Friday, June 30, 2006

Recommended Equipment: Carcano M1891

David Horowitz:
In an apparent retaliation for criticism of its disclosure of classified intelligence to America's enemies, the New York Times June 30th edition has printed huge color photos of the vacation residences of Vice President Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, identifying the small Maryland town where they live, showing the front driveway and in Rumsfeld's case actually pointing out the hidden security camera in case any hostile intruders should get careless:

Make no mistake about it, there is a war going on in this country....

If (Not Necessary) Necessary Not

Ever succinct, The Economist sums up the debate in two sentences:
Some judges, when elevated to the Supreme Court, have taken it as licence to act as philosopher-kings, laying down the kind of enlightened laws that the oafs in Congress ought to have passed but did not. Others have sought to undo the work of the philosopher-kings by overturning every ruling not solidly supported by the words of the constitution, as they were understood by the Founding Fathers.
And goes on to say:
Mr Roberts appears to believe that the first group, known as ""activist judges"?, are usurping powers that belong to elected legislators. He sympathises more with the second group, the ""originalists"?, but fears that too rigid an application of their principles would be hugely disruptive...

The new chief justice offers instead a cautious, incremental approach. Rather than issuing sweeping commandments from the bench, judges should decide cases on the narrowest possible grounds. ""If it is not necessary to decide more to dispose of a case, in my view it is necessary not to decide more,"? he told an audience of law students in May.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

How Lucky You Are, Boys

Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out
They leave the west behind
And Moscow girls make me sing and shout
They Georgia's always on my mi- mi- mi- mi- mi- mi- mi- mi- mind

More murderous Joe nostalgia here.

Tip of the hat to BureauCrash.

Who's Running This Show?

Justice Thomas dissents:
For the reasons set forth in Justice Scalia's dissent, it is clear that this Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain petitioner's claims. The Court having concluded otherwise, it is appropriate to respond to the Court's resolution of the merits of petitioner's claims because its opinion openly flouts our well-established duty to respect the Executive's judgment in matters of military operations and foreign affairs. The Court's evident belief that it is qualified to pass on the ""military necessity"? of the Commander in Chief's decision to employ a particular form of force against our enemies is so antithetical to our constitutional structure that it simply cannot go unanswered.

More Like Ram-Boo

"Sometime between 10 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday, he broke through a 400 pound steel door, ripped apart bolted together electrical fencing, climbed a 12 foot high reinforced fence and ripped off the mesh fencing at the top," said Michael Dalzell, director of sales and marketing for the refuge.
Boo the Bear just wants to be free.

Bloody Red Baron

AVweb's Picture of the Week.

Click for wallpaper.

Diplomacy By Other Means

Yossi Klein Halevi:
The military invasion of Gaza that began last night, and whose purpose is to surround the area where Gilad is presumably being held, must only be the first step. A brief invasion, a "show of force," is hardly adequate. Instead, Israel needs to resume its policy of systematically targeting Hamas leaders, just as it did several years ago, culminating in the assassination of Sheik Yassin. That policy drove most of Hamas deep underground and led to the cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Serious About Treason

Ms. Coulter:
Thanks to the New York Times, the easiest job in the world right now is: "Head of Counterintelligence -- al Qaeda." You just have to read the New York Times over morning coffee, and you're done by 10 a.m.
And don't miss a nice interview by George Gurley in the New York Observer.

Take It or Leave It

You own the property, but the government says you can't do anything with it. Does that constitute a "taking" under the Fifth Amendment? I thinks so. Reagan thought so too.

Portlander seeks to drill, mine, build at Newberry
A semi-retired Portland mechanical engineer has filed a $203 million Measure 37 claim against Deschutes County, seeking the right to drill for geothermal energy, mine for pumice and develop 100 vacation homes on his 154-acre parcel in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
Miller bought the property on the shore of East Lake in 1969. Congress created the "monument" in 1990.

If Congress wants Miller's property they have an option. They can buy it from him. Under Measure 37 they have a cheaper option: just pay him for what they took.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Dave seems inexplicably fascinated by the lawn tennis championships taking place in Wim'don England and links today to some boring article about Martina Hingis and... uh...

And... uh... Justine Henin.

Dave, Dave, Dave.

Tell Me Honestly, Honey...

Does this holster make me look fat?

I probably wasted more time online picking out the holster than the revolver, but we really won't know if they look good together until the mail comes two-to-six weeks from now. Until then she goes around in the original box, wrapped in an oily rag.

For a graphic display of violence, Scott had me fill four gallon milk jugs with water and line them up in two rows, two deep.

"That's approximately the density of a... uh... a body," he said, "Now shoot the first pair with your .38."

Aim... squeeze... Pow! The jugs jumped up and then settled back to slowly drizzle to death--two small holes in each.

OK, now try this, he said, handing me a .357 cartridge. I braced myself for a little more kick. Aim... squeeze...


"Holy $#*@!" I said, or words to that effect. The bullet entered the first jug through the same small hole but exited the back like a shotgun blast, and shredded the second jug front to back. Both lay empty.

Adhering to our Enemies

Giving them Aid and Comfort... Congress shall have the Power to declare the Punishment of Treason...

Congress seems to think that, given enough rope, they will hang themselves.

I'm past hoping for that. It's time for a lynch mob.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Randall v. Sorrell

Justice Thomas concurs but says the court did not go far enough.
Buckley, as the plurality has applied it, gives us license to simply strike down any limits that just seem to be too stringent, and to uphold the rest. The First Amendment does not grant us this authority. Buckley provides no consistent protection to the core of the First Amendment, and must be overruled.
Stare decisis does not trump all.

NASCAR for Potheads

...I really like Deadheads and the whole Dead concert scene: the tailgating, the tie-dye uniforms, the camaraderie — it was like NASCAR for potheads. You always felt like you were with family at a Dead show — a rather odd, psychedelic family that sometimes lived in a VW bus and sold frightening looking ""veggie burritos."? But whatever their myriad interests, clothing choices, and interest in illicit drugs, true Deadheads are what liberals claim to be but aren't: unique, free-thinking, open, kind, and interested in different ideas. Also, excellent dancers! Watching a Deadhead dance is truly something to behold.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Karmic Book

If you don't know these guys, this won't make any sense at all.

If you do know these guys, it still won't make any sense. But at least you'll have some background.

Dignity of a Soup Line

Lileks roasts the Democrat Manifesto. Here goes plank number five:
""Ensure Dignified Retirement."? Again, sounds great. Mandatory fedoras for men; a 50 percent reduction in Viagra commercials. But no: the Democrats wish to ""prevent the privatization of Social Security,"? because you cannot be trusted with your own money. It's an interesting definition of dignity: waiting by the mailbox for your government check.
There's not much left when he's finished. But then, there wasn't much there when he started.


Actually it's a Taurus Gaucho, a single action .357, but I'll probably shoot mostly 38s. Less recoil. The picture hardly does it justice. You have to hold it to truly appreciate the beauty of the case hardened Sundance Blue finish.

My first firearm. (BB guns don't count.) Scott's agreed to give me a few pointers and a long safety lecture. And then target practice. I must remember to bring ear plugs, as if the rock and roll hasn't already done enough damage.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Rock Bottom Koi Ranch

Bonanza, Oregon:
Annie Sedlacek, co-owner of the Rock Bottom Ranch Koi and Nursery in Bonanza, picks a few fish pellets from an old Folger's coffee can and tosses them into a murky pool.

Flashes of gold, orange, silver, yellow and black break the surface as multiple varieties and sizes of koi come to the surface to gobble up the treats.

Sedlacek has been raising and selling koi from her home business for the last six years....

Instruction Online

More than just silly videos:
When Eric Nguyen, a 20-year-old student in College Station, Texas, needed some help with a Chopin etude he was learning, he didn't turn to his piano teacher. Instead, he went on, the amateur-video sharing site, and posted a video of himself playing.

Within 10 minutes, three people he'd never met had given him feedback. One told him he needed to use more wrist action to reduce false notes; another suggested a series of exercises.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Darwin's Tortoise Dead At 175

Harriet the tortoise, one of the world's oldest living creatures with links to famed naturalist Charles Darwin, has died in Australia at age 175....

With her date of birth calculated to 1830, Harriet was born while Andrew Jackson was president of the United States. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated when she was 35. She lived through several of the major wars in recorded history, including the Civil War and both World Wars. She was already 82 years old when the Titanic sank in 1912, and Pearl Harbor was attacked as Harriet reached 111.

Before the Dawn

Derbyshire reviews a new book by Nicholas Wade:
Before the Dawn is beautifully done, a grand genealogy of modern humanity, rooted in fact but spiced with an appropriate measure of speculation and hypothesis. Even for a reader to whom the material is already familiar — one who, for example, has been following Nicholas Wade's reports in the New York Times — it is well worth the trouble of reading this book for its narrative value, for the elegant way Wade has put it all together as a single compelling story. This is a brilliant book, by one of our best science journalists.

Another Victory in the War on Terror

Lawyers Took Our Diving Board

Steve Moore in Opinion Journal:
But the diving-board dilemma is not just a legal matter; it's a cultural one. We Americans have become so risk averse when it comes to our children that we now see unacceptable dangers from even the most routine activities. We have created peanut-butter-free school zones, "soft" baseballs, army figures without guns, parks without seesaws, and full body armor for bike riding.
Poor kids. When I was fifteen we went cave-crawling above the North Umpqua, navigated class three rapids on inner tubes, and jumped out of trees twenty feet above the water. That's where I broke my foot.

Black Muslim Jihadis... a Masonic Temple?
CBS4 has confirmed one of the suspects is 32 year old construction worker Nasir Baptiste of Carol City....

G.J.G Atheea, a Master at the Morrisigns Masonic Temple where Baptiste was an Elder, claims Baptiste was approved by men who offered to fund him for whatever he wanted to do, "as far as some subversive work. They would give him whatever he needed."

Atheea claimed Baptiste was not interested, and didn't accept what the men had to offer. He denied Baptiste was a terrorist.

The Temple was also raided by agents Thursday.
Now that's really creepy.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Incendiary Blonde Commentatrix

Mark Steyn reviews Godless: The Church of Liberalism
"What crackpot argument can't be immunized by the Left's invocation of infallibility based on personal experience?" wonders Miss Coulter of Cleland, Sheehan, the Jersey Girls and Co. "If these Democrat human shields have a point worth making, how about allowing it to be made by someone we're allowed to respond to?"

Now that's a point worth making. As it is, thanks to Coulter cracks like "Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they'd better hurry up and appear in Playboy," even chaps on the right are doing the more-in-sorrow shtick and saying that they've been making the same basic argument as Ann and it's such a shame she had to go too far with her cheap shots because that's discredited the entire argument, etc.

The trouble with this line is that hardly anyone was objecting to the professional widow routine pre-Coulter....
P.S. A note in regard to spelling: men may be blond, but women are blonde. If Steyn believes otherwise, he is mistaken.

$10,000 Reward

For the Lord God Bird.

Some good ol' boy with find him now.

Nix and Hydra

Pluto's got three moons.

Musty, Brittle Scraps Online

On the Wall Street Journals free pages:
Today,, a subscription service owned by Inc., will put a fully indexed version of the 1910 U.S. Census on the Web, culminating its six-year-long project of digitizing and indexing all publicly available U.S. Census records from 1790 to 1930....

In recent months,, a free site sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been expanding its collection of birth, marriage, death, census and other records. It has also begun a massive project to digitize billions of records previously available only on microfilm, particularly civil, church and local records....
No more cross-country trips and dusty caravanseries. This is the future of historical research.

Please Be Patient

Ms. Coulter's offending as fast as she can.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

NRO's Summer Reading List

I think it was these guys who persuaded me to read The Count of Monte Cristo and Moby-Dick. This year Kathryn recommends The Brothers Karamozov. It's on my shelf--no excuses.

Spotted first, oddly enough, by Glenn Reynolds.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Solstice at Stonehenge

It's all downhill from here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Think, think, think.

Greg sent a link to an article by Nathan Smith: Don't Restrict Immigration, Tax It, noting that Smith seems to be calling for a form of indentured servitude, which I'm all for. Servitude is what gets you tips. What's a guy gotta do to get a little servitude around here?

Anyway, I skimmed the article, mustered the bare minimum number of brain cells, and fired off a reply.
Wonks. Nothing's too complicated to work in their world. In the real world, unfortunately, you have transaction costs and administrative overhead.

I don't have the energy to think very hard about immigration, but if I did, I think I'd start with Derb's observation that they're cheap because they're illegal. Step one: make them legal, withhold taxes, social security, provide health insurance, workman's comp, and unemployment benefits, the whole HR package. Step two: they're no longer cheap, so there's no obvious benefit to hiring them. Step three: they wander off looking for work in a less civilized country, like maybe Canada.

I don't have the energy to think this through, though. That's why I delegated the job to Bush.
Think, George. Think, think, think.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Crash At Half Moon Bar

Medford Mail Tribune:
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were at the scene Monday of a plane crash in a rugged, remote region of Southern Oregon that killed four people over the weekend.

Curry County Marine Deputy Ted Heath said evidence of the Saturday crash, near Half Moon Bar Lodge on the wild and scenic section of the Rogue River, suggests that the 1965 Cessna's right wing clipped the top of a tree and came apart.
It's a tough strip no matter how you fly it.

Update: picture and more details here.

John Rapanos Wins

With property rights I count anytime you don't actually lose as a victory.
In the last three decades, the Corps and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have interpreted their jurisdiction over "the waters of the United States" to cover 270-to-300 million acres of swampy lands in the United States—including half of Alaska and an area the size of California in the lower 48 States. And that was just the beginning....

Because the Sixth Circuit applied the wrong standard to determine if these wetlands are covered ""waters of the United States,"? and because of the paucity of the record in both of these cases, the lower courts should determine, in the first instance, whether the ditches or drains near each wetland are ""waters"? in the ordinary sense of containing a relatively permanent flow; and (if they are) whether the wetlands in question are ""adjacent"? to these ""waters"?...

We vacate the judgments of the Sixth Circuit... and remand both cases for further proceedings.
More later maybe. I haven't time to read the whole opinion now.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Mt. Ashland Meadows

Charlie, Leslie, Marielle, and the Woof resting on the granite boulders near Grouse Gap Shelter at about 6500 feet. To our left, through the trees, Mt. Shasta.

Loving the Machine

Timothy Hornyak has written a book on Japanese robots.
Japan stands out for its long love affair with humanoid robots, a phenomenon that is creating what will likely be the world's first mass robot culture. While U.S. companies have produced robot vacuum cleaners and war machines, Japan has created humanoids and pet robots as entertaining friends. While the U.S. makes movies like Robocop and The Terminator, Japan is responsible for the friendly Mighty Atom, Aibo and Asimo....
Thanks to Improbable Research.

Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline

The local fishwrap managed to find someone whose future home site lies on the route of the proposed pipeline from Coos Bay to Malin. Not too hard considering a route of 225 miles. But these guys go out of their way to find the path of least resistance, using eminent domain only as a last resort.

Details of the construction process here.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Off to Mexico

Lizzy left this morning on a mission to build houses for the paisanos.

Itinerary here.

Saturn and Mars

One half degree apart. Tonight at sunset.

See APOD for details.

Friday, June 16, 2006

View From Nugget Butte

Gold Hill in the front, then Lower Table Rock, and Mt. McLoughlin in the distance.

This shot taken from about 2280 feet, a half mile and 200 vertical feet from the summit of Nugget Butte. Starting from my front porch it takes me about 1:10 to make the 1400 foot ascent. Not bad but not good enough.

We're Winning

Ralph Peters in the New York Post:
Iraq's government just released the first insider documents captured from terrorists in the raids surrounding Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death. The contents will horrify America haters in our media but won't surprise Post readers:

We're winning.

Yeah, the good guys. Our troops. And the Iraqi army. We're winning. We were winning big even before we nailed Zarqawi. The terrorists themselves said so. In their state-of-the-troubled-union message to themselves.
Mr. Reynolds blogged it first.

You Dirty Rat

Gritty rats and mice living in sewers and farms seem to have healthier immune systems than their squeaky clean cousins that frolic in cushy antiseptic labs, two studies indicate. The lesson for humans: Clean living may make us sick.

Mount Merapi Deaths

Two found dead on Mount Merapi
Two men who had been trapped in a bunker on Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano have been found dead.

The bunker where the two men had taken shelter was inadequate, vulcanologist Triyani said.

"The first person was in a singed condition because of hot steam," regency disaster management chief Widisutikno said. The second body was intact when recovered from the bunker.
More pictures here.

Figure The Odds

The National Weather Service can't agree on the chances of getting killed by lightning.
On a Web site promoting the awareness week, a fact sheet filled with exclamatory lightning stats says, "Lightning Kills About 100 People In The U.S. Each Year!" But another page states, "In the United States, an average of 66 people are killed each year by lightning." And the National Weather Service's own stats show that, over the past 10 years, the average number of lightning fatalities has been 45. Deaths haven't topped 53 in a single year since 1996.
Lots of interesting tidbits, including this.
Over the years, the number of recorded deaths has declined sharply: There were 432 in 1943, 124 in 1973 and 43 in 2005. The decline reflects cultural and technological changes, including a plummet in the number of hours Americans work outdoors, improved building construction and electrical wiring, and a decline in the use of corded phones. (Telephone-related deaths accounted for 2.4% of lightning fatalities from 1959 to 1994, according to a study co-authored by Mr. Holle. The government recommends avoiding contact with corded phone lines during thunderstorms.)

In the Wall Street Journal (free).

Pearls Before Swine

These bloggers are an angry bunch.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New Species of Domestic Pet

Or food. Cute little Laotian rock rats.

Once thought to have been extinct for 11 million years.

Droid Wars Have Begun

From Under The Desk Of

Lileks has the captured documents:
"In the name of Allah the merciful and peaceful, I bring you news of pitiless vengeance. Victory is near! Thanks to the bombs of the Crusaders — Satan curse their on-board guidance systems — al-Zarqawi has been delivered to heaven, after a brief detour through a window frame...."

Cancer Schmancer

Garrison Keillor:
I imagine going to the doctor one day, and he comes in with the X-rays, a shadow across his handsome features, and he says, "It's disseminated fibrillation of the fantoids. You have six months, maybe eight. There's nothing we can do except make you comfortable."

"Not a problem," I say. "I can make myself comfortable." I head for the nearest grocery and ask for a carton of Luckies....
I think Dave spotted this first.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Suburban Prospector

Montclair, California:
A homeowner digging for gold in his front yard said he got "carried away" and ended up with a 60-foot-deep hole, authorities said.

Henry Mora, 63, began digging 10 days ago after his gold detector reported a positive hit near his front patio. He told authorities he only intended to go down three or four feet....

"We told him, 'You're done,'" said Montclair fire Capt. Rich Baldwin. "It's amazing no one got killed."
Pictures here.

At Your Post Office Today

Following the increase in postal rates for first class letters to 39 cents, the United States Postal Service has agreed to re-issue the Ronald Reagan Commemorative Stamp at the higher postage stamp price. Although not unprecedented for a commemorative stamp, this is the first time a Presidential Stamp will be re-issued.

Galaxy Crash: Human Error

A series of pilot and crew mistakes — including an engine mix-up — led to the crash of a newly modernized C-5 cargo jet just short of a runway near Dover on April 3, Air Force investigators said Tuesday.
Among other things
The pilots and flight engineers continued to use the shut-down No. 2 engine's throttle while leaving the fully-operational No. 3 engine in idle.
Previous woofs here and here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Summon the Dark Forces


I went to school with these guys?

One Of Those Stans

Mark Steyn reviews Londonistan by Melanie Phillips.

Myself, I prefer Hindustan.

Random Thoughts

Thomas Sowell asks:
Do you ever feel like you must be invisible when you are in one of those restaurants where waiters and waitresses walk past you repeatedly without taking your order?
It might be because you're Canadian.

Seek Out New Worlds

Hong Kong (AP):
The survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there's an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy the Earth, world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking said Tuesday.

"We won't find anywhere as nice as Earth unless we go to another star system," added Hawking, who arrived to a rock star's welcome Monday.
Update: The AP caption indentifies the person behind Hawking as "his nurse" but I wonder if it's not his daughter instead?

Battle of Lake Creek

Just in time for the annual reenactment of the Battle of Lake Creek, John Burgess of Eagle Point has purchased the historic Lake Creek Store and restaurant from Carol Hale.

Pour Me Another Cup

Coffee may help protect the liver:
The research team found that people who drank one cup of coffee a day were, on average, 20% less likely to have alcoholic cirrhosis. For people drinking two to three cups of coffee, the reduction was 40%, while for those drinking four or more cups, the reduction in risk was 80%.

"Even allowing for statistical variation, this shows there is a clear association between coffee consumption and protection against alcoholic cirrhosis", said Dr Klatsky.
And put a little rum in it.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Oh, Mister Zarqawi...

...your 72 virgins await you.


Teacher's Deaf

Some students are downloading a ring tone off the Internet that is too high-pitched to be heard by most adults. With it, high schoolers can receive text message alerts on their cell phones without the teacher knowing....

The ring tone is a spin-off of technology that was originally meant to repel teenagers -- not help them. A Welsh security company developed the tone to help shopkeepers disperse young people loitering in front of their stores while leaving adults unaffected.
Actually, classical music repels loiterers just fine.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sunday Steyn

If you think the idea of some kook beheading prime ministers on video is nutty, maybe you're looking at things back to front. What's nutty is that, half a decade on from Sept. 11, the Saudis are still allowed to bankroll schools and mosques and think tanks and fast-track imam chaplaincy programs in prisons and armed forces around the world. Oil isn't the principal Saudi export, ideology is; petroleum merely bankrolls it.
I know it's not fun, but it's your civic duty to read it.

A Quiet Day on the Sun

Today's APOD.

Pacific Aviation Expands To MFR

Pacific Aviation of Grants Pass has bought Dan Jordan's Crater Aviation of Medford, expanding their fleet of aircraft and adding at least one more flight instructor. Jordan has moved to Texas. Their new office is upstairs in Jet Center North.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Jack the Cat Trees a Bear

AP photo, CBC story:
West Milford residents Suzanne and Jack Giovanetti first noticed a bear huddled in a tree in their backyard on Sunday afternoon.

Sitting beneath the tree: A seven-kilogram, orange-and-white, declawed neighbourhood cat named Jack.
The CBC has more pictures of Jack.

Mike's Gulch

John West of Silver Creek Timber bought a mess of dead trees.
He estimated it will take two to three months to harvest the timber, with the potential for completing the job this year. The timber will be logged by helicopter, and no new roads will be built.

"Most of the wood is in pretty good shape — that surprised me," West said, noting he expects to harvest close to the estimated volume in the appraisal.

Still, the amount of wood decay is a concern, he said, estimating that at least 30 percent of the value has been lost since the fire. The wood in trees less than 14 or 16 inches in diameter is no longer viable to log, he observed.

"The profit margin is a lot less now," West said. "We just have to be sharper with our business."
Meanwhile Governor K has petitioned a judge in San Francisco for a restraining order to stop even that.

Friday, June 09, 2006

United States District Court,

Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division:
...said Motion is DENIED. Instead, the Court will fashion a new form of alternative dispute resolution, to wit: at 4:00 P.M. on Friday, June 30, 2006, counsel shall convene at a neutral site agreeable to both parties... Each lawyer shall be entitled to be accompanied by one paralegal who shall act as an attendant and witness. At that time and location, counsel shall engage in one (1) game of "rock, paper, scissors." The winner of this engagement shall be entitled to select the location of the 30(b)(6) deposition...
The news article includes a helpful graphic in case you don't know how the game is played:

Thanks to CATO for spotting this one.

Sagebrush Rebel

Wayne Hage, the original sagebrush rebel, died Monday.

BureauCrash linked to this interview done in 1998:
Do you consider your cause to be anti-government?

I'm not anti-government. In fact I'm one of the strongest advocates of government there is. That's why I work to expose this environmental agenda, which is anti- government. The end result of their agenda is anarchy and chaos and the destruction of any form of effective government.
Stewards of the Range has more on Hage v. US.

Go Ahead and Sleep In

Michael Barone:
One of the wonderful things about the blogosphere is that you don't have to get up early to surf the Web for intelligent commentary on events like the death of Abu Musab Zarqawi in Iraq. Glenn Reynolds does that for you.
Yeah and he gets up at, like, 3:00 AM PDT.

See You Later, Alligator?

Florida has a predator problem of its own.

I don't understand. The South's full of hunters and shooters, and alligators make fine boots and luggage. Taste just like chicken, too, or so I've heard.

So what's the problem?

Malin, Oregon

Where in the world is Malin? asks the Mail Tribune, and proceeds to answer the question.

I already knew. It's on the charts. Haven't you ever noticed Malin International Airport?

Rogue Valley Air Festival

With no advance publicity to speak of, the second annual Rogue Valley Air Festival:
An F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter jet is expected to soar over the second annual Rogue Valley Air Festival on Saturday and Sunday.

The military aircraft, tentatively scheduled to fly over the festival between 11 a.m. and noon each day at the Medford airport, will be one of numerous unique aircraft at this year's event, said festival coordinator Joe Puckett....

"It's as done a deal as you can get with the military," he said. "We've confirmed it, but they definitely always tell you it depends on world events."...

In addition to the Stealth Fighter, demonstration flights on tap include an F-15 Eagle fighter jet from Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, a Coast Guard Dolphin helicopter, a Navy H-1 helicopter and two privately owned L-39 fighter jets from Seattle.
I went last year hoping to see some of the Rutan canards, but was disappointed. If time permits I'll try again this year.

When I'm Sixty-Four

No, the other Paul. Paul Simon.
Surprise is his comeback shot, a compilation of easy-flowing Simon lyricism sound-washed and sometimes co-written by Brian Eno: clean-cut guitar man meets techno freak with a pash for chordal dissonance. The big surprise is how well it works. Autumnal, yes. Self-referential, too. But as a total sound picture Surprise is as striking as anything Simon has done since Graceland...
Norman Lebrecht talks with Paul Simon.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Largest Burst Yet

Mount Merapi:
Indonesia's most dangerous volcano spewed a spectacular roiling cloud of hot gas and ash down its southern slope Thursday, sending more than 15,000 villagers running for safety or piling into cars and trucks, officials said.

Mount Merapi has been venting steam and ash for weeks, but the 9 a.m. (0200 GMT) burst was the largest yet, with billowing, dark gray clouds avalanching 5 1/2 kilometers (3 1/2 miles) down the mountain, said Sugiono, a government vulcanologist.

His Heavenly Justice

Delivered by avenging angels
Once the target had been identified, two F-16 jets were dispatched towards the small house in a palm grove 8km (five miles) north of the town of Baquba.

The lead aircraft dropped a 500lb bomb, and then the aircraft returned for a second run, with the second jet dropping another similar bomb.
Enjoy the video here.

Ashraf al-Akhras welcomed the news:
"I received the news like anyone who has suffered from the calamities of terrorism," Akhras told Reuters in Kuwait, his home for the past two months. "I felt God has brought His heavenly justice on earth today."...

"Maybe this will signal the start of the road to safety for our brothers in Iraq," said Akhras, a Muslim who had no time for Zarqawi's radicalism. "We pray to God that such people wake up and go back to the true religion."

Dying Pilot Saves Passengers

The Salt Lake Tribune:
A pilot who was having a heart attack Sunday morning made an emergency landing on State Road 30, about a mile west of Park Valley, saving the lives of his three passengers. After safely landing his Cessna 185 in Box Elder County, Jack Francis, 61, was taken to Bear River Hospital in Tremont, where he later died...
Via AVweb.

Derbyshire v Ponnuru

John Derbyshire reviewed Ramesh Ponnuru's Party of Death, Ponnuru published a rebuttal, Derb replied to the rebuttal, and the whole thing has gone to arbitration.

I can't resist tossing in my 2¢ worth.

America would be a happier and freer nation if the accursed intellectuals would just leave us alone with our lives, our blunders, our tragedies, and our deaths.
The state cannot "leave us alone" in deciding under what circumstances to kill one another. There have to be rules, and we have to find some basis for figuring out what they should be.
Derb makes a single statement and I happen to agree with it, although I might substitute "the State" for "the accursed intellectuals" because I know he really means "the accursed intellectuals who wield illegitimate power through the modern totalitarian State" and not "the accursed boffins in their ivory towers."

Pon makes three statements, and I agree with the first in principle (if I understand what he means), accept the second with qualification, and reject the third.

The state cannot--does he mean will not or should not?--leave us alone in deciding. Yes, that's why we have judges, lawyers, and trials by jury. By jury. That's the key point. The State administrates. The lawyers argue. The law guides. The jury decides.

There have to be rules. Yes, if by that you mean laws each of which is debated before being passed by a vote of our elected representatives. No, if you mean regulations drawn up by appointed committees after Congress has passed a "law" which is nothing but an unconstitutional delegation of power.

We have to find some basis. No, we don't, and anyway, good luck trying to find it.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Convention Grill

I just had supper, but thanks to Lileks, I'm hungry again.

Jay Leno

Scientists have confirmed they found the remains of Christopher Columbus, in a cathedral in Spain. As you know Columbus discovered America in 1492 looking for a western route to China and India. Do you know why he was looking for western route? This is true. To avoid Islamic extremists. Well thank God that problem is gone.

Lawsuit Bombs

John Stossel on the disastrous legacy of the first Bush administration:
Complicated laws like the ADA eventually hurt the people they were meant to help. The ADA has led many employers to avoid the disabled. One poll found that since the ADA was passed, the percentage of disabled men who were employed dropped. "Once you hire them, you can never fire them. They are lawsuit bombs," one employer said. "So we just tell them the job has been filled."

This unintended consequence of the ADA shouldn't have been a surprise. If you give some workers extra power to sue, those workers become potential "bombs," and some employers avoid them.

Politicians bragged that the ADA "fixed the discrimination problem." But what really happened is that lawyers got richer, and the disabled got fewer opportunities.

Just Venting

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Old Powell's

Regarding the post below, Greg writes:
I also read with interest the story about Michael Powell and his daughter. I met his old man when he was running the original Portland Powells, and recall him fondly. He was a gnarly little gnome with bad teeth, often sitting on a short stool amid heaps of books in a rathole used bookstore (across Burnside and down a couple blocks). What really endeared him to me was that, no matter how esoteric a request I'd put to him, he would just lift a finger and point to a shelf, and he'd be right.

Zeppelin Seeks Kalahari Diamonds

Mining Weekly:
Moonlight glistens off a huge zeppelin airship as it glides over Botswana's Kalahari desert.

High-tech sensors on board probe the arid sands below, looking for buried diamonds.

This is De Beers' latest tool in its search for gems in Botswana, the world's leading diamond producer by value....

As the airship floats 80 metres (262 ft) above the desert, the equipment pinpoints rock formations with lower density -- where "kimberlite pipes" with diamonds may be found.
Tommy Gold (ibid.) cites the kimberlite pipes as part of the evidence for his abiogenic petroleum theory.


Paul Johnson:
There's some tut-tutting going on in London over the Dr. Williams' Library's decision to sell its prize possession, an almost perfect First Folio of William Shakespeare's work. It is expected to fetch up to £3.5 million ($6.5 million) when Sotheby's auctions it on July 13....

I don't get worked up about the Folio. If I had one, I wouldn't know what to do with it, except gaze at it in awe and be terrified thieves would steal it. When I want to read Shakespeare, there are many more convenient texts. Scholars, of course, find work to do on this edition, but they can do it most comfortably at the British Library, the Bodleian, the Library of Congress or other similar caravanseries.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Sir David's Cool

David Handy blogged a little tidbit that led me to this article from The Times of London:
Smart drugs to make people think faster, improve their memory and reduce tiredness will be commonplace within 20 years, according to the government's chief scientific adviser.

Sir David King told ministers at a presentation in Downing Street that a new generation of "recreational psychoactive substances" could be given to healthy people to enhance their lives.
I had mentioned CX717 previously, but this article refers to Donepizil, also mentioned as an Alzheimer's treatment.

Lady Thatcher's Eulogy

Two years ago on Saturday June 5th, 2004, Ronald Reagan died. Margaret Thatcher spoke at the funeral.
As Prime Minister, I worked closely with Ronald Reagan for eight of the most important years of all our lives. We talked regularly, both before and after his presidency, and I've had time and cause to reflect on what made him a great president.

Ronald Reagan knew his own mind. He had firm principles and, I believe, right ones. He expounded them clearly. He acted upon them decisively. When the world threw problems at the White House, he was not baffled or disorientated or overwhelmed.

He knew almost instinctively what to do....
Worth reading in its entirety.

On doctor's advice Margaret Thatcher did not speak in person, but recorded the eulogy and delivered it by video (20 MB).

Powell's Successor Anointed

Well, he didn't acutally grease her up:
Founder Michael Powell, 65, recently announced he is handing the business over to his 27-year-old daughter Emily — renewing the commitment to keep Powell's an independent, family-run endeavor.
I almost bought a book from Powell's last weekend. But you have to buy $50 worth to get free shipping, their new books go for full retail, and Amazon had better prices on the out-of-print item.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Makes No Difference

Mark Steyn:
Anyone who supports the launching of a war should be clear-sighted enough to know that, when the troops go in, a few of them will kill civilians, bomb schools, torture prisoners. It happens in every war in human history, even the good ones. Individual Americans, Britons, Canadians, Australians did bad things in World War II and World War I. These aren't stunning surprises, they're inevitable: It might be a bombed mosque or a gunned-down pregnant woman or a slaughtered wedding party, but it will certainly be something. And, in the scales of history, it makes no difference to the justice of the cause and the need for victory.

July, 1950: First Launch

The Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the Bumper 2 "an ambitious two-stage rocket program that topped a V-2 missile base with a WAC Corporal rocket."

The Wikipedia article on the V-2 has this tidbit:
According to his book My Father's Son, Canadian author Farley Mowat, then a member of the Canadian Army, claims also to have stolen a V-2 rocket in 1945 and shipped it back to Canada, where it is alleged to have ended up in the National Exhibition grounds in Toronto.
My Father's Son, published in 1993, has gone out of print, but I found this contemporary interview with Farley Mowatt in CM Magazine.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

30K With Benefits, Uniform Allowance

Cougar hunting with hounds returns to Oregon this summer, but only for privileged classes. Private citizens can still hunt on their own property, although not with hounds, using household pets and small children as bait.

Killer Crater Found Under Ice

Ohio State University:
Planetary scientists have found evidence of a meteor impact much larger and earlier than the one that killed the dinosaurs -- an impact that they believe caused the biggest mass extinction in Earth's history.

The 300-mile-wide crater lies hidden more than a mile beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. And the gravity measurements that reveal its existence suggest that it could date back about 250 million years -- the time of the Permian-Triassic extinction, when almost all animal life on Earth died out.

Its size and location -- in the Wilkes Land region of East Antarctica, south of Australia -- also suggest that it could have begun the breakup of the Gondwana supercontinent by creating the tectonic rift that pushed Australia northward.
The meteor might have been six miles in diameter.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Summer Reading List

I always enjoy this time of year when every magazine invites their contributors to join in recommending books to take to the beach. Liberty, for instance, arrived in the mail today with a very nice list, some of which they have online.

Here are my own recommendations. Not the books I plan to read (some of those will turn out to be turkeys) but books I've already read, and re-read, over the last year or so. I'd be happy to loan them to you.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond

A short history of the last 13,000 years. I've read it twice. When I find time I'll read it again.

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker

A piece of furniture at the Psychology Department of Harvard University and a charter member of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists™, Steven Pinker knows a lot about most things and a more than a little about everything else. Intellectually, this book rocks.

The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels by Thomas Gold

I first read of maverick cosmologist Tommy Gold twenty years ago in The Atlantic Magazine, February 1986, which I have on my desk at this moment:
"The Origin of Petroleum" by David Osborne. If a controversial new theory is correct, the earth may contain a virtually inexhaustible supply of oil and gas. Huge reservoirs may exist where geologists have never thought to look.
This was his last book. Thomas Gold died in 2004.

The Outlaw Sea: A World of Freedom, Chaos, and Crime by William Langewiesche

The twenty-five mile limit is a formality. Ten miles out, you're over the horizon, off the radar screen, in a trackless void eight thousand miles across. In this series of essays William Langewiesche tells the story of the three-quarters of the globe which is beyond the effective control of any government.

I've mentioned this one before.

Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowatt

In 1963 Farley Mowatt set out to write a satire about bureaucratic and scientific buffoonery, which he has, but gradually found himself engrossed in a nobler, although originally a secondary, character: the wolf.
We emerged under the cloud at an altitude of something over thirty feet, and discovered we were flying up a mile-wide valley between high rocky hills, and over the surface of a frozen lake. Without an instant's hesitation the pilot landed... [but] did not cut the engines.

"This is it, chum," he said merrily. "Out you go now. Got to be quick. Be dark before we raise Churchill."
And so he found himself alone in the middle of a frozen lake at sunset, three hundred miles from nowhere, with nothing but a pile of scientific apparatus and government issue camping gear, and fifteen cases of Moose Brand beer.

The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck

In a prefatory note Steinbeck wrote:
Readers seeking to identify the fictional people and places here described would do better to inspect their own communities and search their own hearts, for this book is about a large part of America today.
Forty-five years later, even more so.

I've read half a dozen of Steinbeck's novels, including Tortilla Flat, Cannery Row, and The Grapes of Wrath. This is his best.

A History of the American People by Paul Johnson, author of Modern Times and A History of the Jews.

Half of everything you learned in school is wrong: the problem is you don't know which half.

Master historian Paul Johnson can help you sort it out.

Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey by David Horowitz

From Sunnyside to Berkeley to Hollywood, from editor of Ramparts magazine and friend of Huey Newton to recipient of Reagan's "Teach Freedom" award, former Sixties radical David Horowitz tells with eloquent simplicity his story--the straight truth.

I've mentioned him before.

When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan by Peggy Noonan

I've read a half dozen biographies of Reagan including his autobiography. This book I can recommend to everyone.

Startling Revelation

From the investigation of the Piper Dakota crash in New Jersey:
Paul Czysz, an aeronautical engineering professor at St. Louis University, said the debris shower suggested a structural or wing failure. "It sounds like the wings came off, which is not uncommon with an older airplane," he said.
Oh? How common is it?

The Right to Transfer II

Judge George Nielson heard the case yesterday in Crook County:
The case delves into whether land-use regulation waivers granted under the law can be passed on to subsequent property owners....

Right now, Crook County's ordinance allows property owners to transfer a waiver to subsequent owners as long as it is recorded in deed records, said Jeff Wilson, the attorney who is representing Crook County in the lawsuit.

But the state has held that waivers cannot be transferred under Measure 37 since the attorney general's office recommended against allowing the practice last year....
Expect a ruling in a month. Both sides expect it to be appealed.

For an academic opinion refer to a previous woof.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


A 13-year-old New Jersey girl making her fifth straight appearance at the Scripps National Spelling Bee rattled off "ursprache" to claim the title of America's best speller Thursday on prime-time television.

Katharine Close, an eighth-grader at the H.W. Mountz School in Spring Lake, N.J., is the first girl since 1999 to win the national spelling title. She stepped back from the microphone and put her hands to her mouth upon being declared the winner. She recognized the word as soon as she heard it.

"I couldn't believe it. I knew I knew how to spell the word and I was just in shock," said Katharine, who tied for seventh-place last year. "I couldn't believe I would win."...

Runner-up was Finola Mei Hwa Hackett, a 14-year-old Canadian, a confident speller during two days of competition who nonetheless stumbled on "weltschmerz."

Third-place went to Saryn Hooks, a 14-year-old from West Alexander Middle School in Taylorsville, N.C., who was disqualified earlier in the evening, then returned to competition after the judges corrected their mistake. Saryn fumbled on "icteritious," which means of a jaundiced color.

Together, Katharine and Finola dueled it out for seven rounds before Finola stumbled in the 19th round and Katharine was declared the winner in round 20.

A Well Regulated Militia,

being necessary to the security of a free State,
the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,
shall not be infringed.

But try carrying an unloaded shotgun on the street and we'll be all over your butt in a minute.

Ten Things You Can Do To Save The Planet

Via Pajamas Media, Iowahawk has a little list.

Peacekeepers In Darfur

Max Boot has a better idea.
Send a private army. A number of commercial security firms such as Blackwater USA are willing, for the right price, to send their own forces, made up in large part of veterans of Western militaries, to stop the genocide.

We know from experience that such private units would be far more effective than any U.N. peacekeepers. In the 1990s, the South African firm Executive Outcomes and the British firm Sandline made quick work of rebel movements in Angola and Sierra Leone. Critics complain that these mercenaries offered only a temporary respite from the violence, but that was all they were hired to do. Presumably longer-term contracts could create longer-term security, and at a fraction of the cost of a U.N. mission.
Sometimes you need professionals.

Reagan On The Rock

Now that Garrison Keillor's come out in favor of it, I think we've cleared the last hurdle.