Sunday, May 31, 2009

Not Mincing Words

BillH of Free In Idaho!
For those of you who avoid this issue, Tiller was one of the more notorious abortion providers baby killers in the country. His clinic has been bombed, he has been shot. He'd been in business since at least 1973. His notoriety stemmed in part from the fact that his was one of a very few clinics that provided late term abortions (past 21 weeks). I'm sorry people, the man was a murderer. No tears from me. Rapists, pedophiles, and abortion doctors... -spit-
Nicely punctuated, too.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Judge Sotomayor and Race

Tom Goldstein on SCOTUSBlog:
It seems to me that there is an infinitely simpler and more accurate way of figuring out whether Judge Sotomayor decides cases involving race fairly and dispassionately — read her decisions. So I did...
This is exactly why SCOTUSBlog is so valuable. Do you want to plow through all that?

Goldstein reports back:
Other than Ricci, Judge Sotomayor has decided 96 race-related cases while on the court of appeals.

Of the 96 cases, Judge Sotomayor and the panel rejected the claim of discrimination roughly 78 times and agreed with the claim of discrimination 10 times; the remaining 8 involved other kinds of claims or dispositions. Of the 10 cases favoring claims of discrimination, 9 were unanimous. (Many, by the way, were procedural victories rather than judgments that discrimination had occurred.) Of those 9, in 7, the unanimous panel included at least one Republican-appointed judge....

In sum, in an eleven-year career on the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor has participated in roughly 100 panel decisions involving questions of race and has disagreed with her colleagues in those cases (a fair measure of whether she is an outlier) a total of 4 times.... Given that record, it seems absurd to say that Judge Sotomayor allows race to infect her decisionmaking.
We'll just have to find some other reason to oppose her.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Shop Class as Soulcraft

Professor Reynolds and others have mentioned Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford. Christopher Orlet reviewed it in The American Spectator. It looks interesting in an ivory tower sort of way.

In the real world Ashland High School, blaming budget woes, wants to cut Auto Shop. A couple of students have got up a petition to save it. One of them, I'm proud to say, is my nephew, Aaron Pickering.

Ricci v. Sotomayor

Dr. Krauthammer agrees that this is the key issue.
When the hearings begin, Republicans should call Frank Ricci as their first witness. Democrats want justice rooted in empathy? Let Ricci tell his story, and let the American people judge whether his promotion should have been denied because of his skin color in a procedure Sotomayor joined in calling "facially race-neutral."

The Hoplophobe's Travel Guide

Thanks to Instapundit and a zillion other bloggers, the must-read of the week by David Kopel.
So starting in Manhattan, you can enjoy the entire Empire State, a large and interesting place. If you feel a desire to leave New York, be extremely careful about heading east. Going into Connecticut will immediately put you in a place where the government routinely issues carry permits to law-abiding, trained adults. In other words, Connecticut is just as dangerous as a National Park.

Vermont is even worse, with no permits even required for carrying concealed handguns. And everyone knows how dangerous Vermont is. New Hampshire and Maine are similar to Connecticut, and must be avoided.

Massachusetts is safe, as long as you cross directly into the state, without going through Connecticut. Rhode Island is good too, providing that you approach it via Massachusetts, or take a ferry from eastern Long Island. A trip through Connecticut would obviously be too risky.

New Jersey is the Hoplophobe's Garden State. Its licensing practices are much more severe than New York City's. In New Jersey, not even diamond merchants or celebrities can get carry permits.

From New Jersey, you must go south to Delaware. Do not even think of crossing into Pennsylvania. It is a Shall Issue state for carry licenses, similar to Maine or New Hampshire.

Maryland is also safe, and from there you can go to the District of Columbia, whose very strict gun laws have made it notoriously safe.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Still Subscribing? You Sucker!

Newspaper Death Watch:
It appears that some leading news titles are finally throwing in the towel on the circulation wars. The New York Times just announced that it will hike its single copy price to $2 on June 1, a 33% increase. Outside of the New York area, the Sunday Times will now cost a whopping seven dollars for home delivery. Several other papers have also increased prices recently, including the Washington Post, Tampa Tribune and Dallas Morning News....

What's going on? We suspect the publishers are finally beginning a sunsetting strategy for their print editions. By driving up circulation prices, they are effectively winnowing out their low-value customers. Price increases will probably come fast and furious in the future....

In effect, these newspapers are giving up on print. They are harvesting their most loyal readers and shifting their investments to new platforms....

Stasis: Ricci v. New Haven

Michael Barone on Ricci.
In this case, Sotomayor seemed to share the view of legal elites that racial preferences must be defended, even at the sacrifice of candor, against all attacks. But most Americans tend to agree with Martin Luther King that people should be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on this in June, probably just before Sotomayor's confirmation hearing. Is this an issue that Obama and the Democrats want to litigate in the court of public opinion?
My personal hunch is that this issue is Sotomayor's greatest liability. (Assuming, of course, that she's paid her taxes.)

Judging Judges

Some of the best columnists write for free. Here's neo-neocon on the "wise latina."
This statement alone ought to disqualify her from any consideration for a position on the Supreme Court, including clerk (although it won't). Why do I say this? It's not just the racism inherent in it, although that is bad enough. It is not even her idea that people's life experiences and even their ethnicity and gender sometimes do color their judgments; that observation is true. It is her idea that this sort of differential justice and judgment based on gender and ethnicity would be something to celebrate in a judge rather than to guard against and minimize.

Sotomayor has abandoned the idea that the possession of judicial wisdom is something that is—or should be—color and gender blind, that it ought to have a certain reality that transcends a judge's own personal history. In other words, she does not believe that those who dispense justice can be impartially and equally wise, and that wisdom is something separate from one's gender and ethnic identity.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

On Sotomayor

I haven't had time to catch up, but here's three to get you started.

The Wall Street Journal:
This isn't a jurisprudence that the Founders would recognize, but it is the creative view that has dominated the law schools since the 1970s and from which both the President and Judge Sotomayor emerged. In the President's now-famous word, judging should be shaped by "empathy" as much or more than by reason. In this sense, Judge Sotomayor would be a thoroughly modern Justice, one for whom the law is a voyage of personal identity.
W. James Antle, III:
Imagine the president nominated someone who helped bury the racial discrimination claims of 20 firefighters who say their city government tossed aside their promotional exam test results solely because they had the wrong color of skin. Imagine that a colleague of this judge -- a Hispanic jurist appointed by Bill Clinton -- found this decision a little mystifying.

Arguing for en banc and Supreme Court review of the above case, Jose Cabranes wrote, "this case presents a straight-forward question: May a municipal employer disregard the results of a qualifying examination, which was carefully constructed to ensure race-neutrality, on the ground that the results of that examination yielded too many qualified applicants of one race and not enough of another?"
Jennifer Rubin:
Conservatives are understandably chagrined at the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter. She is horrible on the Second Amendment. She is antagonistic toward business. And on it goes. But this, after all, is what one expects from a liberal Democratic president. What one shouldn't expect is a justice who doesn't believe in judging per se and, even more troubling, doesn't believe in racial equality, at least not as most Americans understand it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Cringe Begins


You might as well get used to the sound of her voice. This is what we have to look forward to during the news doldrums of August.

"Where policy is made." You're going to hear this line a thousand times.

I've added SCOTUSblog to the Daily Rounds.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Carina Nebula From Hubble

Today's APOD. Click the photo for the large version (4000 x 1937).

I know you expect more from this blog; I'm sorry. I've been very, very busy with my new hobby. Don't give up, though. As soon as I've finished cleaning the basement and getting everything set up I'll take you for a tour.

And coming up in a week or so: the fourth annual Summer Reading List. Oh boy. I feel like I'm back in grade school and I've got book reports to write. Nine of them, actually. I'll probably put it off until the night before it's due. But don't worry, I'll pull it off.

Friday, May 22, 2009

How did we survive?

Speaking of growing up in the sixties, if you haven't read it already, check out Doug Ross's essay How did we survive?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Big Brown Truck

Arrived today. "Santa in a brown suit" as someone called him, with all my toys in a box. Midway sent email Monday evening: your order has shipped! with a UPS tracking number. Expected delivery date, 05/27. OK, I have a week to clean the basement. No, it arrived today. UPS Ground, and it arrived in less than 60 hours.
    Lenexa, KS     5/19   12:24 A.M.  Origin scan     
5/19 3:58 A.M. Departure scan
Portland, OR 5/20 8:50 A.M. Arrival scan
5/20 5:53 P.M. Departure scan
Roseburg, OR 5/20 10:25 P.M. Arrival scan
5/20 11:25 P.M. Departure scan
Medford, OR 5/21 3:36 A.M. Arrival scan
5/21 3:37 A.M. Out for delivery
5/21 11:56 A.M. Delivery
I grew up in the sixties. Advertisements for mail order items always said "allow six to eight weeks for delivery" and it generally took that long. You sent in your six box tops and a check or money order fo $2.95, and then you learned patience, and the joys of delayed gratification. Not so anymore.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

But That Doesn't Rhyme

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Legal, Licensed, and Taxed

The National Review.
California is broke, and 56 percent of the state's residents want a marijuana tax to cover the budget shortfall. The math supporting this proposition is doobious: California suffers from excessive spending, not from insufficient taxation, and it is unlikely that a tax on marijuana, even a very high one, would be sufficient to repair the damage that Schwarzeneggerism has wrought. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat, has introduced a bill that would legalize marijuana in California and establish a regime of taxation and dealer-licensing, but it is estimated that this would raise only $1.3 billion a year. The belief that a marijuana tax is going to provide an easy fix to California's budget problems is a vapor.
They're not taking into account the boost in tourism.

I think it's a good idea. Marijuana cultivation and consumption has been legal for certain protected classes here in Oregon for some years now and we have yet to see mobs of stoned zombies ravaging the rural commons.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Not One Red Cent

Not One Red Cent intends to fight.
On May 12, 2009, The National Republican Senatorial Committee betrayed its mission, betrayed Republican voters, and betrayed the Reagan legacy.

The NRSC sided with an establishment candidate, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, in a Senate primary against young conservative leader, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio....

Do not give money to the NRSC. The current chairman, Sen. John Cornyn, must resign. His replacement must pledge to keep the committee neutral in contested primaries. Let Republican voters -- not party elites -- choose Republican candidates.

This is where the conservative grassroots rebellion begins. When the NRSC asks you for money, tell 'em:

NOT ONE RED CENT!
You can count on me. Right on. That's my kind of rebellion. Cheap and easy. Yeah!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rifle in one hand, laptop in the other.

The Christian Science Monitor reveals Cowboy Blob's secret identity.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Theodore Kulonzcynski

Ridicule can be a powerful weapon, but subtle snark warms my heart. OregonGuy takes the prize this week in referring to Oregon's "Governor Kulonzcynski."

If you didn't catch the ref, don't feel bad. It just means
  1. You're too young to remember this guy.
  2. You're not paying attention to Oregon politics.
Congratulations on both counts.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lyric

Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons
packed up and ready to go
Heard of some gravesites, out by the highway
a place where nobody knows
The sound of gunfire, off in the distance
I'm getting used to it now
Lived in a brownstone, lived in the ghetto
I've lived all over this town
Free In Idaho! wonders What Were They Thinking? (Study the video for clues.)

Side note: About this time in history (1979) they came to Eugene to do a concert and hired the company I worked for to do the stage lighting. Rock concerts at this time generally involved dozens of colored lights flickering on and off, carbon-arc follow spots, fog machines, pyrotechnics, mirrored balls, the kitchen sink. None of that for these guys. Their instructions were:
Sixteen pars (1000-watt spots) on each side, white; turn them on and leave them on.
We did. It was intense.

Two On The News Business

From The Economist.

Leader: The rebirth of news.
Briefing: Tossed by a gale.

There will be a quiz.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Live Free or Die

A lecture by Mark Steyn delivered at Hillsdale College on March 9, 2009.

I can't excerpt it. Read it all.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Double Nickel

I turned the speed limit today. Lucky for me they've raised the limit again.

That's a low-carb cheesecake with almond crust and raspberry topping. Proof, as if I needed it, that Leslie loves me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We Have Koi!

Leslie went to a Koi Club meeting last night and someone had donated a dozen fish for the club to auction. These are high-quality koi — they might go for up to $200 each in the big city. Leslie got them for much less. A real bargain, in fact.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Switched At Birth

It can happen. It did happen, fifty-six years ago, in Hepner, Oregon.
Only two babies were born at Heppner's Pioneer Memorial Hospital that spring day in 1953.

The two mothers took their little girls home, Kay Rene to Condon and DeeAnn to Fossil. The babies thrived in loving families. DeeAnn's family eventually moved to Portland.

More than five decades passed as the girls grew up, married, raised families and welcomed grandchildren.
And then, last year, they discovered the truth, and DNA tests proved it: They'd gone home with the wrong mothers.
"Does this mean I'm not invited to the family reunion?" DeeAnn joked.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Beautiful Photo

For a distressing story.
Rising tides and waves this week failed to free the sailing vessel New Hope, which ran aground off Gold Beach nearly a week ago and remained stranded on Friday....

The owner was sailing south from Seattle, Wash., to San Francisco early Saturday morning when his GPS equipment failed and he became confused in the fog. The boat ran ashore at 4:38 a.m. about a half-mile south of the mouth of the Rogue River, behind the Curry County fairgrounds.
A stroke of genius it was for photographer Bill Schlichting to shoot in black and white.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Safe Bet

Make mine a double.

Friday, May 08, 2009

New Age of Discovery

The Wall Street Journal
In a 21st-century version of the age of discovery, teams of computer scientists, conservationists and scholars are fanning out across the globe in a race to digitize crumbling literary treasures.

In the process, they're uncovering unexpected troves of new finds, including never-before-seen versions of the Christian Gospels, fragments of Greek poetry and commentaries on Aristotle. Improved technology is allowing researchers to scan ancient texts that were once unreadable -- blackened in fires or by chemical erosion, painted over or simply too fragile to unroll. Now, scholars are studying these works with X-ray fluorescence, multispectral imaging used by NASA to photograph Mars and CAT scans used by medical technicians.
In addition to the article, which is well worth reading, there's a sidebar full of links to online collections of ancient artifacts on the world wide web.

Spend a day at the museum. You don't even have to get out of bed.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Glowing Bears

IBD Editorials:
As oil prices rise again, the Guardian reports that Russia is planning a fleet of floating and submersible nuclear reactors to provide power for drilling and exploration for oil and natural gas in Arctic areas that Moscow claims as its own.

There is a triple irony here. The first is that it would be the Russians obeying the law of supply and demand. Then there's their "all of the above" approach to domestic energy needs, building nuclear reactors to power oil and gas rigs, neither of which we seem willing to do.

Environmentalists, of course, are not in love with either source of power and warn of the dangers of nuclear radiation and oil leaks. Not only might polar bears be killed, but they might glow in the dark afterward.

Flying with Guns

You could try to puzzle out the procedure by reading the airline's or the TSA's web site, or you could just ask Snowflakes in Hell. He's done it, and he knows how, and he explains it clearly. Bookmark him.

Run, Mitt, Run!


Thanks to local blogger Jim Wickre for spotting and posting this one.

Somali Bait

Oh, this is thrilling news.
The USNS Lewis and Clark was chased for about an hour on Wednesday morning by two pirates skiffs, but neither came closer than about one nautical mile to the U.S. vessel, the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet said in a statement.
Our navy was chased by pirates? What did it do, hike up its skirts and run?

As it turns out, the Lewis and Clark is a dry cargo/ammunition ship; in other words a nice fat rabbit with which to bait a trap. Only, apparently, there was no trap.

Who's running this circus?

Still, you'll be happy to know
...this new class of T-AKE ships was envisaged as the first Navy Environmentally Sound Ship of the 21st Century built with protection of the marine environment as a design objective.
Great. We've got a navy that protects the environment but can't protect itself.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Ammo Econ 102

A couple weeks back Tam gave four good reasons for the ammunition shortage. Grant Cunningham looks at a different aspect — Supply Chain Management.
Along comes a huge, sudden spike in demand. Retailers all over the country are suddenly swamped with ammunition purchases, and quickly call their suppliers to get more. The first few calls are rewarded with replacement stock, but soon the wholesaler's shelves are bare too — their entire year allotment of ammunition is gone in just a few days.

The wholesaler calls the maker, and the same thing happens: all of the suppliers are doubling (or more) orders to get their dealers restocked, and the manufacturer is quickly stripped of on-hand components as he tries to fill those orders.

The dealers are out, the wholesalers are out, and now the manufacturers are out. But it gets worse.

The makers of the priming compound, primer cups, brass, powder, jacket material, and lead are suddenly swamped with desperate pleas for more product, and they in turn contact the suppliers of the raw materials for more. The entire chain of supply is empty, and everyone has to wait while all of the raw materials are gathered.
Hat tip to Chas' Compilation.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Bajito Y Suavecito

In celebration of Quatro de Cinco de Hol' de Mayo, or whatever it is, Iowahawk has posted a fascinating and authoritative history of the low-rider.

The guy's a walking encyclopedia.

P.J. Down Under

P.J. O'Rourke gave a talk in Sydney last night.
America has wound up with a charming leftist as a president. And this scares me. This scares me not because I hate leftists. I don't. I have many charming leftist friends. They're lovely people — as long as they keep their nose out of things they don't understand. Such as making a living.

When charming leftists stick their nose into things they don't understand they become ratchet-jawed purveyors of monkey-doodle and baked wind. They are piddlers upon merit, beggars at the door of accomplishment, thieves of livelihood, envy coddling tax lice applauding themselves for giving away other people's money. They are the lap dogs of the poly sci-class, returning to the vomit of collectivism. They are pig herders tending that sow-who-eats-her-young, the welfare state. They are muck-dwelling bottom-feeders growing fat on the worries and disappointments of the electorate. They are the ditch carp of democracy.

And that's what one of their friends says.
He's giving another talk in Canberra tonight

Must-Read of the Day

William Tucker in The American Spectator.
In a front-page story last week, the Wall Street Journal summed up what has been floating around for more than a year (it's amazing how long it takes these things to reach the public consciousness) -- gas industry roustabouts, wildcatters and innovators in Texas and Louisiana have done it again. They have cracked into gas deposits previously locked up in shale formations and opened Saudi-Arabian-sized reserves. As the Journal summarized, "One industry-backed study estimates the U.S. has more than 2,200 trillion cubic feet of gas waiting to be pumped, enough to satisfy nearly 100 years of current U.S. natural gas demand."
I will link the WSJ article as soon as I find it.

Here it is.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Dumbing Down

Ballistic Deanimation has the job of administering tests to high-school students.
I get to the part about cheating, and I'm interrupted.

"We're not allowed to cheat?"

No, you aren't allowed to cheat.

We do everything in our power to keep you from cheating.

Here's another incentive... you haven't even graduated from high school, and I will have you expelled from your high school before you graduate, and expelled from the college system... so don't [fool] with me.

Deep calming breath, and away they go.

Til the first problem.

I hear an IM chime.

"Didn't I tell you guys I considered chatting equal to cheating..."

*giggles*

I find the culprit, issue my one and only warning for the day, and sit back down to *hopefully* catch up with my work email, for which nothing's been done since last Tuesday.

I notice one guy keeps eyeing me.

I look back to my laptop, then back up in time to see that I'm being watched by several students, waiting...

OK, [foolers]... go ahead...

Thirty minutes later, kids are starting to finish their exams. One of the guys that was watching me finishes at the exact same time as his neighbor... one does great, the other fails miserably...

"Oh, I failed to mention... the tests are randomized. Everyone gets different questions. Oops!"

The look on his face was priceless.
From his experience Mr. Deanimation draws the conclusion that today's high school students are dumb—and getting dumber.

Maybe. Or maybe they've been taught, for twelve years now, that playing dumb is a winning strategy. Maybe it was. It won't be much longer.

I've often suspected as much.

Study: Dog Food Tastes Just Like Pâté
Or is it the other way round?

Thanks to Taranto.

What Jack Kemp Accomplished

Fred Barnes on Jack Kemp:
Here are the four things I give Kemp credit for:
  1. Popularizing tax cuts as the best and most reliable way to spur economic growth and create jobs.
  2. Persuading Ronald Reagan to adopt a 30 percent reduction in individual income tax rates initially as the main domestic message of his campaign in 1980 and then as the top priority of his presidency.
  3. Transforming Republicans from an effete country-club party into a broad-based party with appeal to middle and working class voters.
  4. Making, along with Reagan, Republicans the optimistic, positive party of ideas.
That would be an impressive set of accomplishments for a president or a powerful senator. But Kemp managed this as a young House member in the 1970s who never rose to an official position of leadership in Congress. He did it by the power of relentless persuasion and the force of an overpowering personality.
I was ready to vote for Kemp in 1988. We got Bush instead.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Want

Good As New

Itoman, Japan:
Like former battlefields all over the world, the southern Japan island of Okinawa — home to more than 1 million people and the site of some of World War II's most savage fighting — is a tinderbox of unexploded bombs, thousands and thousands of tons of them, rusted and often half buried.

The bombs are the bane of construction crews, divers and unsuspecting children. Because of their age and the layers of crusty dirt that usually cover them, they often don't seem dangerous.

"On the outside, these bombs look harmless — but inside, they are as good as new," said Lt. Col. Hidenori Miyata, commander of the Japan Ground Self Defense Forces bomb squad on Okinawa.
No surprise, really. Ninety years on, they're still Digging Flanders Fields.

£20,000 For Feeding Birds

The country formerly known as "Great" Britain is in the news again.
Grandmother Ann Bell, 59, has left scraps of bread on her bird table every morning for the last 40 years.

But environmental health chiefs at Gloucester City Council claim her titbits are attracting rats and causing a public safety hazard.

She has been ordered to stop or be dragged into court to face enforcement action — and a possible £20,000 fine.
The very first commenter to the article explained it to us.
The rat problem has been caused by the local councils and water utilities abandoning decades of killing rats as a practice. It is scarcely fair to say it is caused by feeding the birds!

Carrel Boylan, R.I.P.

I mentioned Leslie's Uncle Carrel once before, when The Columbian interviewed him. The interview disappeared from their site shortly afterward, but I saved a copy of it here. Carrel was a veteran of World War II and spent the winter of 1944-45 in a German POW camp. He died on Friday at the age of 88.

Blogging May Resume Now

Google's Blogger software refused to publish via FTP (this only affects those of us who host our own blogs) from Friday morning all through Saturday. That's my excuse, anyway.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Good News!

Souter's retiring.

This will make it impossible for Obama to appoint a more liberal judge.

I should note that David Hardy saw this coming two weeks ago.