Friday, February 29, 2008

Two Things...

Just to clear my desk.

First, why does Finland have the smartest kids in the world despite the fact that they're overwhelmingly blonde?

Second, will Montana have no choice but to secede from the Union if Heller v D.C. doesn't go their way?

The Bernanke Reflation

In The Wall Street Journal:
For readers under age 30 who are wondering why they are suddenly paying $3.15 for gasoline and $2 for milk, the answer is that this is what an inflation looks like. Those of us of a certain age remember it well, if painfully, and judging by the noises coming from the Federal Reserve of late we had all better get used to it again.
Those who do not learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Big Fat Sacrilege

Nathalie Rothschild's on about something.
But what exactly did [Transport for London] see as potentially offensive in a comic image of a chubby man tied to a cross? Today, when the mullet is unfortunately back in fashion and when it's broadly considered rude to claim that being compared to blacks, gays or Chinese (and, in some circles, aliens) is an insult, what counts as really unacceptable when it comes to portraying Jesus Christ?

Well, the promoters of Fat Christ, who applied for five advertising spots in just one underground station, found out that drawing parallels between Jesus and unhealthy lifestyles is beyond the pale. Davis has said that the poster accurately reflects his play's content and theme and that he doesn't believe it to be blasphemous. Didn't he realise that simultaneously evoking the images of Jesus and all those anti-social slobs who are dragging down the National Health Service, supporting 'evil' fast-food outlets and fuelling the food industry's carbon footprint is pure sacrilege?
Kee-rist! Call that fat? I wish I was that fat.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cheap Easy Money

Gold for immediate delivery climbed $10.30, or 1.1 percent, to $958.45 an ounce as of 11:24 a.m. in London after earlier rising to a record $964.99.
David Ranson says inflation may be worse than we think.

And Holman Jenkins blames it on the housing bailout.

William F. Buckley Jr. R.I.P.

Age 82, in his study, while working.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Palin For Vice

Thomas Cheplick of The American Spectator has a suggestion for McCain's running mate: How about the governor of Alaska?

The Power of Words

Stephen F. Hayes in Opinion Journal.
Conservatives understood that this Reagan-as-a-simpleton view was a caricature (something made even clearer in several recent books, particularly Reagan's own diaries). That his opponents never got this is what led to their undoing. Those critics who giggled about his turn alongside a chimp were considerably less delighted when Reagan won 44 states and 489 electoral votes in November.

One Reagan adviser had predicted such a win shortly after Reagan had become the de facto nominee the previous spring. In a memo about the coming general election contest with Jimmy Carter, Richard Whalen wrote Reagan's "secret weapon" was that "Democrats fail to take him very seriously."

Are Republicans making the same mistake with Barack Obama?

This Day in History

On the morning of February 26, 1993, Islamic militants steered a nondescript Ryder van through the winding darkness of the parking garage under the World Trade Center. They had spent years planning this moment in secret meetings at mosques and jailhouses, in rural outposts that served as paramilitary camps, and in safehouses where explosive compounds were mixed in makeshift labs.
—Andrew C. McCarthy on NRO.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Japan's Pain

From The Economist:
Today, one-fifth of Japanese are over 65; by 2015 the proportion will grow to one in four, or about 30m. Now, with Japan's birth rate well below replacement, at 1.32, and with little immigration to speak of, the population of 127m has already started to shrink and will fall each year by about 0.6% over the next half-century. It is predicted to drop below 100m by mid-century. Already, rural regions are emptying, and the shutters are closing on the centres of more and more small towns.

Everybody's a Critic—Or Else.

A little snippet in the WSJ:
A few days after the film was released world-wide last month, Mr. Stallone reported that family members of two Burmese actors in the film had been arrested. The movie is banned from Burmese theaters and shopkeepers can be jailed for up to seven years for selling a copy of the DVD. Though this means there's no legal way to watch "Rambo" in Burma, last week the generals ordered all local media to run negative reviews of the movie.

Internet Wrecking Ball

Andy Kessler on Edward Markey's proposed Internet Freedom Preservation Act.
It's a bad idea because the only thing Mr. Markey's bill will preserve is mediocrity via the lack of competition, and full employment for regulators micromanaging a business whose very innovation comes from the lack of rules. With net neutrality, there will be no new competition and no incentives for build outs. Bandwidth speeds will stagnate, and new services will wither from bandwidth starvation.
Congress destroyed the railroads and now they would take the same approach to the Internet.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hewitt's Vision of Michelle

The right-wing blogoshpere, a group with which I am occasionally associated, went ballistic over some remarks Michelle Obama made during a stump speech.

I'm going to repeat those remarks. But unlike the others I'm not going to take them out of context. I'm not going to start the sound bite at 8:40 into the clip. I'm going to go back to 7:50 and give the the first fifty seconds of missing context:
He is ready. That is not the question. The question is what are we ready for? [applause] Wait, wait, wait... Because we say we're ready for change... We say we're ready for change but... the change is hard. Change will always be hard. And it doesn't happen from the top down. We do not get universal health care — we don't get better schools — because somebody else is in the White House. We get change because folks from the grass roots up decide they are sick and tired of other folks telling them how their lives will be. When they decide to roll up their sleevs and work.

And Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your division. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
That doesn't sound so bad, does it?

She wasn't saying they plan to ship us all off to re-education camps. She wasn't even talking to you, Hugh. She was addressing, as the context makes obvious, an audience, largely Black, of her supporters. And she was telling them that they had to work.

What's so bad about that? Isn't that what welfare reform was supposed to be about?

She was exhorting them to put aside cynicism, division, and isolation, and push themselves to be better.

Is there something wrong with that?

If you're opposed to universal health care why don't you attack that? Oh. That's kind of tough for Republicans, isn't it? If you think she's wrong about public schools why don't you point out why? Ooh. That's another tough one.

Maybe all you can do when you've wasted eight years trying to out-Democrat the Democrats with kinder gentler compassionate conservatism is to demonize the opposition. Maybe.

But it's not going to work this time. No one's listening any more.

Sell! Sell! Sell!

In the local fishwrap:
On the heels of Lithia Motors' first quarterly loss since offering public stock more than a decade ago and its stock plummeting 30 percent in one day to settle at a third of its value just one year ago, the Medford auto retailer's leader reaffirmed commitment to Medford's ambitious downtown rehabilitation project, The Commons.
I think it was Peter Lynch who once remarked that a good time to sell a company's stock was when it built its new corporate headquarters.

As a Jackson County taxpayer forced to pay for a portion of this monstrosity, it would give me great pleasure to escort this company all the way to the gates of hell.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Run That Okie Doke?

MSNBC says Obama was accused of being liberal last night and he said
There's nothing liberal about wanting to make sure that everybody has healthcare, but we are spending more on healthcare in this country than any other advanced country. We got more uninsured. There's nothing liberal about saying that doesn't make sense, and we should so something smarter with our health care system. Don't let them run that okie doke on you!
I believe that's s'pose' t' be spelt "okie dokie."

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Thesis Has Surfaced

Politico has it.

There's no smoking gun here, guys: It is well-written, moderate in tone, and completely unremarkable. I don't think it would hurt the campaign in any way if they posted it on their web site.

Update: Ann Althouse, substi-pundit, concurs.

Chuck Asay Nails It

The Flip Side of Goldwater

VDH in The Corner:
I think what we are watching in the Democratic primary is historic. First, there has not been a candidate nominated for President more liberal than Barack Obama since George McGovern — not Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, or Kerry. This is unapologetic liberalism in the classic European-socialist sense, and for the first time in many years we will see its envisioned agendas without Clintonian trimming or apologetics — the flip side of the purist Goldwater in 1964. Obama will put the best face on this ultra-liberalism and the voters can freely decide. A real cut-and-dry choice.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Obama's Huxtable Appeal

Daniel Henninger in The Wall Street Journal:
There is nothing complicated about his appeal to black voters. Why should there be? And the mists of "change" aside, are many whites, as some suggest, supporting him as a once-and-for-all exorcism of guilt? Maybe, but I think it has more to do with frustration across the political spectrum over the urban black status quo.

The prism through which I'd like to view Obama's appeal is Bill Cosby.

Cosby's TV show about the Huxtable family, from 1984 to 1992, wasn't just a sitcom. His "post-racial" middle-class Huxtables were an explicit attempt by him to stanch the downward pitch of black street culture. He lost.

In his current book, "Come On, People," written with psychiatrist Alvin Poussaint, Cosby lists the grim, by-now familiar data on the social pathologies of black males. As before, he hammers popular black culture:

"The Ku Klux Klan could not have devised a media culture as destructive." The famous Million Man March of 1995, Cosby says, didn't make a dent. "What do record producers think when they churn out that gangsta rap with anti-social, women-hating messages?" He said, " Martin and Malcolm and Medgar Evers must be turning over in their graves." For many, the pull and potency of this media-led downward mobility made it seem an impossible situation. The book is a self-help road map to going in another direction.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Trillion Dollars Worth Of Oil

But we can't get to it.
Suppose you had a ton of money sitting in your bank account but you decided to max out your credit cards anyway. That's the energy policy of the United States as fashioned by the Democrat-controlled Senate....

The heads-in-the-tundra crowd is led by Hillary Clinton. She has voted no fewer than nine times to block drilling in a tiny, frozen part of ANWR. Her husband first blocked ANWR development in 1995. After Hurricane Katrina disabled offshore oil platforms, revealing our energy vulnerability, Mrs. Clinton said: "It makes no sense to respond to a disaster in the Gulf by making a disaster in Alaska."

Never mind that the caribou and other critters have thrived despite drilling in Prudhoe Bay, which recently delivered its 15 billionth barrel of oil through the Alaska pipeline. Oil from ANWR could meet all of New York's petroleum needs for 34 years, yet the state's junior senator opposes getting it....

Barack Obama, who has voted twice against drilling in ANWR, has noted that a "large portion of the $800 million we spend on foreign oil every day goes to some of the world's most volatile regimes." Still, he says that "we cannot drill our way out of the problem." Call this the audacity of helplessness.
For a little background on just how unobtrusive the drilling could be, refer to The Atlantic, January 2001.

No, no. She's just resting...

Stephen Green:
Even with some massive cheating, Hillary needs to win both Ohio and Texas to stay alive. Right now, she might win both, but Texas is already looking shaky. We have yet to see how Obama's double wins today will change the polls in TX and OH, but don't expect another pair of losses to help Hill in either state.

And where does that leave Hillary? I've said it again and again for weeks now. Bar some miraculous rules-bending in Denver, Hillary Clinton is finished. She's lost. She won't be the nominee. The junior senator from New York is and will remain the junior senator from New York. She's joined the choir invisible.

This is an ex-campaign.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Down the Memory Hole

We sure don't want anybody reading that stupid thesis.

Roosevelt Republicans

Jason Atkinson supports the Climate Security Act.
"The bill provides the opportunity for our agencies to receive tremendous amounts of research dollars," he said. "As a Teddy Roosevelt Republican and a devoted conservationist, I know you have to have the sound research."
And lots of sound research dollars.

Interestingly enough, Pete DuPont in this morning's Wall Street Journal seems to think John McCain is a Roosevelt Republican too.

Well I'm not. I'm a Reagan Republican. Roosevelt was a Progressive. Back then that meant Liberal and I think it still does.

Don't Forget Iran

Christopher Hitchens writes a letter to the President:
A few months ago, it became possible to hear members and supporters of your administration going around Washington and saying that the question of a nuclear-armed Iran "would not be left to the next administration." As a line of the day, this had the advantage of sounding both determined and slightly mysterious, as if to commit both to everything and to nothing in particular.

That slight advantage has now, if you will permit me to say so, fallen victim to diminishing returns....

Monday, February 18, 2008

Java Master

Ha! A recruiter had me take an hour-long quiz today to assess my Jedi Java programming skills. Here's how I scored:

Weak areas: None noted. Ha!

Where Do I Get My News Now?


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Take A Penny, Leave A Penny

Just a reminder that you really should visit The People's Cube now and then.

It's for the good of the State!

Why Bother Voting?

The game is fixed.
Barack Obama's primary-night results were strikingly underrecorded in several districts around the city — in some cases leaving him with zero votes when, in fact, he had pulled in hundreds, the Board of Elections said yesterday.

Unofficial primary results gave Obama no votes in nearly 80 districts, including Harlem's 94th and other historically black areas — but many of those initial tallies proved to be wildly off the mark, the board said.

In some districts getting a recount, the senator from Illinois is even closer to defeating Hillary Clinton.

Initial results in the 94th, for example, showed a 141-0 sweep for Hillary Clinton, but the recount changed the tally to 261-136.

As yet, none of the results have been certified, but a ballot-by-ballot canvassing of all voting machines has begun, a board spokesperson said.

Brooklyn City Councilman Charles Barron called the understated figures "outrageous."

"I think this is an all-out effort to stop a campaign that is about to make history and render America's first black president," he said. "We need some kind of independent or federal agency to investigate this."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Vintage Cessna 140 Destroyed

I haven't blogged an airplane crash in quite a while.
It was after midnight that Edgington lost contact with the Rochester airport on his way from New Richmond, Wisconsin to Fulton, Missouri, with a planned stop in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Edgington had reportedly purchased the Cessna 140 in Wisconsin on Friday.

According to Sheriff Terese Amazi, in Edgington's wallet was a business card identifying him as a pilot for American Airlines.
This one's interesting because it follows a familiar theme: Airline pilot buys a small plane and, without all the bells and whistles he's used to, can't fly it.

Update: My facts were wrong.
Here's email I received this morning:
Just came across your Saturday blog while Googling for articles.

FYI, the pilot who crashed in Grand Meadow (who was a family friend, incidentally) had been flying small planes like that for years — had over 21,000 hours in the air, and had flown that type of plane many times before. Also, initial news articles had it wrong - he crashed about 1:09 PM Friday, not early Saturday morning as was initially reported - he left New Richmond about noon Friday. He would never have flown in that weather at night in that kind of plane. Very cautious pilot.

Most likely scenario is equipment failure or weather problem — FAA will be several months figuring things out so no one knows yet. Yeah, it could indeed have been pilot error, but it was certainly not inexperience in that plane that did him in.
I apologize.

Have They No Principles?

Michael Kinsley:
In its desperate hunger for victory at any cost, the Republican Party is on the verge of choosing a presidential candidate, John McCain, who is widely regarded (everywhere except inside the Republican Party itself) as honest, courageous, likable and intelligent.

Have they no shame?

More important: Have they no principles? In a properly functioning two-party democracy, each party is supposed to nominate a person whom members of the other party will detest. Ordinarily this is not a problem....
Great snark from the original wise guy. I remember him mostly from Firing Line.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Snow In San Diego

County, that is.
A surprise storm delivered rain and snow to the county yesterday, causing mudslides and road closures and stranding hundreds of motorists on Interstate 8 through the mountains, sending many to shelter at the Golden Acorn Casino....

More than 500 vehicles were stranded on I-8 during the storm, according to California Highway Patrol estimates, Fire Prevention Chief Jim Garrett said.

One person in the Descanso area was taken to a hospital with hypothermia, Cal Fire Capt. Darrin said.

Howell said there was a foot of snow in some areas, and rescuers used fire engines with chains and four-wheel-drive vehicles to reach motorists.
I blame global warming.

Forgetting the Late Unpleasantness

Paris (Reuters):
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, facing a tide of criticism over his call for schoolchildren to "adopt" Jewish child victims of the Holocaust, hit back on Friday saying France had to raise children "with open eyes".

In a speech praising faith that also drew fire from secularists, Sarkozy told France's Jewish community on Wednesday that every 10-year-old schoolchild should be "entrusted with the memory of a French child victim of the Holocaust".

The proposal unleashed a storm of protest from teachers, psychologists and his political foes who said it would unfairly burden children with the guilt of previous generations and some could be traumatized by identifying with a Holocaust victim.

Hope For Sale

Doctor Krauthammer:
There's no better path to success than getting people to buy a free commodity. Like the genius who figured out how to get people to pay for water: bottle it (Aquafina was revealed to be nothing more than reprocessed tap water) and charge more than they pay for gasoline. Or consider how Google found a way to sell dictionary nouns — boat, shoe, clock — by charging advertisers zillions to be listed whenever the word is searched.

And now, in the most amazing trick of all, a silver-tongued freshman senator has found a way to sell hope. To get it, you need only give him your vote. Barack Obama is getting millions.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stripped of the Fying Surfboard

Daniel Henninger:
Listen closely to that Tuesday night Wisconsin speech. Unhinge yourself from the mesmerizing voice. What one hears is a message that is largely negative, illustrated with anecdotes of unremitting bleakness. Heavy with class warfare, it is a speech that could have been delivered by a Democrat in 1968, or even 1928.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pro And Con

Side-by-side columns with links to the latest rants and raves. If it works, I could see adapting this format to other debates.

Cruel Math Tricks

Last week I purchased a burger at the local Chew-'n'-Choke for $1.58. The counter girl took my $2 while I dug a bit for some coinage, then pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking at the screen on her register. I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried.
Via Professor Reynolds.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I like Drudge's summary best:
In the Chesapeake Rout, according to exit polls in Maryland, Obama won:
Latino Voters By Six Points: 53-47
All Religions (Including Catholics)
All Age Groups (Including Seniors)
All Regions
All Education Levels
Of course, those were Democrat Latinos, religions, ages, regions, educations, and womens. Non-Democrats of those various genera (and I guarantee you there are some) may vote a little differently this fall, assuming they have an alternative.

Voting Online

Via the New Republic:
Right now, thousands of Democrats living abroad are voting online, using a secure website with a personalized 10-digit individual ballot number to log their choices for this year's presidential candidate. Organized by Democrats Abroad, the official overseas arm of the party, this first-ever online "Global Primary" will elect 22 delegates, just one less than North Dakota.
I didn't know that.

By the way, "personalized 10-digit individual ballot number" certainly sounds more secure than "personalized made-up email address." Sounds more secure, sure, but I rather doubt that it is. Sign up here.

Canadian Healthcare

I'm your doctor and I'll kill you if I want to.
Golubchuk's doctors informed his children that their 84-year-old father is "in the process of dying" and that they intended to hasten the process by removing his ventilation, and if that proved insufficient to kill him quickly, to also remove his feeding tube. In the event that the patient showed discomfort during these procedures, the chief of the hospital's ICU unit stated in his affidavit that he would administer morphine.

Golubchuk is an Orthodox Jew, as are his children. The latter have adamantly opposed his removal from the ventilator and feeding tube, on the grounds that Jewish law expressly forbids any action designed to shorten life, and that if their father could express his wishes, he would oppose the doctors acting to deliberately terminate his life.

In response, the director of the ICU informed Golubchuk's children that neither their father's wishes nor their own are relevant, and he would do whatever he decided was appropriate.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A 50-50 Party

Robert Novak:
The next three weeks belong to Obama, with nearly all 11 delegations to be selected in his favor, culminating in Wisconsin on Feb. 19. Clinton's strategists spread the word not to worry because of Texas and Ohio, two big states presumably favorable to Clinton, on March 4. With its large Hispanic vote, Texas looks good for Clinton, and Ohio less certain.

But proportional representation rears its head. Obama strategists privately concede probable defeat in those two big states but losing their delegate competition by only 174 to 160, a pitifully small margin of 14. The Obama team's calculation after all the primaries shows Obama with 1,647 delegates and Clinton 1,580 -- both short of 2,025 needed for nomination. (This confidential information was accidentally e-mailed to Bloomberg News, which published it.) The issue could be settled by unelected, unpledged super-delegates, or a credentials fight over Florida and Michigan, who were stripped of delegates for scheduling their primaries too early.
Via Michael Weiss of the Pajamas Media.

Armed Gang from a Museum

Sky News:
Paintings by some of the world's most famous artists have been stolen by an armed gang from a museum in Zurich.
It's a sad day for Art when museums start fielding their own armed gangs. Of course, maybe that's not what the journalist meant.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mystery Shipwreck

The people of Coos Bay are enjoying the mystery of the wreck unearthed by the recent storms. Gallery of photos here.

From Panic to Crisis

The Telegraph this morning:
Mr Obama won yesterday's primary elections held in Washington state and Nebraska, and is expected to do well in Louisiana.

He is also favourite to sweep Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC, which all vote on Tuesday, as well as Wisconsin and Hawaii, where he once lived, on February 19.

Only in Maine is Mrs Clinton confident...
The Telegraph tonight:
Barack Obama won the Maine caucuses Sunday night, completing a weekend clean sweep of four states and plunging his rival Hillary Clinton's White House bid into deep trouble after her campaign manager stepped down.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Back When There Were Adults

Interesting tidbit from the local fishwrap:
Thirteen-year-old Joe Kidwell was strolling to Pinehurst School one day in 1945 when he heard a sound similar to a baby crying, the telltale signs of a nearby cougar.

For the next four days, Kidwell slung a .30-30 rifle on his shoulder to protect himself during his walk to school.

When he arrived in the little red schoolhouse at the Greensprings summit, "nothing was said," Kidwell recounted Thursday during an interview with Pinehurst students. "I just put it in that closet."

Against Happiness

Colin McGinn reviews the book by Eric G. Wilson, who takes on the Utilitarians.
These are the positive thinkers, in Mr. Wilson's taxonomy, the see-no-evil optimists, the consumers and users of a world conceived instrumentally. Deep down they are hurting, like the rest of us, but the ideology of constant happiness has them in its grip. They pop pills, read self-help manuals, gorge themselves on feel-good TV and comfort food — all to avoid the blues that are an inevitable part of the human condition.

On the opposite side, Mr. Wilson says, we have the natural sufferers, their somber faces downcast. Their traits are these: sadness, dejection, questioning, restlessness, honesty, depth, pessimism, tragedy, complexity, vitality and a grasp of reality. Confessing his own melancholic temperament, Mr. Wilson hymns the virtues of misery, invoking such fellow sad sacks as Keats, Melville, Coleridge, van Gogh, Beethoven, John Lennon, Rothko and Cary Grant...
Honesty, depth, and a grasp of reality. How depressing.

Can Mrs. Clinton Lose?

Peggy Noonan asks. Or rather, more to the point, Can she lose with grace?

Thursday, February 07, 2008


John Heilemann has some numbers. I like this one:
Nine. That's the number of races on the calendar between now and the end of February. Of them, four are caucuses (Nebraska, Washington, Maine, and Hawaii), four are primaries with a large percentage of African-American voters (Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and D.C.), and one is the primary in Wisconsin, a state with a long tradition of pragmatic progressivism and a bent toward retail politics. All of which is to say that there's a reasonable chance that nine is also the number of races in a row that Clinton will lose before we get to Ohio and Texas, where she is favored. And if that's the case, the momentum accruing to Obama may prove overwhelming.

A Disaster Either Way

Ann Coulter explains her reasoning.
If Hillary is elected president, we'll have a four-year disaster, with Republicans ferociously opposing her, followed by Republicans zooming back into power, as we did in 1980 and 1994, and 2000....

If McCain is elected president, we'll have a four-year disaster, with the Republicans in Congress co-opted by "our" president, followed by 30 years of Democratic rule.

Borne On Strong West Winds

The discussion this morning was almost poetic.
A cold front, borne on strong west to northwest winds aloft, is now moving onshore and will proceed rapidly through the forecast area. Winds have kicked up along the coast and over the ridgetops, but thus far reported precipitation has been minimal....

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Yum, Fish!

A little delicacy from the PRC.

Sometimes your food is so strange you have to take a picture before you eat it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Super Tuesday Bowl

Michael Barone posted a Super Tuesday Guide (part two here).

John Tierney posted on Science for Super Tuesday, looking at the Intrade futures markets and calling them science.

They're not. It's more like a Keynesian beauty contest.
It is not a case of choosing those which, to the best of one's judgment, are really the prettiest, nor even those which average opinion genuinely thinks the prettiest. We have reached the third degree where we devote our intelligences to anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be. And there are some, I believe, who practise the fourth, fifth and higher degrees.
—John Maynard Keynes
For real political junkies, the most up-to-the-minute feed comes from The Corner.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Elements of Modern Style

Rules of Usage

1. Form the plural of common nouns by adding 's.
Follow this rule whatever anybody says. So write,
Radish's 39¢/lb
Gun's for sale
Send two bus's
Form the possessive singular of nouns by simply adding s
Cristals car rocks
My pistols trigger sux
Jimmys gone for takeout
The possissive plural may present a problem. Use additional apostrophes
In the girl's's bathroom
2. Use a comma wherever you might have to pause and think.
For instance between the subject and the predicate
The reason I asked, is none of ur bizness.
Gold silver or copper, costs alot.
Gentlemen, dont spit.
And between thoughts
I dont think so, were broke.
3. Enclose parenthetic phrases in parentheses.
You might prefer to use dashes. As a last resort, commas will do.
So I told him (like I told him a hunnerd times already) Im not watching no more Bruce Willits movies — thats when he got all pissy — and whats more, I said this (I really did), I aint washing your dam sock's (either).
4. They're, there, and their are three ways of spelling the same word.
Use them interchangeably.
There going to hurt they're selfs going in their.
Their their don't worry.
They're there already, they're.
5. Your and you're are common mis-spellings for the word ur.
Were in ur prose stealin ur verbz.
6. When to use it's and its.
Who knows? It's confusing. That's what you get for using words of indeterminate gender.
Its a shame it's pants got lost.
7. The number of the subject determines the number of the verb.
Count on your fingers if you have to.
Celeste like most Republicans are stupid.
Elementary Principles of Composition

8. Choose a suitable attitude and stick with it.
Are you asking for a raise? You've got to suck up start to finish. Are you telling them where it's at? Tell them where they can put it too. Good writing cops an attitude and doesn't let up. Give it to them both barrels: pedal to the metal. Use whatever it takes — underlines, all caps, exclamation marks, red crayons if you need them. Writing good stuff is hard. Don't make it any easier on the reader.

9. Make the paragraph the unit of construction.
In olden times a paragraph introduced an idea, developed it, and summed it up. These days that generally happens in the space of a single sentence. Consider modern journalism:
A gunman fatally shot five women in a robbery at a store in a suburban strip mall before fleeing Saturday.

The victims including at least one employee was killed at a Lady Brillant clothing store in Brookdale Market.

Officers found the victims at the back of the store after getting a 911 around 10:45.

Authorities said robbery was believe to be the motive.
Paragraphs are great. The more the better.

10. Use the passive voice unless you really want to sound agressive.
In modern expository writing some form of the verb to be (is , am, was, were, be, been, etc.) appears in over 60% of all sentences. In academic writing the figure approaches 95%. There is a reson for that.
A. Avoiding the blame: Mistakes were made.
B. Bringing the past alive: The year is 1066.
C. Saying otherwise impossible things: Elmer's glue is delicious.
Verbs are tough to think up. Is is the all-purpose one.

A Few Matters of Form

Spelling. Don't get all hung up over it.
There's more than won way to spell a wird, an more 'r' being invented evry day. Try something diffrent for a change.
Capitalization. Using the shift key is a royal pain and besides it sounds conceited.
i dont capitalize my name, why should you? who do you think you are, God?
All caps. For extra emphasis use the Caps Lock key.
Nothing says Nigerian email like it either. But be careful with the Shift key.
He thought it was funny and computers have been doing it ever since.

Words and Expressions Commonly Misused

Affect. Effect. Often confusing.
The movie's special affects really effected me.
Duh! Archaic. Prefer D'oh.

No-brainer. Does not mean a stupid decision; rather it means a decision so simple you don't need to use your brain. Like whether to use a dictionary.

Principle. Principal. Pronounced identically, and therefore interchangeable.
High school principles got no principals.
Trust me. Means don't.

An Approach to Style

"Full of his beliefs, sustained and elevated by the power of his purpose, armed with the rules of grammar, the writer is ready for exposure."

Yeah yeah whatever. Yada yada, blah blah blah. You want exposure?

Try the comments section of any popular blog.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Limitless Stores of Energy

Rogue Pundit this morning had a post on Fossil-less Fuels, abiogenic petroleum, and new research published this week in Science Magazine.

New research perhaps but an old theory, as the cover of the February 1986 cover of The Atlantic above attests.

Like most believers in improbable theories, I feel some frustration that this meme can't seem to get any traction. I've been nattering on about it for years, most recently here, here, and here. Maybe Rogue Pundit, who has a larger audience than Zeta Woof, can give it a boost.

Having Fun With Commenters

This is almost sadistic:
One sad little nut comments over and over, with the full knowledge that his comments will be deleted. He thinks I see the comments, and that they make me cry. Unfortunately, he does not realize that I only see a few words in the Haloscan approval window. So I have no idea what he has been trying to tell me.

It's a wonderfully asymmetrical situation. He reads absolutely everything I write about Pulitzer Prize Nominee Jonah Goldberg, but I have no idea what he says about me. It's a good system. I like it.
Via Instapundit.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Beauty: Supply and Demand

Via Marginal Revolution, who linked to The Economist, who linked to the original article by Anne Applebaum, an argument from economics and evolutionary psychology that crass capitalism produces beauty and talent.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Working On My Tan

Got the axe yesterday. No surprise, really. It was a waste of my time trying to fix their code.

Oh, well.

I have an interview Monday.