Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Friday, July 31, 2009

Meanwhile Over At Justice

While Barack Obama has his "teachable moments" with wayward police officers, Eric Holder has decided to let the Black Panthers who threatened voters and brandished weapons at a polling place on election day off the hook...after the Justice Department had already won it's case. It's a good thing they didn't ask a black man to show ID, or they might have really been in trouble!

Here's video of the men.

John Stewart's Take On Gates Issue

Leave it to the fake news to get it right...

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Even Worse

I thought Bud Light was the worst of it, but apparently Barack Obama is pushing for America to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022. If we have to adopt a European sport, can't we go with rugby?

Fresh In From The Department Of Stupid Conclusions

Health insurance makes you fatter. Researchers at Stanford, University College London and RAND have come to that brilliant conclusion, by looking at BMI's of people with and without insurance. If a blogger with no degree in any relevant field can immediately come up with three or more flaws in your reasoning, chances are, your study is stupid. Let's apply the test:

1. Europeans are generally thinner than Americans, yet America has no nationalized health care while European nations generally do.
2. Younger people are less likely to be fat, and also less likely to have insurance.
3. Obesity and poverty are linked, and our poorest citizens have access to Medicaid, SCHIP, etc. that actually makes them more likely to be insured than lower-middle-class people.
4. White collar jobs (i.e. sedentary jobs) are more likely to offer insurance than jobs that keep people physically active.

Anyone else got any ideas?

Be A Man, Serve Scotch

Apparently, our president drinks wuss beer. I've got to say, I really enjoy Sam Adams beer, so I like the suggestion from Congressman Neal. (Although, in all fairness, I also enjoyed Red Stripe when I was in Jamaica.) But the real issue here seems to be the fact that our president drinks Bud Light. Sure it's popular. In fact, it's the best-selling beer in America. But let's face it, that's because we stock it for beer pong and for our girlfriends and wives. Do you really believe that George Washington, were he to show up in modern America, would sidle up to the bar and order a Bud Light? More likely, he'd want some of this. Every terrorist and two-bit dictator who finds out that our president drinks light beer is now going to be emboldened to strike at us. President Obama, haven't you spent enough time proving your wussiness to the world already?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

There Is No Debate On Global Warming

Except when there is.

The point of posting this article is not to say that everyone should suddenly accept that all the temperature increases of the past few decades are based on ocean patterns. I don't believe that any more than I believe they should suddenly drink the global warming Kool-Aid. The point is just to emphasize the fact that the science is not settled, as Al Gore says. Richard Lindzen, Freeman Dyson, Ian Plimer, and many other brilliant scientists are not to be dismissed just because the former Veep says so. If the costs of wrongly believing that global warming is occurring are nearly as high as the costs of wrongly denying it, shouldn't we take a deep breath or two before destroying economies and condemning the poor in the third world to a continued life of poverty?

And How Many Terrorists Exactly Have You Met?

”If he’s a terrorist, he’s the nicest terrorist I ever met in my life. I don’t think he is,” said Charles Casale, 46, a neighbor in Willow Spring.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two Random And Completely Unrelated Incidents

Tonight, as I was walking my dogs, a snake slithered out of a field onto the sidewalk in front of us. I am terrified of snakes. Blind, irrational, fear. I consider myself a fairly brave guy. I've gone rock climbing and rappelling, broken up a dog fight, backed down two guys who got in my face in a parking garage, etc. I'm no John Wayne, but for the most part, I'm confident in my ability to overcome and control my fear. Not so with snakes. It is, to the best of my knowledge, the only irrational fear I have.

After I managed to get around him (by waiting for him to crawl off the sidewalk and into the street), I continued with the walk. As I did, I saw a car coming. It was in the lane currently occupied by the snake. Suddenly, I found myself feeling concern and pity for the snake. I actually stayed to watch what would happen, because I knew that if I didn't, I'd be concerned for the snake all night. Fortunately, the car missed it. (I've never seen an animal about-face and get off the road as quickly as that snake did when the car whizzed by!) I found myself weirdly puzzled by my concern for an animal that scares the living daylights out of me. Had I found the thing in my yard, I would have unhesitatingly beaten it into oblivion with a shovel while screaming like a girl. Life is funny.

The other incident occurred last night. I was watching a History Channel documentary on Hannibal. As with most History Channel documentaries, it had poorly done and unintentionally comical re-enactments to illustrate the various events the show discussed. But here's the problem. The actor playing Hannibal was black. Carthage may be in Africa, but it was a Phoenician colony. The Phoenicians came from the northern part of Palestine. As I understand it, Hannibal would have been Middle Eastern (to the extent that modern ethnic divisions are transferable to that era). Later, the documentary referred to Hasdrubal as Hannibal's older brother. In fact, Hannibal was the eldest son (At least that we know of. The Carthaginians practiced infant sacrifice.).

Neither of these facts are germane to the documentary itself. But they are pretty basic facts. I've never focused much on that historical era, so if I can pick them out it means anyone with any expertise on the subject should be able to do so. It makes me wonder what other historical errors I've picked up from the History Channel.

Monday, July 27, 2009

There's A Surprising Amount Of Wisdom In This

Supplied by Jonah Goldberg.

I'm A Tad Confused

In Massachusetts, asking a black man for ID after someone reports a burglary is obvious profiling, completely unacceptable, and deserving of a rebuke from the president. However, throwing a brick through a white family's window with a note a note saying "Keep Eastside Black" isn't considered worthy of being classified as a "hate crime" by either the police or the NAACP? I'm not in favor of having a "hate crimes" classification in the first place (a discussion for another day), but if we have to have them, shouldn't they protect everyone equally?

Putting Their Mouths Where Their Money Ought To Be

PG&E, the local gas and power people, recently implemented a program called Climate Smart. It allows customers to voluntarily pay a higher rate ($3 or less in most cases). The money is to be directed into projects intended to fight global warming. So far barely more than one half of one percent of PG&E customers have opted to join. This means the program isn't taking in enough money to pay its bills, and may be cancelled. Or, it may just continue supplementing the program with funds taken from regular rate-payers.

California considers itself one of the most climate-conscious states in the country, and yet it can't break 1% participation in a program that costs less than many specialty drinks at Starbucks. Yet again, the green movement is forcing us to make the sacrifices they won't make themselves.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Gates Arrest

I've been arguing the ins and outs of this case with friends and acquaintances of all races live and via facebook since it first occurred. Let me first stipulate that I think it was probably not a bright idea for the officer to choose to arrest Dr. Gates. When you have a man who is bound and determined to find racism in your actions, arresting him on a dubious charge like disturbing the peace is probably not the smartest move. However, given that we now know that the officer in question has struggled to save the life of a black man in the past, there was at least one black cop on the scene when the arrest took place, that the officer's fellow police of all colors are standing by his actions, and that he LITERALLY teaches the class on racial profiling, maybe some of the people (including Gates) who jumped to the conclusion that any of this was racial should rethink their positions.

On top of that, when I'm being lectured on America's racial intolerance by the black president of a country whose population is only 12.8% black, the black governor of a state whose population is only 7.5% black, and the black mayor of a city whose population is 11.9% black on behalf of a tenured black professor at an Ivy League university whose specialty is sitting around writing about being black in America, I reserve the right to not feel very guilty.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

They Must Be On The Take From Big Oil

A study published in Nature Geoscience claims that past increases in temperature may be due in large part to factors other than CO2 increases. In fact, only about half of past temperature gains can be explained using current climate models. Of course, we all know that anyone who questions or denies the absolute certainty of global warming is anti-science and probably on the take from industry. Meanwhile, no scientists who support global warming are getting any money at all, and Al Gore hasn't enriched himself many times over by buying and hawking "green". And there's no chance at all that trying to predict something as complicated as THE SIMULTANEOUS INTERACTIONS OF EVERY NATURAL SYSTEM ON THE PLANET FROM WEATHER TO SUNLIGHT TO GEOTHERMAL ACTIVITY might be a little beyond the capacity of our current computer models...

I'm in the same camp as Charles Krauthammer on global warming. Instinctively it seems to make good sense that pumping tons of extra CO2 into our atmosphere is probably not ideal behavior. I'd like to see it reduced as much as is practical. However, remaking our entire economy, giving the government vastly expanded control over our daily lives, denying impoverished 3rd world nations the right to improve their lot, and generally placing people in a subordinate position to the environment, all while castigating any scientist who utters a peep in opposition seems like a bit much based on the evidence we have so far. Climate modeling is inexact because our measurements of historical temperatures and carbon dioxide levels are inexact, our understanding of solar activity is inexact, our understanding of the atmosphere is inexact, our understanding of the ramifications of higher temperatures for land and ocean life are inexact, and our understanding of the interconnections between all of these natural systems are inexact. Why in the world would we commit economic suicide without better evidence?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Useless Words

David Klinghoffer has a post about the word "fundamentalist" up today. He argues that the term is no longer useful as anything but a negative epithet. This is because it is widely used to refer to any conservative religious person one doesn't happen to like, despite having a clear-cut and narrow historical definition.

His post got me thinking along similar lines about another oft-used term. In discussions of theology, people talk about interpreting the Bible "literally". Unlike fundamentalist, "literal" in this context is as likely to be used by a person defending the practice as it is by someone opposed to it. However, it doesn't make it any more accurate.

The problem with this way of describing a more traditional hermeneutical approach to the Bible is that it leads to misconceptions. I can guarantee you that, no matter how conservative your theology, you don't read everything in the Bible literally. If you don't believe me, check out Matthew 18:9. Unless you're reading this post while wearing an eye patch, there are at least some parts of the Bible you acknowledge to be metaphorical. Unfortunately, if you are a self-proclaimed literalist, it becomes pretty easy for the anti-Christian types to caricature you. "Man, this guy believes we should stone people who disrespect their parents!" Perhaps an acceptable alternative would be to tell people you read the Bible in its plain sense wherever possible. It's not quite as catchy, but may be more accurate.

Foreign Aid As Therapy

We send billions to impoverished countries like those in sub-Saharan Africa every year, but how often do we stop to assess how much good our aid does, and at what cost? Are we doing it to help Africans or ourselves?

Is That Still Going On?

Apparently the "Obama isn't a citizen" crowd are still working vigorously to make themselves look silly. A judge ruled in their favor...sort of, by saying that once they refiled their paperwork correctly, he would listen to the merits of their case.

I'm torn. Part of me wants this judge to dismiss the case out of hand, the way other courts have, because that's what should be done with frivolous cases. A judge should feel free to say, "That's so stupid, I'm not going to bother." On the other hand, not getting a hearing allows these people to go on believing that they might have a real argument if they could get someone to listen. Hopefully, having someone listen carefully, and then laugh in their faces, will convince them to give up.

On a side note, I'm sad to see that Alan Keyes (The man I voted for in the 2000 presidential primary. My first vote ever.) has continued his Hamlet-like descent into madness by becoming a plaintiff in this case.

*Sighs loudly*

Thursday, July 9, 2009


A woman beat a fawn to death because it was messing with her garden. That's got to speak to some deeper issues with her, right? I mean, she killed Bambi in brutal fashion over some gardenias. She probably thought The Yearling was intended as a lighthearted comedy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Which Is More Indicative Of American Decline?

The Michael Jackson Funeral Spectacular, or the fact that Alec Baldwin wants to run for political office? In even more shocking news, Alec Baldwin knows who Alexis de Tocqueville is.

Obama's Russian Love-Fest

Barack Obama has now made kissy noises with both the Russian president, and his boss, Wladimir Putin. Nothing truly useful or beneficial to the US has been agreed to, while Georgia and the Ukraine are still fair game for Russian hegemony. But I'm sure that over time, Barack Obama will win Putin over. After all, he isn't an undiplomatic and insulting cowboy like Bush, who had a terrible first encounter with Putin. Oh wait... But this time will be different, because everyone loves Obama.

Friday, July 3, 2009

What Are They Putting In The Water At The Republican Governor's Association?

Seriously? I'm not sure which is more confusing and unexpected, the Sanford fiasco or the Palin retreat.

First off, Sanford. I haven't posted anything since his bombshell (other than the unfortunately-titled post defending him when we still thought he was off taking a hike). I've always liked the guy as a politician, and it was disappointing to see him and his family so publicly embarrassed. Besides, I'm not of the opinion that every sexual event in a politician's life is our business. While I'd like to believe that there is a direct link between personal ethics and professional fitness for office, it doesn't seem to be universally true. I think we'd be much healthier as a country if we all acknowledged that men who fail in their commitments as a husband should only be required to grovel to their families, not the public.

But then things got weird. Governor Sanford's inability to keep his mouth shut, and seeming determination to humiliate his wife while depicting himself as some sort of tragic figure is weird and mildly unsettling. My only explanation for his conduct is that he is so wrapped up in his feelings for this woman that he truly sees this situation as something out of Romeo and Juliet, and has no clue about the damage he must be doing to his wife and sons. Meanwhile, Mrs Sanford has been nothing short of saintly in her actions and public comments. Here's hoping that the governor of South Carolina will soon remember that he's a man, and more importantly a conservative man. Suck it up, quit baring your muddled soul to anyone with a press pass, tell your girlfriend to take a hike, and stop feeling sorry for yourself!

As for Sarah Palin, I think everyone is at a loss. Of the sane explanations, the choices seem to be: 1. this is some sort of strategy to better launch a senatorial/presidential run, 2. some huge scandalous bombshell is about to drop, 3. the constant ridicule of her family, the spurious ethics complaints, and the frenetic life of a governor are taking their toll.

Number one makes no sense in any way I can imagine. I can see her not running for re-election, but quitting mid-term? Why? Can she really think letting down the people of Alaska is a good strategy for building up the necessary reputation to run for president? As it stands right now, unless she releases more information that sheds a whole lot of light on this decision, I wouldn't vote for her to be my town's dog catcher.

As for number two, I doubt it is the case, but unexpectedly resigning and offering only vague reasons for doing so isn't exactly the best way to quell that sort of talk, is it?

If the reason is number three, my feelings are more mixed. I have tons of sympathy for how hard the last year must have been on her family. Creeps like Letterman who attack her family deserve some alone time in a locked room with the "First Dude". The ethics complaints (all of which have been resolved in her favor) have cost tons and tons of money and time. However, having said all of that, my final thought is still to say, "Suck it up!" Yeah, it stinks to be a polarizing national figure faced with a hostile press. But you chose to be one. It doesn't give you the right to spurn your commitments.

Ok, now that I've got all of that off of my chest, everyone, please join me in a prayer for Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal, and Mitch Daniels.

Not A Good Sign

What could be worse than all the ants of the world teaming up against humanity? If they joined forces with the bees. It's a natural alliance, after all. Once the ants remove all rival colonies, and the bees exterminate the wasps, who else could be next on their hitlist?

I guess Kim Jong Il isn't the only one who's no longer afraid of the American president...