie was released and fears subsided. There were minor quibbles, sure, but it was a magnificent movie taken all in all. The touching moments I cared about were included, the characterizations by the actors were done well, the special effects were solid enough to keep one from being dragged out of the suspension of disbelief, the dialogue didn't ring too false until the final lines, etc. It wasn't perfect, but it was good and far better than I had feared.
But then TTT was released a year ago. And all of that good-will, all of the understanding and approval built up by the first movie was washed away. Where the first film had trimmed and pruned to fit the story into the time and on the screen, this one slashed and burned. Characters were changed until they were practically unrecognizable. Pieces of the story no longer made sense even within the context of the movie and major sections were added to the story, which is totally unnecessary in a tale that's already long enough to for a trilogy of 3 hour movies with major storylines and characters excised.
So now, with a final shot at redemption, a chance to make it two out of three, what are we going to get? A resounding return to the heights climbed by the first film, or will it plumb even deeper depths than those found by the second film? From what I've seen of the previews and such, I dread that it will be the latter.
Interesting article (found via The One Ring.net) that argues that Hugo Weaving, playing Agent Smith, is the real star of the Matrix movies. After reading it and recalling the first two films (haven't seen the third one yet), I'm inclined to agree, at least somewhat. Keanu was the star of the first film, but Hugo was definitely giving him a run for his money. Though in the second film, Neo-as-Superman was boring and tired and it was now Agent Smith that captured attention and made one wonder about what he was going to do next and what would happen to him. I'm betting that trend will continue into the third film.
San Antonio lost to the Lakers tonight 120-117 in double overtime. Despite this, I think the Spurs should be heartened by the game. The Lakers were bringing their full roster to bear, including Shaq, Kobe, Malone and Payton. The Spurs on the other hand limped in without their marquee big man, Duncan and injuries to Tony Parker and Anthony Parker that necessitated having a pair of point guards that a week ago thought they weren't going to be on any NBA roster this year. Despite these disadvantages, the Spurs led for a fair portion of the game and took the Lakers to two overtimes. Once Duncan and Parker get healthy, I think the Spurs are poised to repeat as champions.
Let me say right off: Normally Frum is fairly intelligent. But today he just lost a lot of standing. His "diary" entry for today deals with abortion and the partial-birth abortion ban that was just signed into law. But he feels compelled to announce that not only is he not pro-life, but that he doesn't see any need to further review the matter. He's not open to debate, nor does he feel the need to present arguments to support his stance (since he failed to do so). Disappointing.
It's precisely because Mr Frum refuses to see the matter as dealing with fundamental human rights that he can be accommodating to abortion. I find it inconsistent that someone who speaks on behalf of Jews who are persecuted for being who they are would turn around and deny his voice to defend the most defenseless people of all. Shame on you, Mr Frum. I only hope that one day you at least decide to start listening to other people's opinions again and approaching the issue with an open mind. Perhaps then you'll regret your current intransigence.
UpdateFrum responds to those who e-mailed him after he asked them not to. And Ramesh Ponnuru responds to Frum's response.
Here's some more search engine queries that brought visitors to my site.
"what makes a book a classic"
Peter Kreeft commenting on the New Age movement
instapundit and "the new deal"
lou pinella quotation
Facts about Metrosexualism
"whittaker chambers" "homosexual"
"bloom county" "bill gates" marriage
adventist thought in WWII
communism and Raymond Chandler
dead mall nea falcon
CBS Series on Homeschooling
raymond chandler homosexual
guns in the hands of children can result in tragedy poetry
homestar runner solution
iraq losing artifacts
quotation economy wholly subsidiary thatcher
I think my favourite, for not making any sense, is the "bloom county" search. Not sure what he was looking for.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
So says a Nature article (link via the Corner. Researchers at the U of Chicago found that a five minute conversation with a 20 something woman could spike a man's testosterone level by 30%.
Anyone still want to argue that the presence of women in the military doesn't have an effect on men and their behavior?
Well, now that baseball season is over and done, and football season is well under way, it looks like there will continue to be no joy in Mudville. The Steelers (despite being from the Seattle area and a solid M's and Sonics fan, I gave the Seahawks up years ago and changed my gridiron allegiance) are a pitiful 2-6 having dropped their last 5 in a row including the most recent defeat at the hands of the repudiated Seahawks.
They do have a 2-1 divisional record and with a strong surge in the second half of the season might conceivably make the playoffs, but I'm not holding my breath. They'd have to run the table to finish 10-6, though with Baltimore (at 5-3) being the only team on their schedule with a better-than-.500 record, who knows? The other nine games are against teams with records of 3-5 or worse.
Well, there's always basketball.
One of the most under-reported consequences of our national abortion industry is the number of women that are killed every year by the abortions they have committed against their unborn children. Well, it seems that the wonder-pill RU-486, that was supposed to make abortions even more safe and private, can kill you too. Here's a report (via the Corner) about a girl who was killed by the RU-486 that she took.
How long, O Lord?
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
The Falcon editors today try to push students to participate in the Falcon Forums. Good luck, guys. As long as your paper sticks to reporting fluff that no one cares about, as long as the Opinions section writes weak articles that don't argue for a particular position, much less discuss controversial topics and as long as you continue to prevent your writers and staffers from participating, you won't get much participation in the Falcon Forums.
"We believe that participation in the Falcon Forum is low mainly for two reasons. The first being that most students are unaware it even exists; the second, that those who are aware find its atmosphere hostile."I can't speak to how many students are aware of the Falcon Forums, because not only have I not done any polling, but I'm rarely on campus and don't have a feel for the collective student body. But as to the second proposition, I find it fairly ludicrous. Many internet forums exhibit as much or more hostility at times between members as the Falcon Forums do and it doesn't cause them to have poor rates of use. I do commend the Falcon for wanting to clean up the forums a bit and make sure discussions are more on point, but that won't do anything to solve their real problem of reader apathy and disinterest. Take note of the Opinions page in this week's issue. Not even one letter to the editor. If students, alumni, faculty and staff are so disinterested as to not even write a letter to the editor, how the editors of the Falcon expect booming participation in the forums just by mentioning it in their Staff Editorial? Write about something that people care about and disagree on. That will spark discussion. Promising a clean, safe discussion of boring topics and non-issues won't interest anyone.
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Interesting article (link from AL Daily) about how organic food can be more dangerous than genetically modified foods, in more ways than one. It's a long article, but worth reading.
The author makes an interesting case that the drive behind organic food is linked to wealthy snobbery and the fetishization of the inferior as superior because of scarcity. The scarcity, of course, comes about because it has been superseded and is in less demand because it is inferior. The first third of the article is devoted to outlining and explaining this phenomenon. Worth reading if you're interested in the GM foods debate.
Monday, October 27, 2003
Whatever one thinks of Michael Moore's politics (and believe you me, I don't think much of them), this is really low.
He offered a showing of his Bowling for Columbine to the parents of children at Columbine, but insisted that they pay admission like everyone else. In other words, it wasn't enough to make a few bucks off of the grief of others, he literally wanted their money too.
For all the denouncing of capitalism, he's one of the most effective (and greedy, it seems from this story) capitalists going. Marxist, overthrow thyself.
Sapp is an ass (in the more archaic sense of the word). It's tough to find much on his "slave master" comments at either Yahoo Sports or ESPN online for reasons that aren't clear to me. But a Google search brought up this story from CBS. (2nd topic)
Sapp, (after he and another player traded words before a game via the media) referred to the NFL commisioner as a "slave master" with the obvious implication that he and other players are the slaves. I didn't think much about this at first beyond that it was Sapp running off at the mouth without thinking; not out of the ordinary at all for him.
But I just saw him on Sportscenter talking to Michael Irvin and refusing to back down from his comments about being a slave despite it being pointed out that his "slave masters" pay him millions of dollars to play a game once a week. He insisted that since the media didn't actually have his job, they couldn't say that it wasn't slave labor. This is so ridiculous as to almost bar belief. Simply because the league has restrictions on what behaviour is acceptable, and bars one from making contact with officials, abusing officials verbally and insists on players showing each other a modicum of respect while on the field doesn't make you a slave. You've got a lot more freedom to criticize your employers and misbehave than we poor schmucks who work at real jobs do, Mr Sapp.
With inanity coming from your mouth reaching this level, I think that you may be suffering permanent damage from being hit in the head a few too many times whilst on the field. Maybe you oughta hang 'em up before you start wearing tinfoil and ranting about little green men, Mr Sapp.
I'm doing a fair bit of gloating over sports teams I don't like, but that's okay. Shaq and Kobe are at each other's throats again. Shaq says Kobe needs to pass more, Kobe says he won't change anything. Shaq says the Lakers are his team.
"Asked to clarify his "my team" remark, O'Neal added: "Everybody knows that. You [media] guys may give it to [Bryant] like you've given him everything else his whole lifetime, but this is the Diesel's ship. So ... if you ain't right [physically], don't be trying to go out there and get right on our expense. Use the people out there, then when you get right you [can] do what you do."Keep on fightin', ladies. Maybe you'll miss the playoffs completely this year.
Sunday, October 26, 2003
Ah. An outcome that warms the cockles of my heart. Knowing that the Yankees came up short again this year shows that God is in His heaven, and all's right with the world. The best part? The schadenfreude from all the disappointed Yankee fans.
Saturday, October 25, 2003
Downloading the latest version of WinAmp when this story caught my eye. It seems that SunComm's "copy" protection is rather easily circumvented.
"Quite simply, by holding down the shift key when accessing a CD in Windows, the encryption software designed by SunComm to encrypt the contents of that compact disk simply fails to ever execute."
The CD won't work at all on a Mac or Linux machine, however. Too bad.
Friday, October 24, 2003
An article from the Washington Times about the upcoming consecration of Canon V. Gene Robinson. He offers some weak and contradictory rebuttals to crticism from others in the Anglican Communion, but the key to the article is in the last couple paragraphs.
"Canon Robinson says scriptural prohibitions against homosexuality will be reinterpreted just like remarriage after divorce was.1 Corinthians chapter 3: 18Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness"; 20and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile."
'We take Scripture seriously, but not literally,' he said. 'Scripture says to be remarried after divorce is adultery, but in this country, we put tradition together with our own experience of formerly married persons who have found a second marriage to be a blessing.
'We went against Scripture and 2000 years of tradition by relaxing those rules and allowing remarriage. We used our own experience and reason to come to that conclusion.'"
Actually, don't. Interesting article on cannibalism. I don't agree with the morally ambivalent tone that implies that there is nothing really wrong with eating the dead beyond societal disapproval, but it is informative when arguing with people that subscribe to Arens' theory that cannibalism is a myth. Had an discussion about this online with some people a few months ago. It would have been handy to have this article to refer them to.
Via AL Daily.
Thursday, October 23, 2003
"NEWS ITEM: “Washington governor Gary Locke’s trip to China bore its first fruit Monday with news that a Kent-based printing-press maker signed a contract worth $11 million a year with the People’s Daily newspaper, the Communist Party organ.” Hmm . . . well, the People’s Daily might be to the right of the Seattle papers."
Nov 10 issue of NRODT (online access requires subscription)
Nov 10 issue of NRODT (online access requires subscription)
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Gabriel Schoenfeld, writing at Opinion Journal, has a somewhat disturbing article about the proliferation of nuclear weapons to rogue states and what can be done about it. It's a long article and a fair amount of time is spent outlining the dangers. The conclusions reached about what can be done? Pre-emption is the nicest option that he suggests is feasible. Our options are somewhat messy wars overseas, or the eventual terrorist use of a nuclear weapon on our shores. He also slips in a small plug for missile defense, but notes that, while useful, it is not a cure-all. Essentially, we're in a tight spot, but most people don't realize it. If we wait for that realization to dawn upon the populace at large, it will be too late to do much of anything about it.
The AP reports that Mark von Hagen, an historian from Columbia University hired by the New York Times, has concluded that the Pulitzer the Times received for Walter Duranty's reporting in 1932 on the Soviet Union should be revoked. Why? Duranty lied and deliberately falsified information in his reports in order to make them more favorable. He covered up information that showed that the famine in the Ukraine was caused deliberately by Stalin as a punitive measure.
Okay, not quite that, but we are pretty darn cool. Among other things, we're more likely to attend college, be politically active, vote, read, volunteer, attend religious services, be content personally, professionally and financially, be psychologically healthy, and finally to credit success as being due to hard work rather than simple lucky breaks.
If you're wondering about whether homeschooling is a good idea, you need to read this article. The study the article was based upon was conducted by the National Home Education Research Institute. Unsurprisingly, "[a]n NEA spokesman yesterday said the organization had no comment on the NHERI study." Why unsurprising? Because it's hard to square with the resolution passed by the National Education Association (NEA) at its national convention declaring that "home-schooling programs cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience." Yeah? Bull.
The NEA is really simply threatened by the more and more obvious demonstration that parents at home are able to do what professional teachers are increasingly unable to do: Prepare children for adult life by educating them. And, homeschoolers make the claim that schools need more money to be successful even more ludicrous than it already is. Parents homeschooling their children don't have near the money available to them that school districts have, and yet homeschoolers consistently outperform students from government schools.
You want your children to get ahead in life? Don't send them to a government school.
An interesting poll conducted by Public Opinion Research of Israel and The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion shows that there is strong Palestinian support for continued terrorist attacks on Israelis even if the Palestinians gain statehood. And that's even if the Palestinian state incorporates all of the Gaza strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Link via The Corner.
Monday, October 20, 2003
Sunday, October 19, 2003
Geoffrey Norman ought to take a page from Larry Miller's book next time he writes a column about baseball. Instead of carping and moaning about how things used to be so much better in baseball. Mr Norman, leave the complaining about the DH for a column about the DH. Saying that wild cards "Wild cards are for poker and, even then, only in moderation" convinces no one of anything except your desire to turn a phrase. Sure, you go on to say that "Anybody can get lucky in a seven-game series" but then where's your argument for a longer set of playoff games between division winners and a longer series? If the Yanks beat the Marlins are we going to read your opinion that it was because they got lucky over seven games?
In fact, Mr Norman, just about every column you've written for NRO has been to whine about something. Rush on ESPN, too many football games, the Super Bowl is boring (covered that twice), car racing is boring and only interesting to red-neck hicks and now it's baseball that is deserving, not of your ire, because that's too strong a word, but of your scorn and yawns. Is there anything about sports that you actually like, or do you keep up with it simply to have fodder for columns of derision? Ah, yes. You worship at the altar of Jordan. You slide into the trap of believing him the best basketball player of all time, when he's really the most self-serving player of all-time. Ignore the fact that his supporting cast with the Bulls did far more to carry him than vice versa and witness the petulance he displayed when he tried to collect all the accolades in DC and give all the blame to his teammates. The greatest player ever? Oscar Robertson. Perhaps he didn't win as many titles, but he not only had the talent he made other around him better as well.
Interesting book review from the Washington Post. Don't agree quite with the poke taken at Bush. My opinion is that making fun of public figures for slips of the tongue is just silly, regardless of their political persuasion. After all, if I had someone following me around with a microphone recording everything I said, there would be plenty for people to mock. Anybody who speaks in public as much as politicians do deserves a break.
This ties in with my dislike of the common internet practice of never capitalizing, foregoing punctuation and not bothering to spell words properly. It's not that difficult to proof-read, use the "Shift" key, and use commas, periods and question marks from time to time. Honestly, when I read something that starts "i wnet 2 the mall yestreday me and beth were going 2 get some new shoes" I stop reading, presume the person can be no more than 10 years old and will dismiss out of hand any opinion written in such a manner because the person writing it obviously is uneducated, illiterate and has no desire to pursue anything with any sort of intellectual rigor. Which is perhaps not always true, but that is certainly the impression that is left.
Friday, October 17, 2003
One of Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus today was quite funny.
Rep. Rahm Emanuel — the ex-ballet dancer and former Clinton aide — had T-shirts made up mocking the Bush administration's request for $87 billion to be spent on Iraq. (Don't ask — about the T-shirts.) Stuart Roy, a spokesman for Rep. DeLay, quipped, "We gave America a liberated Iraq and a deposed terrorist dictator, and all we got from the Democrats was this lousy T-shirt."
Actually no new violence, but an update on an incident that took place a while ago. AP is reporting that Bill Romanowski is being sued the teammate that he punched in practice.
In the case of the Nebraska player who clocked a fan last week, it seems that he'll be suspended for one whole game! I suppose that I shouldn't be too surprised since the Mad Choker of OSU only got a one game suspension, but somehow I thought that an assault on a fan would have been treated more seriously. The lesson that these light taps on the wrist give athletes is that they can get away with things simply because they are athletes. Then you end up with Romanowski and Kobe Bryant. Romo punches teammates in practice and Kobe has sex (whether consensual or not still to be determined) with a teenager-not-his-wife and they don't expect negative consequences or don't even stop to consider what the consequences may be.
Thursday, October 16, 2003
The UN approved the US resolution for Iraq, but Germany, France and Russia all said that they weren't going to contribute any troops nor would they supply any money for the reconstruction of Iraq. Heard the story on BBC World Service and the German and French foreign ministers emphasized that their countries and Russia had approved the measure not because they supported the US efforts in Iraq, but because they wanted to bring the international community together and make a show of unity.
I was amazed. Not only is this an admission of their lack of strength to pursue their own course in opposition to the US in any practical way for any length of time, but they were also admitting that they had no interest in helping the Iraqis unless it was done their way! The war is over. Iraq is being rebuilt. There's no way to alter that. And still the French, the Germans and the Russians won't do anything to help. But they did sign economics deals with Saddam when he was in power that were to go into effect once sanctions were lifted. How can anyone not understand? The US is spending blood and treasure to rebuild Iraq. It will make us safer, the world safer, the Iraqis safer and give the Iraqis better lives. France, Germany and Russia are holding out because all they're interested in is their bottom lines. The almighty ruble and euro.
This series has made me hate Yankees fans even more. The ludicrous defense of Don Zimmer as being the aggrieved party when he was the one who charged out of the dugout and tried to hit a player 40 years his junior. Pedro did the kindest thing he could, pushed him to the ground where he could come to his senses about what he was doing before he ran into someone who wouldn't respect his age and frailty and do something that really hurt him.
And sour-puss Nelson, who sulked his way off the M's at the end of the year apparently felt the need to prove he was as bad as the rest of his teammates by jumping a groundskeeper. Well, in addition to the ongoing criminal investigation the groundskeeper has a lawyer and plans to sue. Good. Hit Nellie where he'll feel it most.
An interesting article from the Wilson Quarterly about the facts of "global warming". It points out that the world is getting warmer, though very slightly, and that the reasons for the increase in temperature are unclear. It also goes on to note that the effects of global warming may not be as dire as predicted and could even have a net benefit for humanity as whole. Long article, but interesting.
Via AL Daily.
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
So argues Rand Simberg on NRO today. His perspective is that this space program of the Chinese, putting astronauts (or "taikonauts" as the ChiComs call them) in orbit is based on building national prestige and will only have a small, short-term positive effect, but will be a resource drain in the long term.
"Similarly, as during the Ming Dynasty, the Chinese government is wasting valuable state resources on a circus that may, in the short run, provide some small bit of national pride to a government that is stealing those same resources from a people to whom it's unaccountable, but will not significantly contribute to the wealth of their nation. Ultimately, the only way to do that is to harness free enterprise to the task."
John Derbyshire on National Review Online has a very interesting article about his experience acting a bit part as a thug in a Bruce Lee film. I have to say, I fall into the camp of people who think this is very, very cool.
Great excerpt from the article: "You have not savored the full subtlety of Bonanza until you've seen it dubbed into Cantonese. (Hoss: "Mou dung! Ying-dak ngo ma?" Villain: "Mou da! Mou da!"... etc., etc.)"
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Saw Kill Bill this weekend. I enjoyed it, but didn't think it was a great movie. It was better than his work in Pulp Fiction, and much better than Reservoir Dogs (which I loathed). I think that perhaps a large part of the reason that Kill Bill appealed so much was the samurai references and the manga feel to the movie. I'm a fan of those things and find them interesting.
I also thought that Jonathan Last's comments on the film were the best I've read so far. Thomas Hibbs is also worth reading.
Red Sox won yesterday to even the series at two games apiece. There's another game in Boston today before the series moves back to New York for Game 6 and the possible Game 7. Hopefully Boston's starting pitching will stiffen up and their bats will heat up over the next couple games. If the Cubbies can win once at home tonight or tomorrow (which they have an excellent chance of doing since they're sending Mark Prior to the mound tonight and Kerry Wood tomorrow) and the BoSox and pull it out, we'll be all set for the World Series that baseball fans everywhere will enjoy. Well, everywhere but NY and Fla.
This report from the UPI says that the US Army has revised its estimate of Iraq's weapon stockpiles up to "nearly a million tons of weapons and ammunition, which is half again as much as the 650,000 tons" that was estimated a mere two weeks ago. Which means that what was said here about how long it may take inspectors to find those WMDs goes double.
Well, my beloved Huskies dropped the ball Saturday. Beat 28-17 and they got whupped more than the score indicates. They won't be making back to the Top 25 this year, and only a die-hard fan's hope keeps me from giving up on the Apple Cup this year.
A couple of my least favorite teams gave me more reasons to dislike them this weekend. OSU's linebacker choking Wisconsin's quarterback after tackling him and he's only suspended for one game? But the more egregious matter is that of the Nebraska CB, Kellen Huston, that punched and knocked out the Missouri fan after the game had ended. He oughta be brought up on assault charges and kicked off the football team. That was way out of line. And I've seen the tape. The fan gets decked and drops like a ton of bricks. Way to go, guys.
Monday, October 13, 2003
Iraq is returning to normal despite opposition by some Iraqis who opposed the overthrow of Saddam continuing to resist and despite foot-dragging from segments of the Iraqi population. Story from CBS here. Key para (near bottom of article):
"Look at how far we've come, much further than anyone would have expected," Bremer told ABC. "We're back at prewar levels in power, we're back at prewar levels in water, the schools are open, the hospitals are open, and we're really making tremendous progress here."Link via The Corner.
I was shocked, sickened and filled with revulsion after reading this. A baby that is completely out of the womb, not even with the head still in the birth canal as in Partial-Birth abortions, a child that is crying, moving and obviously alive, can be legally killed by the mother in whatever manner she chooses without legal consequence as long as the umbilical cord is not cut. That's what Illinois judges ruled. Here is the consequeces of unchecked abortion. What's next? The redifintion of the phrase "established a separate and independent life" that the judges said was the standard to mean children that can feed themselves without having to be nursed or hand fed by their parents? And then to children up to 18 who can support themselves financially? Even to the most hardened abortion advocates, it should be obvious that this is infanticide.
May God have mercy on our souls for allowing this to come to pass.
Link via The Corner.
Saturday, October 11, 2003
The anonymous (to me at any rate) BRICHP is claiming that it's time to have the Falcon Forums go away. Why? Because he doesn't think that Prince, Piper, mrmando and myself should be provided a forum where we can criticize the Falcon so easily. He's doing it for the children... er, Falcon staff so that their fragile psyches won't be damaged. But it's not censorship! He wants to make that clear. It is censorship even though he doesn't realize it. I agree with his conclusion, but not his reasoning. If you're connected to SPU, check it out.
Friday, October 10, 2003
Interesting article from The Spectator about whether painting is a dying art form. Interesting read. I especially liked the parenthetical statement in the quotation below.
"The epic narratives of Matthew Barney, another acclaimed American artist, have stars, soundtrack, elaborate budgets, everything that feature films have except comprehensible plot and dialogue (and not all new releases at your local cinema have those either). Then there’s sound art, photo art, virtual-reality art and performance art. What can a caveman or an Old Master, armed with a palette and a few hog’s-hair brushes, do to compete?"Thanks to the invaluable AL Daily.
Thursday, October 09, 2003
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
This post by Jonah Goldberg in the Corner points up another concern that I have with Andrew Sullivan. It seems to the me that he's trying to move the conservative ideal to the left on social issues, most specifically, towards the promotion of homosexuality as a societal norm that is unquestioned. Not only is this profoundly unconservative in both the political and apolitical senses of the word, but is very threatening to me as a Christian. As I blogged a little while back, Canada has already seen an increased "tolerance" (read, promotion) of homosexuality mandated by the government have frightening and real implications for both free speech and the free practice of religion. When I read Sullivan telling conservatives to lighten up and accept the "normalization" or some such of homosexuality, I see him asking me to be complicit in my repression on the basis of my religious beliefs. I doubt Goldberg would pitch it that strongly, but then he doesn't seem to have very strong religious beliefs to cause him the same worry.
It seems that one can be addicted to just about anything, nowadays. We've long had alcohol addiction, narcotics addiction, etc. And more recently researchers have purported to discover sex and internet addictions. Well, in keeping with that last addiction, it seems now one can be addicted to text messaging on their mobile phone. See, I knew there was a good reason I refused to get a cell phone.
Link via The Corner.
Got a link to David Kay's address to Congress concerning the search for WMDs in Iraq. It's not quite the admission of failure that much of the media has made it out to be. Some relevant paragraphs are quoted below.
"Any actual WMD weapons or material is likely to be small in relation to the total conventional armaments footprint and difficult to near impossible to identify with normal search procedures. It is important to keep in mind that even the bulkiest materials we are searching for, in the quantities we would expect to find, can be concealed in spaces not much larger than a two car garage;...
"In searching for retained stocks of chemical munitions, ISG has had to contend with the almost unbelievable scale of Iraq's conventional weapons armory, which dwarfs by orders of magnitude the physical size of any conceivable stock of chemical weapons. For example, there are approximately 130 known Iraqi Ammunition Storage Points (ASP), many of which exceed 50 square miles in size and hold an estimated 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs and other ordinance. Of these 130 ASPs, approximately 120 still remain unexamined. As Iraqi practice was not to mark much of their chemical ordinance and to store it at the same ASPs that held conventional rounds, the size of the required search effort is enormous. ...
"ISG has gathered testimony from missile designers at Al Kindi State Company that Iraq has reinitiated work on converting SA-2 Surface-to-Air Missiles into ballistic missiles with a range goal of about 250km. Engineering work was reportedly underway in early 2003, despite the presence of UNMOVIC. This program was not declared to the UN. ISG is presently seeking additional confirmation and details on this project. A second cooperative source has stated that the program actually began in 2001, but that it received added impetus in the run-up to OIF, and that missiles from this project were transferred to a facility north of Baghdad. This source also provided documentary evidence of instructions to convert SA-2s into surface-to-surface missiles."
Monday, October 06, 2003
Just watching the A's/BoSox on Fox and Manny just hit that three-run homer. So what do the commentators talk about? How this will make it hard for the A's to come back against Pedro? Whether a three-run lead is enough for the Sox bullpen if they come in with an inning or two to play? No, they talk about how Manny Ramirez was insulting by walking to first base. Okay, sure, I guess. But then one of them is crazy enough to claim that this walking-to-first-admiring-your-homer is a recent innovation, and that the games used to be more mannerly and not about "showing up" the other team or player. Baking powder? Exsqueeze me? Players used to get away with a lot more than they do now in the way of insults (Cobb used to insult Ruth with racial slurs), cheap shots (defensive players would impede runners by holding belts, baserunners would drive their spikes into legs when sliding) and let's remember the most famous example of insulting chutzpah: Babe Ruth's "called shot". The man pointed and admired before he hit a home run. Bottom line, Fox sportscasters, learn your history or shut your yap.
Phil Taylor sums it up nicely. We want the Cubbies or the Sox to win because we want their fans to shut up already! The M's haven't won the World Series since... ever. And I don't go around talking about curses and jinxes and opportunities missed 20 years ago.
Just finished reading Anne Applebaum's Gulag: A History. A masterly work. I started to write "a wonderful book", but decided that wasn't quite right. The book is shocking, saddening and terrible in large part, and though there are moments of triumph for individuals and for freedom, it is mostly a tale of the cruelty, repression and violence committed by the Soviets against their own citizens and foreigners that were unlucky enough to be ensnared.
The book is a well-written, insightful and damning indictment of the concentration camp system of the USSR that was known as the gulag. While there is a (reasonably) happy ending, in that the gulag is no more, the book ends with a fairly sad note. In the epilogue, Ms Applebaum notes that there has been a dearth of closure, if you will. Those who committed atrocities have not been brought to account. There are few memorials to remeber the dead and those imprisoned. The government agencies that were responsible for the gulag have not been reined in, investigated, nor their powers limited except in the barest essentials.
A couple relavent quotations:
"Already, we are forgetting what it was that mobilized us, what inspired us, what held the civilization of "the West" together for so long: we are forgetting what it was we were fighting against."
"Very few people in contemporary Russia feel the past to be a burden, or as an obligation, at all. The past is a bad dream to be forgotten, or a whispered rumor to be ignored."
"Vladimir Putin was a former KGB agent, who proudly identified himself as a "Chekist". Earlier, when serving as Russian Prime Minister, Putin had made a point of visiting KGB headquarters at Lubyanka, on the anniversary of the Cheka's founding, where he dedicated a plaque to the memory of Yuri Andropov."
"There have also been consequences for the formation of Russian civil society, and for the development of the rule of law. To put it bluntly, if scoundrels of the old regime go unpunished, good will in no way have been seen to triumph over evil. ... The secret police kept their apartments, their dachas, and their large pensions. Their victims remained poor and marginal. To most Russians, it now seems as if the more you collaborated in the past, the wiser you were."
Sunday, October 05, 2003
It seems that this is an article from the New Yok Post though it is at Yahoo!. (Found via The Corner.)
"She [Codepink activist Patricia Foulkrod] admitted that Bill Clinton's sexual peccadilloes were as inexcusable as Arnold's.
'The difference is that Clinton was so brilliant,' she said.
'If Arnold was a brilliant pol and had this thing about inappropriate behavior, we'd figure a way of getting around it. I think it's to our detriment to go on too much about the groping. But it's our way in. This is really about the GOP trying to take California in 2004 and our trying to stop it.'"
Thursday, October 02, 2003
This is a couple weeks old, though I hadn't heard about it until just now when I found it browsing the web. It seems that the RIAA is being sued for offering their amnesty because, it is claimed, it is a "deceptive and misleading" attempt to get consumers "to incriminate themselves and provide the RIAA and others with actionable admissions of wrong-doing under penalty of perjury while members of the general public actually receive ... no legally binding release of claims and no actual 'amnesty' from litigation in return".
CNN has an article about Mr Hugo Chavez (president of Venezuela) saying he wants "normal relations with the United States, relations based on mutual respect." And what has he done to try and persuade us of this?
Strengthened ties with Cuba and Libya, used OPEC to drive up oil prices, accused the United States of harboring Venezuelan "terrorists" plotting to kill him and accused the CIA of fabricating reports that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Not to mention suppressing the democratic processes of his country and greatly restricting free speech and the free press. Yeah. Just the kinda guy we want to cozy up to.
Found an article via The Washington Times that notes that the Chicago Tribune altered a particular phrase, "pro-life", every time it ocurred in a reader's letter to the editor. Instead of "pro-life", it read "anti-abortion". The paper did not inform its readers that the letter had been altered. Two other papers that printed all or part of the letter, the Sun-Times and the Daily Southtown, did not alter the text.
Interesting article on essays and essayists from AL Daily. Personally I agree with this author. But I'm not sure if that's truly an objective intellectual position. I may have a fondness for the essay because that's really the only form of writing that I'm much of a hand at.
David Frum has a good "diary" entry today (or rather, yesterday) on Canada and its woes. Not only does it look like free speech and religious freedom are in danger of dying, but living standards aren't getting better very fast and crime is getting worse. Boy, the hits just keep on comin', don't they? First, bad weed, now this. What's next?
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Well, if you're a sports fan, you've heard by now about Rush Limbaugh's comment on McNabb's lack of talent and why he's promoted as one of the NFL's premier quarterbacks. I want to make a couple points.
1. Rush made no racist remark about McNabb. He simply said that McNabb was overrated. Which is a perfectly legitimate, though debatable, opinion. I'm sure he won't be the first or last person to think so. Hey, even the fans in Philly have made a practice of booing McNabb. Surely they weren't doing that because they thought he was living up to his hype?
2. Greg comments that one of his coworkers thinks that politics should be left off the playing field. Well, it wasn't Rush that introduced them. The NFL fined the Lions for not interviewing a minority (read "black") candidate for their head coaching position before hiring Mariucci. This despite the fact that none of the several candidates they contacted would agree to be interviewed. Why does the NFL have this rule? They got strong-armed into it by Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Brite, er, PUSH coalition. Since the NFL mandates such racial rules, it isn't a stretch to think that McNabb is being promoted as a premier quarterback because he is black.
3. Bottom line, most QBs are overrated. Why? Because, more than any other sport, football is a team game. There are more players on the field and one time than in any other major sport, and every one is involved, in a significant way, every play. The real reason that McNabb is suffering is because of a sad-sack offense around him. Sure he's good, not that good, but good. Perfect example of what I'm saying? Jake Plummer. 4 games with Denver this year and he's got a 110 QB rating. How bad was it before when he was with Arizona? His career rating is 69.9. Is Jake magically better this year? No, but he's on a much better team.
Saturday, September 27, 2003
Well, at this time, the Huskies are up on Stanford 21-17, which is good, and the Ducks are losing to the Cougs 38-9, which is bad. But it was 38-2 a couple minutes ago, which was worse, so I'm still holding out hope that the Cougs might lose today. If the Ducks can stop the Cougs cold this drive and score again, it might be a ballgame.
I have to say, this is one of the wildest games I have ever watched. 3 blocked punts, Ducks have given up 6 INTs (one returned for a touchdown) and a fumble (which wasn't forced, the receiver had a clear shot to run into the endzone and simply let go of the ball after catching it), 2 fumbles by the Cougs and a safety. And that was just the first half. Sheesh.
UpdateIt's 45-9 Cougs with only a couple minutes left in the third. Sure, the Ducks have run the ensuing kickoff back to the 20 or so of WSU, but it doesn't matter. It's over now. I'm writing this one off as a Wazzu win.
Ducks just got a touchdown, with the PAT it'll be 45-16, but I still don't think the Ducks have a chance any longer.
2nd UpdateIt's 52-16 Cougs in the WSU-Oregon game. But the Huskies won, 28-17 over Stanford. So the glass will be half-full today.
Friday, September 26, 2003
Just finished a quick re-read of one of my favourite books of all-time. A Refutation of Moral Relativism, by Peter Kreeft. This is the best and most readable takedown of moral relativism I've ever run across, and it makes the case for moral absolutism both clearly and convincingly. This is one of the few books that I would want everyone to read. Even if one would already agree with the author, it still provides plenty of thought-provoking arguments and will sharpen one's skills to debate with the relativists that one comes across. If you haven't ever read it, read it.
Thursday, September 25, 2003
Since I already have one comics post up today, might as well add another. This one is an interesting article from the Washington Times on the era of adventure comics. I must say, I was fond of Steve Canyon. Adventure comics aren't completely dead yet, though. There's still The Phantom. Kinda cornball, but I like it.
And for my final comics note of today, the new Usagi TPB is out! Definitely be picking that up right soon.
Article over at NRO today talking about the return of Bloom County. While I was never a big fan myself, I can see why devotees of the strip would be pumped by it's return. But that's not what I want to talk about.
Mr Balko comments that "Since Opus, The Far Side, and Calvin & Hobbes all retired, there hasn't been much reason at all to read the comics page." I beg your pardon? What about Dilbert? Get Fuzzy? FoxTrot? Frazz isn't bad either. It's just as foolish to dismiss the new and current out of hand because it isn't old, as it is to dismiss the old because it isn't new.
It is an excellent article on the excesses of the Supreme Court. The article takes the Court to task, not so much for the actual decisions that are bad, but the premise upon which the Court makes these decisions. That is to say, that whatever the Constitution says, and whatever the Court has held in the past, the Justices themselves are the true power and can interpret, or re-interpret, the Constitution, the law and their own decisions any time they want to. In a sense, the US is ruled by nine Justices, not by Congress or by the Executive. Worth reading, though it is rather long.
"The Court has acquired substantial power over our political culture. The public, which knows little about the technical details or philosophical implications of constitutional doctrine, knows that much. And so do the Justices. The remarkable thing about Roe v. Wade is not only the substance of the rule it announced, but the fact that the Court felt so little compunction about imposing a new and radical rule upon the entire nation. But for all the controversy generated by the abortion decisions, the public is generally not disposed to chasten the Court for its excesses on that or any other subject. The modern Court has tutored the public well on how it ought to think about judicial power and the Constitution. And its central teaching, as I say, is not about the permanent principles that justify representative government but about the inevitability of, indeed the duty to, change.
The public is by now so well inured to judicial supremacy and the concept of a living Constitution that it has lost the capacity to be shocked by the Court’s opinions. Every term seems to bring some hitherto unobserved layer of constitutional meaning, or a gloss reversing or substantially qualifying an old understanding. Just when one thinks the Justices might zig, they zag, but whichever way they turn, their reasoning seems increasingly arbitrary and contrived."
I think they're spot on, and they handle well most of the arguments that are brought up to defend the redefinition of marriage to include homosexuals. Read it here.
"We have been brought to the present circumstance by the astonishing success of the homosexual movement over the past three decades. Traditionally, sodomy was viewed as an act, and was condemned as unnatural and deviant. A hundred years ago, homosexuality was viewed as a condition afflicting people who are prone to engaging in such unnatural and deviant acts. Today “gay” signifies not so much an act or condition as the identity of people who say that they most essentially are what they do and want to do sexually. The rhetorical and conceptual movement has been from act to condition to identity, bringing us to the demand for same-sex marriage. About two percent of the combined teenage and adult male population, and considerably less of the female, are said to be a minority deprived of their rights. In particular, they claim to be discriminated against in that they are “excluded” from the institution of marriage. They are not asking for tolerance of their private sexual practices and of the gay subculture constituted by such practices. They are demanding, rather, public acceptance and approval. That is the whole point of focusing on the status of marriage, which is a quintessentially public institution."
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Katherine Mangu-Ward (authoress of one of my favourite articles of all time, Guns for Tots) has a good article up on the possibility of the Fairness Doctrine coming back at the FCC. While the name sounds good, what it would essentially do is regulate the speech permitted on the radio airwaves, trampling all over the First Amendment. As a side note, guess under whose watch this was first implemented. That's right, that champion of freedom, FDR.From The Weekly Standard.
Watched part of Bush's speech to the UN yesterday. Wasn't too interesting. Not a big fan of speechifying, and most speeches nowadays are mild and dull and delivered in a monotone indicating that the person speaking is speaking to have his words quoted in print rather than listened to by his audience.
Anyway, what I wanted to say was that when Bush said his line about "the process must unfold according to the needs of Iraqis, neither hurried nor delayed by the wishes of other parties", CNN shortly thereafter had a caption put up at the bottom of the screen saying something like "Bush Wants to Slow Transfer of Power in Iraq". Which was pretty much exactly what he didn't say. CNN, losing touch with reality.
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Rick Lowry explains here why Halliburton isn't why the Bush administration fought the war in Iraq.
Halliburton won a competitive bidding process for LOGCAP [U.S. Army Logistics Civil Augmentation Program] in 2001. So it was natural to turn to it (actually, to its wholly owned subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root) for prewar planning about handling oil fires in Iraq. "To invite other contractors to compete to perform a highly classified requirement that Kellogg Brown & Root was already under a competitively awarded contract to perform would have been a wasteful duplication of effort," the Army Corps of Engineers commander has written.
So surmises this article at NRO. Interesting argument. I find it convincing, but I doubt it will do as much damage to Dean as the author surmises. Still, interesting read.
Best line: "African Americans have liberal political beliefs but many adhere to a conservative interpretation of the Bible. Perhaps that's one reason why Dean rallies are whiter than the Stockholm chapter of the Barry Manilow Fan Club."
Interesting article (found at the invaluable AL Daily) that looks briefly at why the history of South America turned out so different from that of North America. The author still has some leftist tilt that shows, but still a good article.
Important paragraph: "It will probably be regarded, in this age of cultural relativism, as outrageous to think the unthinkable and suggest that maybe, just maybe, the Hispanic cultural tradition really is inferior to the Anglo-Saxon. It is not just the hidalgo contempt for work and the gringo's enthusiastic embrace of it which suggests this."
Saturday, September 20, 2003
This article from The New York Review of Books, The Iran Conspiracy, is a good example of the Immaculate Conception view of foreign policy that was dealt with in the article I linked here.
A quotation from the book: "That was an undoubted triumph. But in view of what came later, and the culture of covert action that seized hold of the American body politic in the coup's wake, the triumph seems much tarnished. From the seething streets of Tehran and other Islamic capitals to the scenes of terror attacks around the world, Operation Ajax has left a haunting and terrible legacy."
Commendably, the author of the review doesn't buy into this completely, but the article as a whole doesn't challenge the underlying perception that foreign policy decision-makers should be able to take into account events that happen decades later.
Friday, September 19, 2003
LGF has the scoop. It seems that MSS let it out of the bag in an interview that Saddam's government gave preferential oil contracts to France, Russia and China. Peace for oil?
Thursday, September 18, 2003
Over at NRO there's an article by Bat Yeor on the collaboration of Christians with Muslims in introducing and perpetuating dhimmitude. (If you don't know the terms dhimmi and dhimmitude, the first couple paras of the article will bring up to speed enough to understand the argument.) More and more I'm convinced that the next great struggle will be between Islam and the West. Much as in the Cold War, we will manage greater technical superiority, but have it offset by the more fanatical devotion of our opponents and the greater ease they have in infiltrating and influencing our societies. Free societies will always have to struggle mightily against unfree opposing societies because of the difference in difficulty of making inroads for change.
No, not Bill Gates. Larry Ellison. It seems Oracle is trying to get a hostile takeover of PeopleSoft approved by the DOJ. Sadly, it seems apparent that Oracle's motive is their inability to compete in the open market. Can anyone say "monopoly"? Sure, I knew you could.
Article from NRO.
Okay, I admit. I'm a stat-head. Not in the sense that I know the 1963 Mets team BA without looking it up. (.219, BTW) But in the sense that I love statistics. Love 'em. And, while it doesn't matter what the statistics are about, I'll probably find them interesting, baseball statistics are some of my favorites. Why? Because people don't get upset and shout and argue nearly so much about baseball stats as they are wont to do with more politicized issues and their stats. And because baseball has such an abundance of statistics.
Which is why I'm gonna talk up a website a bit here. Baseball Reference.com. What a great site. Want to know the box scores from the 1923 World Series? They're here. Curious what Lou Pinella's won-lost record was with Cincinnati? Right here. Maybe you want to know which pitcher has the lowest (BB+H)/9IP ratio of all-time? Career or single-season? It doesn't have stats for the current year, but for a website run on donations and people sponsoring individual pages and operated by a one man, this place is king. I use it all the time. I hereby recommend it to all my friends. And everybody else.
Oh, and I'm adding a link to my link bar. That is all.