Friday, September 29, 2006

Dinner With the Stans

President Bush sat down with the presidents of the Afghanistan and Pakistan on Wednesday, and today he welcomes the president of Kazakhstan. Still up, I suppose, the presidents of Kyrgyz, Tajiki, Turkmeni, and Uzbeki. Stan, that is.

Nurse Bloomberg

Opinion Journal has some thoughts today on New York City's proposed ban on trans fats in city restaurants and chewing gum in class.

John Derbyshire considers that the battle in 2008 might come down to Hillary Clinton (D), Rudy Giuliani (R), and Michael Bloomberg (I), and tests the heft of a couple good-sized rhetorical rocks. Stand back and admire the work of a master.

Rediscovering Freedom

Michael Kinsley just wrote a piece for Time entitled Do Newspapers Have a Future?

Mark Judge answers him:
After Vietnam, Watergate and the sexual revolution, mainstream papers sank into the kind of cowardly, mirthless orthodoxy that Chesterton diagnosed. They became more and more hostile to religion, sustained debate, and conservatism. For a while, conservatives operated in the margins, at magazines like National Review, The American Spectator and the New Criterion. Then cable happened, and the internet, and talk radio expanded. Then there was Fox News. Now there is genuine freedom in the air, and more and more conservatives, knowing full well what is going to be in that mornings Washington Post and New York Times, call up the Drudge Report instead....

What we have today is a kind of rediscovery of the freedom enjoyed by Blatchford and Chesterton. It would have made a better and more honest piece had Kinsley (and Koppel) acknowledged that this kind of freedom once existed, and was strangled by the kind of liberals who edited and ran their pieces. Indeed, by them themselves.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Anthony Stockelman plead guilty to molesting and murdering 10 year old Katie Collman of Crothersville, Indiana. By so pleading he traded a death penalty for life in prison. A fellow inmate--and distant relative of Katie--found him there, and administered some additional punishment.

Jury Duty

Michael Barone spent the week on jury duty:
Around 2:55, one of the dissenting jurors made a motion with her hand and said she would change her vote. The other not-guilty voter signaled that he too had changed his vote. So now we had a unanimous verdict: guilty on all counts, at 2:59. We informed the court clerk, and court was reconvened at 3:30. In that small courtroom, you walk in directly under the gaze of the defendant and defense counsel, knowing that you have just made a decision that will surely send him to jail for a long time. It's a moment when you hope (or as one of the holdout jurors said, pray) that you have made the right decision.
It's rare that we get such an eloquent and thoughtful account of an everyday trial--worth reading in its entirety.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The iWoz

The Wall Street Journal talks with the other Steve.
In the mid-1970s, Steve Wozniak built the Apple I and then launched Apple Computer Inc. in 1976 with Steve Jobs. Now, Mr. Wozniak has written a memoir, "iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It." The book, co-written with Gina Smith, a journalist, and published by W.W. Norton & Co., explains how a super smart kid with a fondness for transistors and diodes transformed business and culture.

Mahmoud and Me

Hooman Majd in the New York Observer:
My father was an ambassador under the Shah, and I've spent most of my life in the U.S. After a career in the entertainment industry, I had written about President Khatami for U.S. publications and made contacts within his government. That experience, along with my credentials as an apparently trustworthy Iranian, led to my invitation to be Mr. Ahmadinejad's translator, and to attend some of his public pit stops, as well as an Iranian-only (and media-free) celebration at the Hilton. There, I thought, I'd glimpse the real Ahmadinejad.
Read it all. You've got time.

Urination Will Go To Committee

News from Norway:
The head of The Democrats Party, a splinter group of former Progress Party hardliners, Vidar Kleppe, is outraged that boys at Dvergsnes School in Kristiansand have to sit and pee....

"It is a human right not to have to sit down like a girl," Kleppe said.

Principal Anne Lise Gjul at Dvergsnes School would not comment on Kleppe's plans to make political waves and regretted if anyone was offended by the ban on standing and passing water.
No doubt we will append this to our ever-growing list of real or imagined childhood humiliations.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cooper In His Own Words

Joe Huffman has posted his entire collection of Jeff Cooper quotes.

Always Vote Against

Voting is what you do every two years—and then, mostly, repine, wondering whether democracy really does anything for you beyond giving that little throb of tactile pleasure in recording your enthusiasm for one candidate or—and this pleasure is very keen—your loathing for another candidate. That last is a vital contribution to democratic hygiene, effected by candidates who arouse every hate gland in your withered frame, thereby offering a pure draught of remedial youthful joy, and you leave the voting booth humming "John Brown's Body."
Back from vacation, ladies and gentlemen, may I present for your reading pleasure William F. Buckley Jr.

Irrational Fear

William Tucker in The American Spectator:
At extremely high doses—the kind you get from witnessing an atomic bomb explosion—radiation does cause cancer at predictable levels. For much smaller doses, however—the kind we experience from cosmic radiation or X-rays—there has never been any evidence of damaging effects. Instead, government regulators have assumed there is "no safe dose" of radiation, "just to be safe." As a result, we end up fretting over doses of 1 millirem per year—the amount you would get standing next to a nuclear reactor for a year—while we regularly absorb anywhere from 250 to 400 millirem from natural sources.
In fact, a little bit might just do you good.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Greek Reason and Islam

Michael Ledeen on NRO:
The combination of this crackpot toleration with a general contempt for religion made it difficult for us to comprehend the nature of the current war. Everyone from W. on down has been at great pains to assure us and themselves that we have no basic conflict with Islam, that our battle is with some lunatics who say falsely that they speak in the name of Islam. So we feel quite uncomfortable when the pope—quite deliberately—poses a question about Islam itself: Is it capable of responding to reason, or is it, as he put it, completely transcendent, beyond the reach of man, and hence unchallengeable by man under any circumstances?

It's a big question, not easily reduced to newspeak like "did the pope anticipate the reaction?" Or "did the pope go too far?" That sort of banter is embarrassingly silly. Of course the pope anticipated the reaction, he's one of the smartest and most learned men in the world, and he's spent a lot of time studying Islam. He wanted to draw a line....
Read the whole thing.

NYC Airshow

Greg forwarded to me an email chock full of pictures of "The Memorial Day Airshow at Jones Beach". Actually, he cleaned up the original, which had accrued 4MB of cruft, and just sent me the pictures. I'll make it even simpler: Here are all the pictures, and nothing but the pictures.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Operation Medusa

Opinion Journal:
In the war on terror, few battles are as clear and decisive as the one fought these last few weeks in southern Afghanistan. Six thousand Canadian, British, American and other NATO troops trounced resurgent Taliban fighters who dared to fight in the open. "Operation Medusa" dislodged insurgents from trenches and tunnels near Kandahar, killing a thousand or more....
A short article, worth reading in its entirety.

Okinawa Secured; Japanese Surrender

Victor Davis Hanson:
Today I finish the last class of a five-week course I taught this late summer at Hillsdale College on World War II. What is striking is the abrupt end of the war, whose last months nevertheless saw the worst American casualties in Europe of the entire struggle. 10,677 of our soldiers died in April 1945 alone, just a few days before the collapse of the Nazi regime—about the same number lost a year earlier during the month of June in the 1944 landings at Normandy and the slogging in the Hedgerows. Okinawa saw our worst casualties on the ground in the Pacific—and was declared secure only 6 weeks before the Japanese surrender. 1945 was far bloodier than 1939, a reminder that in the midst of a war daily losses are not necessarily a barometer of how close or far away is the end of the carnage. Ask the Red Army for whom the final siege of Berlin—361,367 Russian and Polish soldiers lost—may have been their worst single battle of their entire war, itself characterized by killing on a scale unimaginable in the West.

I don't know how close or far away we are in Iraq from securing a chance for Iraqi democracy to stabilize, but I do know—despite the recent spate of doom and gloom journalistic accounts—that, as in all wars, it is almost impossible to tell from the 24-hour pulse of the battlefield.
Professor Hanson, could you remind us once again what it was that induced the Japanese to surrender?

Assault on Garmser

The Telegraph:
Last week, 17 British soldiers, 10 Estonian infantrymen, 100 Afghan army and 100 Afghan police took part in a joint Nato operation to retake the dusty desert town of Garmser in southern Helmand. The town, which sits on the Helmand river, has fallen to the Taliban twice since July and is strategically important because it is the southern-most point of government control.

When the fighting finally finished earlier this week, the event merited a one-and-a-half line press release from the Afghan government: "Garmser retaken by Afghan police after five hours fighting."

That did little justice to what was actually an unrelenting six-day battle, as British journalists discovered when they accompanied the British Army unit during its assault on Garmser.
More pictures here.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mediocre Investment Value

Jacksonville, Oregon:
The owners of the Jeremiah Nunan House, also known as the "Catalog Home," are offering the landmark and its rich history to a new custodian for $2.7 million, they say....

The two-story Queen Anne at 635 Oregon St. was built in 1892 by Jeremiah Nunan. The wealthy Jacksonville merchant ordered the home as a Christmas gift for his wife, Delia. Created from a design in architect George F. Barber's Cottage Souvenir Catalog, the plan included 14 rooms. The house cost about $7,800 to build, says George Kramer, local historic preservation consultant.
Parlay $7,800 into $2.7 million? Not bad, you might say.

But that's just 5.26% compounded annually for 114 years--you'd have done better with stocks.

Re: Chavez's Speech

"We're not going to address that kind of comic strip approach to international affairs."

--John Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Varmint Hunting in Afghanistan

Via Carnival of Cordite #72, an entry from Cogito Ergo Geek, containing a little home movie:
These are some examples of the fight in Afghanistan... These video shots are not made through the shooter's telescopic sight... they are made looking through the spotter's scope. The spotter lies right next to the sniper and helps the sniper to find and home in on the target.

The sniper is using a 50 caliber rifle. A 50 cal. round is about 7-8 inches long and the casing is about an inch in diameter. The bullet itself is one-half inch in diameter and roughly one and one-half inches long. Pay close attention to the beginning of the video. A Taliban is laying on top of the peak in front of you... when you hear the! shot fired... watch what happens.
Cut to the chase: You can download the film here (2.32 mb WMV-format movie).

Gordon Loses Strength

Ponta Degada, Azores Islands:
Authorities in Portugal's Azores Islands said they received no reports of major damage or injury as weakened Hurricane Gordon passed the mid-Atlantic group of islands Tuesday night.

Gordon lost strength and veered slightly south as it approached the sparsely populated islands, bringing only light rain and a moderate wind, Ricardo Barros, vice president of the Azores Civil Protection Service, said.

"There's been nothing unusual so far," Barros said.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami discontinued its hurricane warning for most of the nine islands. It said Gordon was just barely a hurricane with top sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph). A storm is considered a hurricane with 74 mph (119 kph) winds.

The Civil Protection Service took most of its staff off standby but maintained its high alert status on two islands, Sao Miguel and Santa Maria.

Gordon was passing directly over Sao Miguel, the largest island with about 140,000 inhabitants, and close to Santa Maria, weather services said.

In Santa Maria, there was a power outage in some parts of the island and a few trees fell blocking some roads, Civil Protection said.
Well, that's something.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

You First!!!

(Click image for a more readable size.)

I'm with Winslow. When the therapeutic state dons rubber gloves in department stores, I shop elsewhere.

Gordon To Cross Azores

Straight from the National Hurricane Center:
A hurricane warning is in effect for all of the Azores islands. A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion....

At 200 pm AST...1800Z...the center of hurricane Gordon was located near latitude 37.8 north...longitude 34.0 west or about 380 miles...610 km...west of the island of Terceira in the Azores.

Gordon is moving toward on a general eastward track near 31 mph...50 km/hr...and this general motion is expected to continue during the next 24 hours. This track would bring Gordon across the Azores tonight.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 85 mph...140 km/hr...with higher gusts. However...stronger winds...especially in gusts...are likely over elevated terrain. Gordon is a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Gordon is expected to be a hurricane as it passes near or across the Azores islands.
It's the best I could do. There's not much else out here.

Beagle Crater on Mars

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day includes a link to a huge 360° panorama of the Martian landscape. Warning: close all windows and prepare for a massive download.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Leslie surprised me this evening with the news that she and Lizzie would like to take scuba diving lessons.

"I've always wanted to," she said.

"I didn't know that."

"There's a lot you don't know."

So I had to ask her, just to show that I know a little bit about everything if not much about anything, are you going to try rebreathing?

Uranium Boom

Ticaboo, Utah:
The last U.S. uranium mill ever built, in this parched landscape near Lake Powell, shut down almost as quickly as it started operating as nuclear power fell into disfavor about two decades ago....

Two decades later, the spot price for milled uranium yellowcake has jumped sharply to $52 a pound after bottoming out at $7 in 2001. Higher prices have motivated thousands to snatch up expired uranium claims and wildcatters to sink test drills in places where it's a good bet.
Good news all around. Clean, safe, and efficient, nuclear power creates no greenhouse gases and provides no oil revenues to Muslim despots.

She's Off!

Baikonur, Kazakhstan:
An Iranian-American telecommunications entrepreneur took off Monday on a Russian rocket bound for the international space station, achieving her dream of becoming the the world's first paying female space tourist.

Anousheh Ansari was accompanied by a U.S.-Russian crew on the Soyuz TMA-9 capsule, which entered orbit about 10 minutes after liftoff from the Russian cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Ansari reportedly paid $20 million to become the fourth private astronaut to take a trip on a Russian spacecraft and visit the station.
Mentioned previously.

Sourthern Oregon Sash

The Mail Tribune profiles Bob Tewksbury of Southern Oregon Sash and Woodworking. He builds wood windows the old fashioned way.

During our remodel, we've had many contractors and tradesmen work for us, but Bob's one of the few--almost the only--true craftsmen.

Profiling at the LA Times

Cyrus Nowrasteh wrote the script for "The Path to 9/11."
In July a reporter asked if I had ever been ethnically profiled. I happily replied, "No." I can no longer say that. The L.A. Times, for one, characterized me by race, religion, ethnicity, country-of-origin and political leanings--wrongly on four of five counts. To them I was an Iranian-American politically conservative Muslim. It is perhaps irrelevant in our brave new world of journalism that I was born in Boulder, Colo. I am not a Muslim or practitioner of any religion, nor am I a political conservative. What am I? I am, most devoutly, an American. I asked the reporter if this kind of labeling was a new policy for the paper. He had no response.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunset Over the Atlantic

Wait. Wouldn't that be sunrise? No, the sun's behind the photographer. These are anticrepuscular rays.

It's all very confusing if you haven't had your morning coffee. Brew a cup and read the Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Roseburg High?

The U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday it has shattered a drug operation that started among high school buddies in Roseburg 30 years ago and grew over the years to become an international operation that took in more than $20 million.

Eleven of the 12 people named in a federal indictment are in custody after arrests Wednesday in Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Idaho. Most are from Oregon....

Those detained Wednesday were
Kent Allen Jones, 51, Vancouver
Mark Daniel Kitzman, 49, Lake Oswego
Harold Carl Ballenger, 54, Bend
Jerod Lee Keyser, 31, Priest River, Idaho
Robert David Long, 52, Eugene
Mark M. Alders, 54, Lakeside
Damon John Marsh, 37, Portland
Mark William Pursley, 32, Vancouver
Dale Eugene Barker, 55, of Evergreen, Colo.
Gee, I don't recognize any of those names. But wait...

Prominent Roseburg defense attorney David Terry is under investigation by federal officials looking to link him with a syndicate accused of selling tens of millions of dollars of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.

Federal investigators served a warrant just after 7 a.m. Wednesday at Terry's office at 1228 S.E. Douglas Ave. They spent six hours looking through business, financial, property, personal and travel records, he said. They also left with data from four office computers.

"They didn't find anything incriminating at all," Terry said in a voice mail message left Friday for a reporter.
Of course I remember David Terry.

And thanks to The Lackidaisical Procrastinator for spotting this item.

Greg's Motherboard Replacement Project

Note the Lego® colors. This is what the ancient art of electronics has become. Brightly colored snap together plastic parts. Soldering iron? What the hell's a soldering iron?

But what amazes me is that a medical technologist--the last person in our family to get an email address--can do this in his spare time. I know that Luke Skywalker snapped together droids (using, apparently, an arc welder) on his uncle's farm. But that was science fiction. This is real.

Removing the old brain

CPU underside

Installing the brain

CPU installed

Heat sink and fan over CPU

Half a gig of RAM

Installing RAM

New MOBO with graphics card

New MOBO in place

Nerd in hog heaven

Lethal Passivity

Our Sunday Steyn:
Not a lot of specifics about the lost, and certainly not too many quotes from those final phone calls from the passengers to their families, like Peter Hanson's last words before Flight 175 hit the World Trade Center: "Don't worry, Dad. If it happens, it will be very fast." That might risk getting readers worked up, especially if they see the flight manifest:

"Peter Hanson, Massachusetts
"Susan Hanson, Massachusetts
"Christine Hanson, 2, Massachusetts"

No, best to stick to a limpidly fey, tastefully mopey, enervatedly passive prose style that suggests nothing very much can be done about the incomprehensible lost. This tasteful passivity is the default mode of the age: Five years ago it was striking, even in the immediate aftermath, how many radio and TV trailers for blood drives and other relief efforts could only bring themselves over the soupy music track to refer vaguely to "the tragic events," as if any formulation more robust might prove controversial.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Study: Neanderthals Unexpectedly Tenacious

NEW YORK, Sept. 14 (UPI):
A U.S.-led study suggests Neanderthals survived in Europe for several millennia after the arrival of modern humans.

The conclusion by Eric Delson of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and Clive Finlayson of the Gibraltar Museum stems from excavations of what apparently was the Neanderthals' last refuge, at the very southern tip of the European continent.

What The Bishop of Rome Said

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury of part of the dialogue carried on--perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara--by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than those of his Persian interlocutor....

In the seventh conversation, edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion." According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable....
So this guy, an intellectual, discussing a theological point, quotes from a history book a conversation that took place six hundred years ago. The words, most likely translated from Greek to Latin to German and now to English, are clearly not his, but the modern-day adherents of the religion of perpetual outrage scream, "He said that? Off with his head!"

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Things Worth Buying

West Marine's Classic Comfort Moc, currently going for $37.49. I just ordered my third pair. They last about two years. That's less than two dollars a month for something I wear every day.

First Runner-Up, Mangy

The slightly irreverent Radar Online magazine analyzes trends in congressional coifs and our own Senator Wyden does quite well in the "mangy hair" category.
Senator Wyden once taught gerontology, the study of the biological, psychological, and sociological phenomena associated with aging, so it's quite likely he considers his head a phenomenon. Good for him!
Some of the pictures accompanying this article are, frankly, frightening. I've seen more pleasant smiles in a police lineup.

Give It Back to the Indians

Roseburg, Oregon:
What if the largest property owner in your county suddenly decided he wasn't going to pay property taxes anymore?
Jim Peterson of the nonprofit Evergreen Foundation based in Bigfork, Montana says the culprit is the deadbeat federal government that has used every excuse it could find to stop harvesting timber from federal lands.

Solutions? Some crazy ideas are going around.
One--politically unfeasible--would have the federal government pay county property taxes on its holdings, just like private landowners do. Another--perhaps feasible--would give different conservation groups responsibility for managing portions of the national forest system. In a decade or so the public could compare the results and decide what they like best.

But the idea that turns the most heads calls for privatizing the national forest system--or simply giving it back to the Indians. This latter approach is surprisingly popular in parts of the West, where elegantly designed tribal forest management has moved light years beyond the disgrace that has befallen federal forestry.
Ms. Kittleman will have conniption fits.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Unusual Approach

John Derbyshire has a rather unusual approach to writing book reviews: first he reads the book.

Then he writes the review.

Odd, but it seems to work. In this case he reviews Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters by Robert Davis. Worth reading; the review anyway.

Give Them A Legal Market

Andrew Stuttaford:
Do I think there's a danger that the result of allowing Afghans to sell their opium to pharmaceutical companies will be to create an 'opium mountain' to rank with the produce mountains created by the EU's Common Agricultural Policy? I'd be very surprised, but even if it does, so what? Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, a little income support wouldn't hurt. In fact, it might well do some good.
Read the whole post.

Instapundit spotted it first, but it's a meme worth propagating.

Hurricane Gordon

Cute little guy, huh?

Accordiong to the National Hurricane Center, he ain't going nowhere.

Oh, well. There are other Gordons.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Space Cadet

Mahmoud's greatest fear is beautiful Persian women.

Beautiful, uppity Persian women.

Beautiful, uppity, rich Persian women.

Of course, she left Iran when she was eighteen. That place is a pit.

The Erring Ways of Climatology

Marcel Leroux:
The Fourth Report of the IPCC might just as well decree the suppression of all climatology textbooks, and replace them in our schools with press communiqués. ... Day after day, the same mantra -- that 'the Earth is warming up' -- is churned out in all its forms. As 'the ice melts' and 'sea level rises' the Apocalypse looms ever nearer! Without realizing it, or perhaps without wishing to, the average citizen in bamboozled, lobotomized' lulled into mindless acceptance. ... Non-believers in the greenhouse scenario are in the position of those long ago who doubted the existence of God ... fortunately for them, the Inquisition is no longer with us!
Hans H.J. Labohm reviews the book in TCS.

Meanwhile, global warming is such a pitiful bust we can't get a decent hurricane going.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Never Be Forgot

For a week afterward I woke every morning hoping it had all been a bad dream. Not until the Marines routed the Taliban from their caves in Tora Bora did I regain a sense of balance.

This war is different. The Germans, the Japanese, the Koreans, and the Vietnamese fought army against army. The Soviets may have had nuclear weapons but they were still members of Western Civilization. This enemy is from another world, another time. The parallel is not to World War II but to War of the Worlds. Unconditional surrender will not be sufficient. Islamic extremism must be rendered not quiescent but extinct.

Not "Antiwar" At All

Christopher Hitchens:
The time for commemoration lies very far in the future. War memorials are erected when the war is won. At the moment, anyone who insists on the primacy of September 11, 2001, is very likely to be accused--not just overseas but in this country also--of making or at least of implying a "partisan" point. I debate with the "antiwar" types almost every day, either in print or on the air or on the podium, and I can tell you that they have been "war-weary" ever since the sun first set on the wreckage of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and on the noble debris of United Airlines 93. These clever critics are waiting, some of them gleefully, for the moment that is not far off: the moment when the number of American casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq will match or exceed the number of civilians of all nationalities who were slaughtered five years ago today. But to the bored, cynical neutrals, it also comes naturally to say that it is "the war" that has taken, and is taking, the lives of tens of thousands of other civilians. In other words, homicidal nihilism is produced only by the resistance to it! If these hacks were honest, and conceded the simple truth that it is the forces of the Taliban and of al Qaeda in Mesopotamia that are conducting a Saturnalia of murder and destruction, they would have to hide their faces and admit that they were not "antiwar" at all.

Tropical Depression Seven

Embryonic hurricane Gordon has formed in the Bermuda Triangle and is heading straight for Washington. Keep your fingers crossed.

COC #71

Spank That Donkey this week hosts an illustrated Carnival of Cordite. Mostly safe for work, unless you work with liberals. Nothing's safe around them.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Salute the Cranberry

Seconds earlier she waved with wild abandon. Then a gust of wind tangled her up. She'll have it sorted out soon enough.

Naming the Enemy

James Taranto in Best of the Web (Friday):
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales visited our offices at The Wall Street Journal yesterday to discuss terrorism and other matters. At one point the discussion turned into something resembling a comedy sketch.

Gonzales said that the Justice Department was concerned with the problem of "radicalization" in American prisons, and a colleague of ours asked if he was referring to Islamic radicalization. Gonzales declined to characterize it in this way, noting that we are not at war with Islam. Our colleague persisted, and the attorney general allowed that "some" of the radicals are Muslim.

We asked if he could give us percentages, and he demurred. Then another colleague asked, "The ones who aren't Muslims--what are they?" Again, he didn't have an answer.

Are there non-Muslim radical groups active in U.S. prisons whose ideology the attorney general cannot remember?

Serving Size: Three Mice

The reader asks:
Our cat, Spencer, has been putting on weight. This morning I happened to look up just as the south end of a mouse was disappearing down his throat.

Now I'm wondering about his mouse snacks. How many calories are there in a mouse, and how much saturated fat?

-- Bill, Wagner Creek
And the Mail Tribune answers.

(Thanks to Greg)

With Her Bare Hands

Portland, Oregon:
A nurse returning home from work discovered an intruder armed with a hammer in her home and strangled him with her bare hands, police said.

Susan Kuhnhausen, 51, ran to a neighbour's house after the confrontation Wednesday night. Police found the body of Edward Haffey 59, a convicted felon with a long police record. Officer Katherine Kent said homicide detectives have determined that Kuhnhausen killed Haffey in self-defence....

Haffey, about 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, had convictions including conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, robbery, drug charges and possession of burglary tools. Neighbours said Kuhnhausen's size - 5-foot-7 and 260 pounds - may have given her an advantage.

"Everyone that I've talked to says 'Hurray for Susan,' said neighbour Annie Warnock, who called the police emergency dispatcher. "You didn't need to calm her. She's an emergency room nurse. She's used to dealing with crisis."
Smaller women in SE Portland are recommended to either bulk up or buy one of these.

Friday, September 08, 2006

What I Saw at the Devastation

Peggy Noonan has a column in this morning's Journal.

But I prefer this one from September 13, 2001. Worth reading again, and again.

Consciously Aware

Sharon Begley's Science Journal:
A new study promises, or threatens, to overturn medical dogma about what is happening in the minds and brains of at least some patients in such a state. It also raises new questions about the meaning of consciousness, one of the deepest mysteries in all of science.

Worth reading in its entirety.

And file this under "don't ever pull my plug."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Diplomacy and Restraint

Lileks imagines how it might have been.
After Sept. 11, 2001, no one thought five years would pass without additional attacks.

Everyone believed a vast and sinister hidden army would roll out the horrors — sacks of anthrax dumped into mall ventilation shafts, smallpox vials snapped open in every major city. It felt as if we'd spend the next year punching at shadows until we blew the Axis of Evil into cinders and settled back to enjoy the newly crimsoned sunsets. Or until we curled into a ball and asked them to stop kicking us.

But thanks to diplomacy and restraint, it all ended happily....

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

60th Annual Cranberry Festival

Schedule here. Why go anywhere else?

They Never Repeal

John Stossel:
Sometimes I think the type of people who run for office are the most dangerous people. Most of us want to run our own lives, or help people by offering them charity, or selling them things. The people who want to run other people's lives are... different. In pursuit of their vision of the perfect world, they justify even absurd restrictions on our freedom. For example:

In Belton, Mo., it is illegal to throw a snowball.

In New Jersey and Oregon, it is illegal to pump your own gas.

In Kern County, Calif., it is illegal to play bingo while drunk. In Illinois, it is against the law to hunt bullfrogs with a firearm.

In Massachusetts, it's illegal to deface a milk carton.

In Fairfax, Va., the use of pogo sticks is outlawed on city buses. In Palm Harbor, Fla., it is illegal to have an artificial lawn.

Some of these silly laws are old, but dumb as they are, they are still on the books. The bureaucrats' bad ideas never go away. They don't repeal old laws; they just pass new ones.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

John Lewis Gaddis

His latest, reviewed by Patrick J. Garrity:
"The Cold War: A New History" goes even further. Gaddis does not abandon his structuralist argument or withdraw the conclusion that the United States overreacted in 1949-1950. He also celebrates the fact that the Cold War did not turn hot. But as he now sees it, the stable Long Peace--especially as manifested in détente--actually proved to be unstable....

Sensing these deeper historical trends, a few great "actor-leaders" found ways to dramatize them to make the point that the Cold War need not last forever. For Gaddis the greatest actor-leader (literally) was Ronald Reagan. "Reagan was as skillful a politician as the nation had seen for many years, and one of its sharpest grand strategists ever," Gaddis writes. "His strength lay in his ability to see beyond complexity to simplicity. And what he saw was simply this: that because détente perpetuated--and had been meant to perpetuate--the Cold War, only killing détente could end the Cold War." Others joined Reagan on stage, even though they were not all reading from the same script--Pope John Paul II (himself an actor as a young man), Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, and Deng Xiaoping. Finally there was poor Mikhail Gorbachev--completely at a loss to understand what fundamental change truly meant for his Soviet Union but aware that things could not go on as they were and, to his everlasting credit, willing to eschew violence and accept the verdict of history. Reagan, through decidedly un-Kennanesque means, had found a way to transform the Soviet regime.
Dr. Frey recommended his earlier works but I never found time to read him. Maybe it's time now.

Harvest Moon Tonight

Wait a minute. That's not our moon! What did you say you're haversting? Methane and ammonia?

Today's APOD.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Who Owns What?

Who owns what in Jackson County?

Find out at the Jackson County Front Counter Application.

This is cool: click, zoom, select the tax lot, and there's the data.

Guntur and Maharani

Guntur and Maharani, two of three Sumatran tiger cubs born at the Smithsonian's National Zoo May 24, 2006, make their public debut. Guntur's a boy and Maharani's a girl. They also have a sister, Melati, who's camera shy.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Mexico to Canada

Sisters, Oregon:
Janet Zuelke's home just east of Sisters turned into an oasis for a pair of weary travelers last week.

Zuelke's daughter Laura Babcock and her trail companion Aaron Hirschman stopped there for two days rest on their quest to complete the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada by September 26.

The pair had already hiked 1,958 miles to Elk Lake, where they were picked up and ferried to Sisters - where a hot tub and some home-cooked food awaited.

After a hard-earned two days of rest on Wednesday and Thursday of last week, the pair re-embarked at Elk Lake on Friday to complete the last 705 miles of their journey.

"I love backpacking," Babcock said. "I graduated from college (Colorado State University in wildlife biology) in December, and I wanted to have a break before moving on to new things."

Babcock met Hirschman just seven miles into the trek and they hit it off. They've been traveling together ever since.
So marry her already.


...burned to the ground Saturday. The Medford Mail Tribune has the story and pictures.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Midair With No Casualties

Greg noted this amazing story:
A Hawker XP800 corporate jet flying about 300 mph at 16,000 feet near Reno, Nev., on Monday afternoon collided with a Schleicher sailplane. The collision damaged the nose and landing gear of the jet, but the crew was able to make a safe belly landing at Carson City. The pilot suffered minor injuries, but the co-pilot and three passengers were fine. Meanwhile, glider pilot Hirao Akihiro, 58, bailed out over the Pine Nut Mountains, landed safely, and hiked about three miles until rescuers found him about 6:45 p.m. Other than some cuts and bruises, he was unhurt. The wreckage of the glider has not been found.
Read it all.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Cougar Spotted

Our next-door neighbor Mike just came by to tell us that he and his dog Reece spotted a cougar crossing the road just a couple hundred yards from our house, headed up the mountain.

I plan to hike to the top tomorrow morning. The road's freshly graded and should take a good print, if the lion cares to make any.

Measure 37 Lawsuit

Developer Bob Hemstreet has filed suit against Yamhill County, alleging officials mishandled his Measure 37 claim on 852 acres of backwoods timberland. He is seeking either an order overturning the decision or awarding him $35 million in compensation.

The issue is how long the land, which Hemstreet wants to carve into homesites, has been in continuous ownership. That's because Measure 37 waives all land-use regulations enacted since the current owner took possession.

Hemstreet acquired the land in the 1950s and has been operating it as a tree farm ever since. However, in 1997, he transferred it to Lazy H Ranch, a limited liability corporation in which he and his wife, Mary, are principals.
The principle at stake here, of course, is the right to do as you please with your own property. The cold war against communist central planning continues. Give 'em hell, Bob.

Sleep In Late

Stephen Moore in Opinion Journal:
As a father of two teenage boys, I can attest to the fact that the single greatest teen crisis in America is not drugs, alcohol, smoking or early sexual activity, but sleep deprivation.
You might try going to bed earlier... Nah.

Virgil Aust used to tell his teenaged son as he left the house for a night of "catting" around, "Son, I'm concerned about you not getting enough sleep. So if you're not in bed by twelve... for God's sake come home."

Take The Day Off

The Daily Mirror:
BUSTER Martin was ordered to take today off work by his boss - to celebrate his HUNDREDTH birthday.

And the man thought to be Britain's oldest worker hopes to carry on until he is 125.

Buster planned to mark the milestone with a pint at his local but colleagues have arranged a VIP tour of Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium, where he will be presented with a shirt with "Buster 100" on the back.

He has already retired once - three years ago when he gave up working on market stalls. But after three months he got bored with "too much time on my hands". And at 97 he found a part-time job as mechanic and valeter, helping maintain 100 vans for a plumbing firm in Pimlico, London.

Buster said: "Boredom is a big killer. I went back to work as I like to keep active. If I didn't work I would become the most miserable sod you have ever come across so I don't want to stop working."