Thursday, 23 October 2008

In Passing

Yeah, I know: “Correlation != Causation”

So let’s call this one an “observation.”

Yesterday morning...
Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2008: Headline: “Obama Opens Double-Digit Lead”

This morning...
Wall Street Journal, October 23, 2008: Headline: “Markets Fall as Fears of Slump Span World”

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Wednesday, 22 October 2008

In Passing

Oh, I don’t know...

...we realized we were about to see Jedis on a trade mission, which is like sending Ninjas for the GATT talks.
Ninjas at GATT:  Might be amusing.

From Lileks (the quote, not the link), of course.

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Tuesday, 21 October 2008


Curious layout problem - Gecko browsers only

Since I added the Indy Blogmeet graphic at the top of this column, at the bottom of the page I’m running out of scroll bar before I get to the end of the posts.  (If you’re seeing this too, I’d appreciate a report in the comments with OS and browser).  Otherwise, this is mostly addressed to’s Man In Charge, so I’ve buried the gory details below the jump.


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In Passing

Move ‘em on, head ‘em up, head ‘em up, move ‘em out...

Morgan Freeberg on Peggy Noonan and That Ilk:

Our country is supposed to be dedicated to the concept of federalism: Minimal powers accorded to the overall, centrist government, with the balance of power devolved to “the States respectively, or to the people” as mandated by the Tenth Amendment.

Yes, believe it or not, that is the intended design: People in Tallahassee should not be deciding how fast you can drive in Broken Bow, Nebraska, and people in Atlantic City shouldn’t be voting on the capacity of the automatic pistol you bought in Colfax, California.

And yet, we have a nation’s capitol. It is surrounded by a beltway. Good conservatives like Peggy Noonan, Earl Warren, Anthony Kennedy, et al, cross over that moat surrounding the castle. And they become hard-core left-wing radical fringe extreme liberals.

It’s the power. All that power sucked into the gravity well that is at the galaxy’s center. They don’t believe in local government anymore. They don’t believe in local intellectual acumen anymore. Once they are part of the octopus’ head, they don’t think the tentacles can be trusted with anything anymore.
And C.G. Hill adds:
...this is a really good argument for moving the seat of government to somewhere like East Jesus, Oklahoma, just to discourage the sort of people who (1) would really like to lord it over the rest of us and (2) can’t bear the thought of living in a place where you can’t swing a dead cat and hit restaurants of twenty-seven different ethnicities.
I’d go for (say) a 30-mile-square reservation on the border between Garfield and Rosebud counties in Montana. (Nearest “big city:” Billings, about 100 miles by road.)

Make the Congress and the bureaucrats live in barracks and eat at the commissary.  And no lobbyists permitted within the bounds of the reservation after sundown...


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In Passing

Bush made a mistake when he fired those DOJ lawyers.

Seems he didn’t fire enough of them:

[In California,] ...the division’s lawyers have actually indicted former Republican congressional candidate Tan Nguyen for making “misleading statements to investigators.”

About what?  Nguyen was tangentially involved with sending a letter that urged Latino citizens to vote but warned that illegal immigrants could be prosecuted if they tried to vote.

Every word in the letter was true.  But DOJ investigators were more interested in cracking down on the people who wrote the letter – a legitimate expression of free-speech rights – than on the illegal immigrants who may be voting.

The kicker: The DOJ attorney on the case, former Ted Kennedy-affiliated lawyer James Walsh, is as contributor to the Obama campaign, as is his boss, former ACLU attorney Mark Kappelhoff.

In all, DOJ lawyers and staff in the metro area have donated at least $150,000 to Obama.  No wonder they seem more interested in prosecuting those who warn against vote fraud than enforcing vote-fraud laws.

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Think good thoughts about a pussycat

Dammit could.use.some.more, please.

UPDATE 081022:

Dammit goes in for an endoscopy and a liver biopsy to check for cancerous cells on Tuesday, the 28th.  It’s either lymphosarcoma or triaditis.  The latter would be preferable, because it’s treatable.  Please continue to keep him in your thoughts.


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Monday, 20 October 2008

In Passing

Sometimes Microsoft doesn’t seem quite so bad, after all...

Steven Den Beste:

...Konami has announced that when its game Aquanaut: Online Aquarium is uninstalled, the uninstaller deletes every file on the C drive.

They are sorry that we’re stupid enough to want to uninstall their game, and they’ll be releasing a fix when they get around to it.

Didn't anyone test that thing before it was released?

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In Passing

A *reverse* “hockey stick”?

Earlier today “JammieWearingFool” linked an opinion piece by the National Post’s Lorne Gunter, “Thirty years of warmer temperatures go poof.”  The graph that came with the article immediately caught my eye.  Here ’tis:
from National Post: Lower Troposphere Global Temperature: 1979-2008
I know enough about statistics to know that I don’t know much about them.  But... assuming that the data are accurately ploted, and assuming the trend line has been accurately calculated, my “eyeball” inspection says the trend line starts to curve downward in about 2003, first at an increasing rate, then stablilzing about mid-2007.

Now sensible people would say that you’ll see trends like this when you graph any natural phenomena that tend toward a normal value, and that we should shortly expect the trend to flip positive again.  But the slope of the curve is pretty severely negative, so even with the trend turning positive we could expect to see negative figures on the chart for several years to come.

Gunter looks at the graph and says, “all of the rise in global temperatures since 1979 has disappeared.”  Well, the data charted here doesn’t support that.[1]  It will take several years’ worth of negative entries before that happens.

Still, it’s amusing to take that trend curve, and do a little extrapolation:

OMG, we’re all gonna freeze!

Which will, of course, make no difference whatever to some people.

[1] AIUI, the ordinate actually plots the “global ∆T,” the month-to-month change in overall global temperature.  Thus any positive value means “a global temperature increase over the previous month.”  See here.

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The Press

Hey, did’ja hear anything about this?

We learned at this morning’s Stop Obama Rally here that the McCain/Palin Straight Talk Express came through town yesterday. It arrived with a window shattered by a .22 caliber weapon.  It had also been hit by an unknown number of paint balls from a paint ball gun or guns.  There were reportedly no injuries and neither candidate was on board. - Mark Williams

Didn’t think so.

Oh, it’s just Republicans being shot at.  Go back to sleep.

Via:  JammieWearingFool via doubleplusundead

Related (added 081021 00:42, via Physics Geek):

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Saturday, 18 October 2008


Weekend reading suggestions

Some longer items, for your Sunday morning.

Radical sheeesh!  Saul Alinsky’s 1971 book Rules for Radicals has become one of those books better known by reputation than by intimate knowledge.  Its recent citation, in connection with the ACORN voter registration scandal, prompted “dicentra” to read it for the first time.  She has been making notes, and posting them over at the Protein Wisdom Pub.

Along the way, she found some interesting contrasts between Alinsky and today’s left.  The person who wrote this is a radical?
Let us in the name of radical pragmatism not forget that in our system with all its repressions we can still speak out and denounce the administration, attack its policies, work to build an opposition political base...  I can attack my government, try to organize to change it. That’s more than I can do in Moscow, Peking, or Havana.
or this?
The human spirit glows from that small inner light of doubt whether we are right, while those who believe with complete certainty that they possess the right are dark inside and darken the world outside with cruelty, pain, and injustice.  Those who enshrine the poor or Have-Nots are as guilty as other dogmatists and just as dangerous...
But it’s not all contrast, as you will find if you read on.  There are seven [update 11/1:] eight posts (each in the 1800-word range) up so far, with more to come:


Love the boat?
...Underlying the cruise ship model is the tacit assumption that it will never be called upon to sail into perilous waters.  Once this assumption is questioned, the beautiful luxury ship will lose its aspect as a vacation paradise and become a potential and very vulnerable death trap.
Twenty-first century life as a cruise ship.  Greater interdependencies: A solution to future problems, or “tying down the circuit breakers”?  A thought-provoking essay (and discussion) at Belmont Club.


Oh, what a couple.  “Armed Liberal” starts with the Milken Institute’s PowerPoints and builds “a long post on Fannie and Freddie.”  Even if you think you know what precipitated the mortgage meltdown, go read.


Really, it’s an estate.  Drew Pearce got to wash some windows at a 1907-vintage stately home in New Jersey.  They don’t build ’em like that anymore..
Is it possible to fall in love with architecture?  Because this house makes me giddy.  Not only is the place utterly charming inside, it’s built like a damn fortress.  The walls are at least two feet thick, solid stone. I bet there are 100 doors in the home, and each has a turn of the century brass lockset, in perfect working order, but with a 100 year patina you simply can not get at Home Depot. I went up into the attic late this afternoon.  I climbed up the back stairs central servant’s stairs ( it turns out that there is another staircase that goes from the end of the servant’s wing straight down to the laundry room and kitchen at the back of the house.  Who knew?  But it wouldn’t surprise me at all if I found a 4th staircase somewhere.  This place is immense!) to the attic door, went in, turned on the light, and was magically transformed into a 7 year old boy in an instant. Wow. Stunning.
Links to the saga:
Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - aerial photo (scroll down)

It appears that his work generated some referrals.  He’d better watch out, or he’ll wind up making over $250k!

(Hattip to Pete Allen for helping me re-find that last one.)

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