Badger Blog Alliance

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Saturday, May 31, 2008

50 Puking Geeks

This must have been unfortunate.

Madison health officials are still investigating why dozens of visitors fell sick this weekend while attending a science-fiction convention.

Officials with Dane County and the Madison Public Health Department say the illness that struck about 50 people still hasn't been identified.

Investigators say the ailment had symptoms similar to those of stomach flu.

Then again, maybe it was induced by the extreme political correctness.

Re: Obamania

Kathy asks, "When does a gaffe become flat out lying? "

For months we have heard about Barack Obama's gaffes.

My question is when do people finally stop calling them gaffes and start calling them lies?


gaffe: A blatant mistake or misjudgment.

lie: Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.

Read the rest.

Saturday's Music The Return

Today's featured music is from the world of jazz.

This piece of music is a very influential one. Quite often in church we sing hymns that are variations on today's piece. I do not know if it is an actual variation or whether the unusual time signature of the hymn and today's featured music make them sound nearly the same. What time signature is that? 5/4.

Anyway, today's featured music is Take Five by the Dave Brubek Quartet. The featured video is from 1961 live performance. Without further typing I present to you The Dave Brubek Quartet performing Take Five:

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Unrelated Quote of the Week

In my last post I alluded to the madness with which I am having to contend, working here as BBA.

No sooner published, what did I encounter? Yet more madness.
I think we've all felt that way around here at one time or another.

UQOTW Note: I've actually run across two other blogs that go by the abbreviation BBA. One is the blog I linked above: Boycotted British Academic, a pro-Israel professor whose support of those Zionist conspirators has caused him some heartburn.

The other is Baby Blog Addict. It's about baby humans and being a parent to one - not about new blogs.

I don't know if our legal section wants to do anything about this or not - I'm just pointing it out.



Having trouble keeping track of all Barack Obama's gaffes? Not to worry, the internet is here to help!

  • NRO's Jim Geraghty has a nice list here, with an attempt to categorize Obama's gaffes (gotta keep them straight somehow);

  • John Fund lists several that Geraghty missed here;

  • And there's another good list, organized by date, here;

  • And finally, this, although I'm not endorsing this one's authenticity.

Will the Democrats contest Florida?

Will they even bother?

Reason for asking #1, what looks like at least a partial disenfranchisement of Florida's primary voters:

(CNN) — A Florida court threw out a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the Democratic Party's decision not to seat delegates from Florida — as litigants prepared to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Political consultant Victor DiMaio and his lawyer Michael Steinberg had compared the party's decision to earlier prohibitions against allowing African-Americans to vote and invoked the trauma of the Florida recount in the 2000 contest between Al Gore and George W. Bush, both arguments also used by Hillary Clinton to support the seating of the state’s delegates.
The lawsuit; the DNC's Rules Committee meeting; the national convention in August. All these will conspire to keep this story fresh in Floridians' minds well into the Fall.

Reason #2 for asking, the Castro Endorsement:

The latest unsought praise for the Democratic front-runner came from Fidel Castro, who wrote in a column for Cuba’s Granma newspaper Monday that Obama is “the most progressive candidate to the U.S. presidency.”

Never mind that the column was used to criticize Obama for wanting to uphold the U.S. trade embargo. The Florida GOP seized on it, posting an article about it on their Web site and blasting out an e-mail titled, “Fidel Castro Endorses Obama.”
Whatever criticism Castro leveled at Obama is more than negated by the praise. Florida's large and important Cuban population will not be - in fact, probably isn't - amused.

More Classic Harvey Korman

I wrote a tribute to the great Harvey Korman, who passed away yesterday at the age of 81 from a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm.

There are two clips from Blazing Saddles, with Korman as Hedy — "That's Hedley" — Lamarr and a two parter from The Carol Burnett Show featuring The Family.

Here's another classic bit with Korman and Tim Conway with Conway as a dentist who accidentally anesthisizes himself.

A commenter at YouTube made the following observation:

I will always think of Harvey Korman more in the vein of John Cleese or Kelsey Grammer. He was at his best when being befuddled at the incompetence of another. When I watch once innovative humor shows like SNL and see the level of mindless crap and political agendas that pass for entertainment it makes Harvey that much more of lost treasure.

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Abortion In Haiku

Conservative View

Conception gives life.
Murder is against the law.
There is no debate.

Moderate View

It’s her right to choose.
Encourage her to choose life.
The child has rights, too.

Liberal View

I made a mistake.
I told him and he flipped out.
Scrape it out of me!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Interestingly Enough

Iran is stockpiling oil in tankers off of its coast. Why? Because it is waiting for higher prices. No, not prices bigger than $130.00 a barrel but perhaps $100.00 a barrel. Iran's oil is a heavy crude and not worth the same as the light crude. That sort of crude produces more heating oil of which there is supposedly and abundance of. See This Economist article for the whole story. In fact, the article I refer to states the discount rate on Iran's crude is growing larger! Check out this Belmont Club article & discussion that gives the news above an even more interesting twist.

Anyway, I do not think anyone is disputing the importance of developing alternative energies, but it will take more than clicking the heels together and chanting "I wish for alternative energy!" Solar and wind play a part but wind is viable only on large commercial scale and solar is *VERY* promising on the small scale (I seriously considered it for our home, had I calculated properly the first time our new house may have had PV material the south facing roof and I looked into geothermal heating but they play shell games with you on that), but is not going to be able to fit the bill on a large scale for some time (if ever). Nuclear is going to have to come back onto the table and if the choice is massive starvation (that'll solve our obesity crisis), nuclear energy, or pumping more oil out of the ground it is an easy choice the later two.

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You Fools!

"We can defeat the monkeys. We can defeat the robots. But not at the same time!"*

(CNN) -- Monkeys with sensors implanted in their brains have learned to control a robot arm with their thoughts, using it to feed themselves with fruit and marshmallows.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists behind the experiment say it will lead to the creation of brain-controlled prosthetic limbs for amputees or patients with degenerative disorders.
*Quote by, I believe, Lewis Black.

Ron Paul has supporters in India?

Who knew?

NEW DELHI, India (AP) -- An elephant rampaged through a village in northern India on Thursday, killing at least seven people and injuring 24 others before it was killed, wildlife officials and conservationists said.

A female elephant entered the village of Bhudaheda on the edge of the Jim Corbett National Park, and began destroying crops, said Srikant Chandola, the park's chief wildlife officer. The people tried to frighten it away by beating drums, he said. That's when the animal started trampling people.
Note to the RNC: don't beat drums at the convention to keep the Ron Paul crew away.

My date with Paul Ryan, dreamy blue-eyed Congressman from Janesville, Wisconsin

Yeah, we hung out together with some of his AFP friends at his Tuesday evening Town Hall meeting.

Here's us at Janesville's Municipal Building (for some reason Janesvillians don't call it City Hall):

I'm the one in the green shirt, holding the camera.

It was fun. I arrived late, got to sit on a table in back so I could see all the action and hear most of it, and even got to ask a question. All firsts! Well, not the 'arrived late' part.

Wiggy was there, but he had to get on the bus, so minimal chatting. That's the back of his head in the bottom left of our pic.

I caught a lot of oil info from Ryan (with many cool graphs and charts). During the current and following gas crunch, if the man gets his info about the extent of US reserves out - and the fact that one big holding off the coast of Florida that's off-limits is already being tapped by others, things could change. See more on the oil crisis here.

I'll have to check the rest of the plan (there's a flat tax of 25%(?) in there, which is close to my proposed generous cut for Uncle Sam of 20%), and I've been personally invited by Paul to share info and suggestions for prison/criminal justice reform.*

Yes, I'm the person in the back with the badly bobbled question about his plan for that (there is no plan). Public speaking is harder than Ryan makes it look!

*You bet I will have suggestions on prison & CJ reform, but that's another homework session. Today I'll be moving on from the oil crisis (yes, I'm google chumming that one) to Malaria and other diseases in Uganda, particularly among the Karamojong warriors with whom I'll be working in July.

Everything I wanted to know about the oil crisis, but was afraid to ask

Were it possible to post "below the fold" on blogspot, I'd do it to spare those tired of the oil debate. Alas, I cannot.

I stuck by my guns in Jib's and my extended comments discussion, then read Jib's more recent post, and did some more homework.

There seems to be an about-face going on:
WSJ: "Mexico's Plan to Open Oil Market"
Bloomberg: "Brown Presses Britain's Oil Executives to Lift Output (Update1)"
Baltimore Sun: "Saudis boost oil, modestly, Bush rebuffed"

However, I'm afraid it's so late in the game that it won't change things much. The Saudis, for one, can't be relied upon to extend much production; it was mere weeks ago that they were responding to the US President's personal request for more production with a shrug, a stance that clearly hasn't changed.

As I argued in my comment, it's a different political world wherein our suppliers don't value the political capital of supplying to the US. See US suppliers here.

The pressure of flagging markets and the rising cost of everything is probably the bigger factor in easing pressure by any OPEC members - they have more to lose than they have to gain in terms of declining values of offshore investments and pinched global trade. The Canadian Press article points out that ""Globalization is reversible... In a world of triple-digit oil prices, distance costs money."

And there are other changes, other considerations. Although they're the biggest producer in their area, "Indonesia to quit OPEC, not happy with costly oil" - they import too much and most of their citizens can't afford the oil-driven rising cost of living. That's one less supplier turning into one larger mouth at the trough.

Calls for continued high cost include posits that the increased production simply won't be enough - China was outstripping it before the earthquake (I expect rebuilding costs to raise their energy needs), with India on their heels. According to Mary Novak, managing director for energy at consulting firm Global Insight, "Global demand for crude oil continues to increase. Demand has to slow, to respond to price." And Novak is commenting on the twisted role of speculators, which many believe to have caused a gas-price "bubble."

The Asia Times article also notes the full weight of the Fed's role:
...the Fed has set a deliberate re-inflationary objective in order to reverse falling asset prices. It has aggressively resumed its expansionary monetary policy since August 2007, cutting the federal funds rate from 5.25% to 2% with a consequent faster expansion of money supply, resulting in a rapidly depreciating dollar and disrupting stability in commodity markets...

But what about the huge profits of Exxon et al? you say. Check the score board:
Unlike years past, the world's largest oil producers aren't Exxon Mobil, Chevron or Conoco Phillips, but rather the National Iranian Oil Co., the Saudi Arabia Oil Co. and the Iraq National Oil Co. Even two years ago, America's largest oil company, Exxon Mobil, was only the world's 17th-largest player. The top 16 all were national oil companies.

It's important to note that any inroads in increased production have required significant begging, posturing and demanding from heads of state, which didn't occur when US gas prices crested $3 a gallon. As we speak, the markets are rebounding.

Once we settle into the pain, cost and restricted goods of the new economy, the cries won't even be whispers, and Ryan's Roadmap for America's Future can cut out the part with its energy policies.

We need a course that's worth the investment. Unfortunately, people like Treasury Secretary Paulson have other ideas: "Paulson to push for oil investment in Mideast." Great answer, Hank - more money flowing out to prop up others instead of investing in self-reliance.

Forbes notes that the only answer that doesn't send us back to the stone age is alternative energy, and we have much of the necessary technology. We may be able to live without oil, but we won't go far without energy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Even More on Oil Prices

If the anonymous source in this Sky News article is worth anything, even OPEC sees oil as being over-valued:

Meanwhile, the world's leading producers say oil is too expensive and they plan to increase supplies.

A source at Opec said its 13 members were uncomfortable with the current price of crude, which last week hit a record $135 a barrel.

Based on present supply and demand, he said it should be fetching $60-$70 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia said it would increase production.

Remember, even OPEC doesn't want to see outrageously expensive oil. If oil prices sustain themselves at very high levels, economic activity decreases and consumers slowly change their habits, which can lead to an oil bust.

Badger Bites

Memorial Day has come and gone, and still we wait for summer in Wisconsin. Grab a hot cup of cocoa and imagine warmer times over a hot plate of Bites.


That Settles It, Then

Via OpinionJournal:

Three of the four most recent former presidents have turned out to be highly influential after leaving office. President Carter has turned himself into an international nuisance who aspires to be a menace. George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton created important family dynasties; it is unlikely that George W. Bush would have become president, or Hillary Clinton would have been a serious candidate, had their immediate family members not served in the White House.

...When Americans elect a president, then, they may turn out to have committed themselves, for better or worse, to more than a four-year term. Among recent presidents, only Ronald Reagan's influence is measured almost entirely by what he did before leaving office. In choosing the next president, then, the most cautious approach may be to vote for the old guy.
Of course, John McCain had kids, too.

Wisconsin No Longer a Tax Hell... we're more of a Tax Purgatory

For the first time in nearly a generation, Wisconsin has fallen out of the ranks of the top 10 highest-taxed states in the nation, two independent researchers have found.

Measured as a share of the money residents earn, Wisconsin's state and local taxes dropped to eleventh in the nation in 2006 — the latest year for which data are available — down from eighth in 2005 and sixth in 2004. The last time Wisconsin ranked out of the top 10 was in 1980.
No problem: Democrats figure on taking over the Assembly after this year's elections. They'll put a stop to that nonsense.

We'll be #1 in no time!

The story also points out the major problem with ranking states:

Didn't notice? That might be because Wisconsin's taxes actually rose slightly in the fiscal year ended in June 2006 but those of other states rose more quickly. That improved the state's ranking even as taxes stayed fairly steady, the two analyses of recently released U.S. Census Bureau data found.
Wisconsin state and local taxes were 12.3% of personal income in 2006, up from 12.1% the year before. If you add federal taxes in, it's over 33% - over one dollar out of every three earned. And that's just the taxes.

I've made this point before: if every other state doubled its taxes tomorrow, our ranking would plummet, but we'd still be paying over a dollar out of every three earned.

That's a lot of money, no matter where it puts us in the rankings.

He'll meet with Ahmadinejad, but not Petraeus?

John McCain made a fine suggestion yesterday: that he and Barack Obama take a trip to Iraq together, have a look around, maybe discuss America's future in and with that country.

"Look at what happened in the last two years since Senator Obama visited and declared the war lost," the GOP nominee-in-waiting told The Associated Press in an interview, noting that the Illinois senator's last trip to Iraq came before the military buildup that is credited with curbing violence.
The Obama campaign is, however, having none of it. Taking a short break from holding his breath until he turns blue, Obama spokesman Bill Burton said:

"John McCain's proposal is nothing more than a political stunt, and we don't need any more 'Mission Accomplished' banners or walks through Baghdad markets to know that Iraq's leaders have not made the political progress that was the stated purpose of the surge."
Emphasis mine, hat tip to Sean at TAM for the links.

When President Bush visited the World Trade Center site following 9-11, was that a stunt? After all, it's not like he was there helping pick up debris.

When Governor Doyle visited flooded parts of Wisconsin last year, was that a stunt? He wasn't helping dry out anybody's basement.

But that doesn't make such things stunts. It's leaders showing the people who've been hit by something bad that we give a damn, and we're not just going to change the channel and forget about them.

Oh, and by the way, you can learn something by seeing it with your own eyes.

Sean writes:

Two Presidential candidates walking side-by-side surveying the situation in a foreign land is nothing I’ve ever heard happen in American politics… An American electorate tired of political bickering would welcome two competitors traveling together to Iraq to learn about any improvements or setbacks.
I quite agree.

I think their reaction says one of three things about Obama and his campaign.

One: Obama doesn't give a damn what happens in Iraq – not about the people, their budding democratic government, the jihadists who'd love to move in, or the American troops. His constituency wants out, so he's going to get out. To actually go there and appear to care would be…well, it would be appearing to care, and that's off-message.

Two: it's a sure sign of the Obama campaign's maturity or, more likely, the lack thereof. A joint visit is a bad idea simply because the McCain camp suggested it.

Three: a joint tour of Iraq with McCain would highlight McCain's foreign policy and national security credentials, while spotlighting Obama's vast weakness in that area.

That third option gives the Obama camp credit for political savvy. Make of it what you will.

NRO's Jim Geraghty also noted the story. He writes:

…isn't Obama vulnerable to the argument that a man who's pledged to meet unconditionally, one-on-one, face-to-face with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad really ought to meet at least once one-on-one with Gen. David Petraeus?
Zing. Geraghty also notes that Obama's visited Iraq exactly once, in 2006, for two days. The RNC picked up on that:

Barack Obama has only visited Iraq once – and that was 871 days ago. Despite lacking the experience and leadership to be Commander-in-Chief, Obama has done shockingly little to educate himself firsthand about the war in Iraq. Instead, he displays an arrogant certainty gained on the campaign trail.
They're counting the days since Obama last visited Iraq: right now, it's 871.

Hey, you can "argue about the value of seeing the situation on the ground with one's own eyes," as Geraghty puts it. But dismissing the idea out of hand as a "stunt" is dumb, immature, and disrespectful for the large numbers of Americans and Iraqis who care deeply about what happens there over the next few years.

Re: More Mea

Jib, supply is the real issue.

The other "problems" are mostly symptoms or conditions that don't help the issue of limited global supply and increased demand.

We've had huge disasters that will steepen the draw - China's not rebuilding itself with mud bricks and kerosene lanterns. On the other end of the pipeline, we can't refine everything we need once we get it here, whether it's selling at $55 or $105/barrel.

The Fed's real crime isn't simply the interest rate side of increasing inflation, it's the free money they've been and continue to dole out that's devaluing the dollar worldwide. That has to stop, but the new Fed is making Greenspan look like the Grinch instead of the Santa Clause he's been.

On top of the prospect of their grandchildren seeing a dwindling inheritence and other oil agenda items (Uncle Hugo, I'm looking at you), the world oil communities need to protect their resource by controlling the spigot and by getting their devalued dollar's worth. Sure there's plenty of oil out there for a very long time, but they're starting to look at the glass as half-empty.

A lot of this comes from the Paul Ryan Town Hall meeting in Janesville last night. The man is good, and his Roadmap for America could have been ripped from the pages of the BBA - flat tax, drill ANWR and other things I hope Wiggy opines about (he was there too).

This may have begun as a bubble, but now it's one with a noose around it, and we - the US - don't hold the rope. We provide the hemp.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Mea Culping

I'll admit that I've been wrong several times now on my specific oil predictions, but I'm sticking by my guns on the general principals. When a barrel of oil jumps $3 a barrel in one day because U.S. ships fire in the direction of an Iranian speedboat, as happened a few weeks ago, speculation is over heated. Additionally, a lot of the "analysts" who we see quoted about the ever increasing ceiling on oil prices have a vested interest in those increased prices, and their predictions are like the wind that forces the forest fire forward.

I was reading an article about inflation at Market Watch this morning, and in that article they raise the specter of a possible needle to this bubble:

The next step, of course, would be for the central bank to actually raise rates. Coming at a time when the economy is still weak and housing is falling, this would shock the markets - especially oil and other commodities where prices have jumped sky-high.

Higher interest rates and fewer dollars in circulation could very well pop these bubbles. More important, they would also get inflation expectations back to their mooring.

Of course, higher interest rates would not be economically neutral. It would certainly have a negative affect on the stock market and the housing market. We are facing multiple negative economic factors right now, though, and it is high time that we decide which are going to have the biggest impact on the national economy. I'd put inflation and commodity prices near the top. My guess is that the Fed is fearful of multiple burst bubbles right now and will resist raising rates, however, allowing the current bubble more elasticity.

Re: UN Frustrated

Ah, Lance. So close and yet so far!

Yes, the generally toothless and bureaucratically-mired institution with neither the will nor the ability to actually do anything, no matter how "frustrated" they are*, does indeed expect to make a difference.

As long as it can play "good cop" to someone else's "bad cop." Which explains the whole "U.N. responds to anything proactive the U.S. does" thing.

Doesn't all this sound suspiciously like October 2002-February 2003? Updated:

UN, October May: Baghdad Tehran, we are very, very mad at you!
Tehran: ...
UN: We really mean it! Let us take a peek, or we will be even madder at how unsafe we all feel if we don't get to look around all your nukes and crannies!
Tehran: How 'bout we send you our notes?
UN: Well, that sounds reasonable...
Tehran: ...
UN, November June: That report of yours needs to be verified!
Tehran: How 'bout we let some of your friends come in and visit?
UN: Works for us!
Tehran: ...
UN, later in December July: Hey, that didn't work out so well!
Tehran: ...
UN, January August: Okay, we're going to get all our friends together and talk about how mad we are at you, and how unsafe the world feels without checking your facilities!
Tehran: ...
UN, February September and beyond: We all agree that something should be done, and we're writing up a resolution about it right now!
Tehran: ...

Of course there's no guarantee this'll play out anytime soon, given the current "withdrawal fever" our pols are gripped by.

*(Which is easier to refer to them as, the UN or TGTBMIWNWNATADA...? I'm sticking with UN.)

UN Frustrated with Iran over Nukes

VIENNA, Austria — Iran may be withholding information needed to establish whether it tried to make nuclear arms, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday in an unusually strongly worded report.

The tone of the language suggesting Tehran continues to stonewall the U.N. nuclear monitor revealed a glimpse of the frustration felt by agency investigators stymied in their attempts to gain full answers to suspicious aspects of Iran's past nuclear activities.
I've gotta ask: what difference does this make?

The United Nations is a generally toothless and bureaucratically-mired institution with neither the will nor the ability to actually do anything, no matter how "frustrated" they are.

In fact, the quickest way to see this report buried deep and ignored forever is for the one institution that does have the ability (although maybe not the will) to do something to...well, to do something.

That "institution" is, of course, the U.S., but we know how the U.N. responds to anything proactive the U.S. does, even when it's done with the U.N.'s approval.

Ergo, the report is useless because it won’t spur any action, and if action is ever spurred the report will be useless because it will be ignored.

What a world.

French Skydiver Stays on the Ground

A French skydiver wanted to break records for the biggest, fastest jump out of an airplane ever. The statistics of what he planned to do are a little bit intimidating:

(Michel) Fournier, a former (French) army paratrooper with more than 8,000 jumps under his belt, planned to be three times higher than a commercial jetliner. A mountain climber would have to ascend the equivalent of four Mount Everests stacked one on top of the other.

It was expected to take Fournier 15 minutes just to come down, screaming through thin air at about 900 mph — 1.7 times the speed of sound — smashing through the sound barrier, shock waves buffeting his body, before finally deploying his chute about 6,000 yards above the prairie wheat fields.
That’s a long way. A very long way. Check out the pictures at the link: he was wearing a thick yellow suit and a helmet – still, I wonder how the human body responds to that kind of speed.

What's it like to break the sound barrier with your body?

But no matter, since the jump never happened:

The helium balloon Michel Fournier was going to use to soar to the stratosphere detached from the capsule he was going to use to jump from 130,000 feet, about 25 miles high.

It happened after the balloon was inflated on the ground at the airport in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. The balloon drifted away into the sky without the capsule.
So let's see: I lost a $5 bill a few weeks ago, and spent the entire day kicking myself over it. He spent years and hundreds of thousands of dollars (the one balloon was estimated at $200,000) planning this jump, traveled halfway around the world to make the attempt, and then forgot to tie the balloon down before inflating it.

Vote for Jay

Folkbum: When I run for president, this will be my platform

One item, and one item only: All holidays will be moved to Fridays.

I mean, the first day of work in a week always feels like a Monday even if you didn't have to work on the actual Monday; missing work on a Monday is not really avoiding "Monday" at all. But a Thursday before a long weekend will always feel like a Friday. So we move all holidays to Fridays--the number of "Mondays" will remain unchanged, but we'll have a lot fewer Thursdays.

Plus, I'll get rid of the penny.
Who knew Jay was such a hands-off libertarian?

Re: Mea Culping

There are a number of serious market analysts who do believe the oil markets are overpricing oil.

I am wondering though on what basis the likes of George Yared claims that it is? I recall him saying he thought the equilibrium point on oil supply & demand was closer to $80/barrel than what it is now. The number that is in my head is $60 to $70 per barrel.

I tracked down the following article:
Beutel didn't know when that collapse would come, but he predicted it will be within weeks or months, not years.

But he didn't know just what might bring it about - perhaps the Federal Reserve increasing interest rates or a big drop in consumption as people worldwide can no longer afford to fuel their cars or heat their homes.

"If these prices stick, you may see whole neighborhoods where people abandon their homes," he said predicting that in the Northeast U.S. it will cost $5000 to heat a home unless prices fall.

Many analysts said supply and demand justifies expensive oil - maybe $90 or $100 a barrel - but $130 is just too much.

Now, long term I don't see us getting back to sub-$1.00/gallon gasoline:
"To see something run this far and this fast, you see it leveraged by financial players," said Neal Dingmann, senior energy analyst at Dahlman Rose & Co., a New York-based energy investment boutique. "The direction is corerct [sic], the speed isn't."

It very much appears that the thought is that oil will eventually be at a solid $135/barrel but that time is not now. That it is speculation driven and does not contain a basis in reality. Please note, the same article contains opinions of oil analysts who believe there to be a solid and current basis for $135/barrel oil.

I have paid particular attention to all of this, I have been at times documented my mileage and such details as gas cost and the like. One thing I have noted is gas prices tend to hit their annual peak right now and will subside to more sane levels as the summer advances. In fact, the highest gasoline price I observed from last year occurred on May 30, 2007. However, remember history repeats itself until it doesn't, that is past trends may not continue to hold.

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Ride on the Peace Train

Anyone heading over to today's conclave?

Town Hall Meeting/Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin Chapter
Congressman Paul Ryan
Janesville City Hall, Council Chambers
Janesville, Wisconsin
Tuesday, May 27th
4:15 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Too far on $4/gallon, tee, you say. Hah! There's a bus you can take:

Please join in in supporting Wisconsin's favorite son - Congressman Paul Ryan as he discusses his Roadmap For American's Future.

Americans for Prosperity will provide free bus transportation from the Milwaukee and Madison area to Janesville to join other members of AFP for the Town Hall Meeting of Paul Ryan's.

Please RSVP for your seat on the bus by calling 414-475-2975 or email us at

Think I'm gonna see if I can get in.

Re: Mea Culping

Well done, Lance. Especially about that gas bubble. The oil powers have been listening more closely than we have about the limited nature of the black gold, and they're making sure we pay for those golden eggs whilst the goose still lays.*

I've been thinking about posting a retrospective, and lately when I open my mouth (or a blog post) I wonder how things will shake out a few weeks from now.

The problem with your post is its posit - Bruce wasn't reporting his own prediction as an average observer, he was reporting an inside tip.

So no mea culpa from Bruce. Perhaps sua (or sibimus) culpa.

*I'd really, really, really like to be proven wrong on this one. Today's not too soon.


How about that global warming?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Peggy Noonan: Sex and the Sissy

Peggy Noonan is one of my favorite writers, and she was in rare form over the weekend with this column, comparing Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, and Wisconsin's own Golda Meir with would-be newest member of the Woman And World Leader Club, Hillary Clinton.

For the inevitible sniplet, I chose this disturbing paragraph:

It is prissy. Mrs. Clinton's supporters are now complaining about the Hillary nutcrackers sold at every airport shop. Boo hoo. If Golda Meir, a woman of not only proclaimed but actual toughness, heard about Golda nutcrackers, she would have bought them by the case and given them away as party favors.
I guess that means she wouldn't autograph mine, even if I said please?

Mea Culping

In the spirit of Bruce's mistake and mea culpa over at Badger Blogger (noted most recently here by tee tee):

Bot Marcus and Jib have recently suggested that today's gas prices - getting up over four bucks a gallon in some places - are nothing more than an investment bubble. Sooner or later, that means, the bubble will pop, and prices will come down.

I agree with them, but then, I was calling it a bubble nearly three years ago.

That is one big, strong bubble. And that's hardly the end of my bad predictions. I wrote this back in January:

I’ve already chosen a Democrat candidate. In some distant parallel universe, Lance1 is crossing party lines to vote for Hillary Clinton because the Republican primary has been long settled, while the Democrat primary is still in doubt.
Turns out that "distant parallel universe" was pretty close by. And I wrote this last November:

Because of the tightly-packed and frontloaded nature of next year’s presidential primary, two or three Republican candidates could still be in the running by the time it gets to us, on February 19.

Ergo, we might get to cast a meaningful vote.

Which puts me in an unexpected position. I’ll have to decide whom to support.

...I won’t concern myself with the Democrat primary, mainly because there won’t be one by the time February rolls around. Hillary Clinton will, I predict, win the nomination early.

...Clinton’s in. Wisconsin Democrats, take February off.
See? We all make bad calls now and then.

Memorial Day

Thanks and praise for America's war dead are all over the blogosphere today. Ironically, I think, the one that I found the most thoughtful and appropriate was these two paragraphs from a 1968 LA Times editorial, noted over at Pundit Nation:

We would suggest that the best remembrance, the greatest tribute, we can pay those who have died in their nation's wars, and those fated to do so, is not simply to institutionalize their sacrifice on one day out of the year. Rather it is to live our own lives as citizens of this Republic, and conduct our affairs as a power in the world, according to the higher goals in whose name these sacrifices are made.

That would be tribute indeed, and surely little enough to ask.

Wisconsin Memorial Park's Memorial Day observance

I spent a few hours at the Wisconsin Memorial park this morning. I watched the VFW members, color guards, a band and 1,600 beautiful American Flags blowing in the morning breeze. I heard the 21 gun salute, the National Anthem and of course... Taps. I watched the remembrance ceremony and a reading from an American combat veteran, he calls it, A Comrade. I would like to share some of the sounds and sights with you.

Online Videos by

If anyone was there and caught the full name of Sgt. Pepper, I would like to hear from you. The poem he wrote and shared with us was very good.

Memorial Day's Traditional Observance

Here's an article on efforts to restore the traditional observance of Memorial Day to May 30 and remove it from the Monday Holiday abomination, which has effectively destroyed the true meaning of the observance in the eyes of far too many Americans.

People of other nations sometimes show more of the true spirit of Memorial Day more than we do here. For example, a 2001 U.S. Memorial Day Guestbook entry from a citizen of the Netherlands states:

"In 1999 I laid flowers at the grave of a young U.S. fighter pilot who was KIA in my village in 1945. In the Netherlands I know of schools 'adopting' graves of Allied servicemen, keeping those graves in excellent condition! Does anybody know of adopting graves in the U.S. by schools?

Paul Patist
Castricum, The Netherlands - Tue May 15 04:50:29 2001"

How many graves of our fallen do we in America leave dishonored by leaving their resting places forgotten and neglected?
Thank a vet today for his or her service. Go to a ceremony held by a local VFW or American Legion post. But don't forget what today is all about.

It's not about BBQs and cookouts.

It's about those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can live in freedom.

Because freedom isn't free.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day

From Glenn McCoy via

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Source: Many Asshats will continue to spin about this one

I don't remember the last time I saw so many people get riled up about a blog post, which then led to proof positive and indemnification of all bloggers everywhere while reinstating confidence in the purity and reliability of the MSM.

If you missed Bruce's Yost firing prediction and subsequent mea culpa and goodnight, check it.

And Bruce, think about it: Why are they being so hard on you for reporting a rumor about an event few people debate will happen? Same reason they made sure to report the rumor themselves. Couldn't stand to be left out of the loop, can't stand competition. Meet the green-eyed monster that is professional journalism.

PS I mean, think about it. Journalists don't even consider sports writers to be journalists.
PPS Think about it, dude - we're talking Keith Olbermann here. At least Craig Kilbourn didn't have delusions.

It's Science (And Photoshop)

Fred has a story about global warming, on Jupiter.

Just you remember, children, we've talked about this before. And, yes it is all our fault.

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You May Have Laughed

When I suggested that Hillary has thought of taking out Obama the old fashioned way.

Who's laughing now?


Friday, May 23, 2008

Obama's Voting Record, In Haiku

Barack Obama
Running to be president
What is his record?

Junior Senator
First elected in '04.
New term in two years.

Domestic wiretaps:
Want to catch a terrorist?
He voted against.

“Yes” to health care bill
funded by tobacco tax.
Vetoed by George Bush.

Security Act:
Response to 9-11
He didn’t show up

The cloture motion
On Alberto Gonzales,
Obama’s not there.

Funding for the war:
Democrats vote in favor.
But, not Obama.

Fifteen ninety-one:
A timetable for Iraq.
Voted “yes,” of course.

Both parties favor
A higher minimum wage.
Even Obama!

Ethics reform bill
With bi-partisan support.
Barack blessed it, too.

Need to build a fence?
Congress thought we needed to.
He supported it.

Fund stem cell research?
With federal tax dollars?
Barack thought we should.

Confirm Alito?
The senator said “no way.”
Not Roberts, either.

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I Am Hungry

This review x-posted at Blogger Beer.

The Empress and I just came back from watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Nice movie but I suggest you can wait for it come out on DVD or video. I thought it all pretty much an amalgamation of the previous movies. From Raiders & Last Crusade swap commies for nazis, the car-fights were pretty much unsurprising, the Call of Cthullu mystique was somewhat too thick and substituted for a compelling story (I do admit the stories in the first three are not all that deep).

In the last movie there was an allusion to The Raiders of the Lost Ark and so too in this movie. In addition, there is an allusion to another movie(s) that Harrison Ford starred in, this allusion is one of the twists I thought fresh.

What was frustrating about this movie is at the start an interesting antagonism between Dr. Jones and another organization was being set up and that conflict just disappeared into nothingness. It really left me wanting more.

I was glad to hear Indiana Jones was coming out of retirement and returning the screen, on second thought I am thinking he perhaps should have stayed retired.

Oh well, that music is still as good as ever!

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Start Building The War Chest

So, if I run for president as soon as I'm eligible I'll get to run against Chelsea?

Bring it on!

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Out Of Context

I miss the nazis

In context it's my thoughts on the latest Indiana Jones movie.

What the Blogs think of Kagen's Idea of Suing OPEC...

Originally posted at "Who the Hell is Dr. Kagen?". When we first set out to form the "Who the Hell is Dr. Kagen?" blog, we knew our first goal was to help educate the people of the 8th Congressional District about what kind of man they had representing him in Congress. Now, mind you, this should be the newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations of the district, but often times they might drop the ball.

Here's one such example, where the blogosphere took a look at the recent "accomplishment" of Congressman Kagen, his bill to sue OPEC nations, that Green Bay and Fox Cities media won't teach you what the world thinks of our 'fair' Congressman.

Humor Blogger Don Lewis, of IDAHO.

Mr. Lewis created a multi-question quiz for his readers.
You find a OPEC Nation guilty of Price Gouging. You impound 500 million dollars from their US bank holdings and take away their Domino's Pizza franchise. The guilty OPEC Nation will immediately:

  1. shamefully admit the error of its ways, tap a keg of oily goodness at a UN frat party and donate 50 million to Nancy Pelosi's latest wind power research project.
  2. accept that it has a problem, enter the Barbara Bush Oil Abuse Clinic to avoid further prosecution and in the process 'hook up' with Lindsay Lohan.
  3. turn the big oil pipeline wheel labeled "US" to the OFF position, sell all its oil to China, and start manufacturing extra long extension cords for hybrid cars.
The correct answer of course, is #3.

Then there is one, (from an American Expatriate in Australia.) News sure does travel, huh Congressman?

What should be obvious is that the US – neither its president nor its representatives – cannot control the oil producing countries of OPEC. That will not change with this silly anti-trust law. What our elected officials seem to have lost sight of is that solutions for domestic issues, like how to satisfy energy needs without knee-capping the economy, are best found at home. More domestic production, more personal conservation, and less dependence on OPEC are a start toward long-term energy policy. Creating a legal framework to blame others for high oil prices will do, I predict, nothing good. But it will make some Congressmen feel better, feel more secure, as they head into November. After that…well, I suppose that's an issue for the next election cycle.

What, there's an election in November? Honest, man of "Positive Change" with a "Together We Will" attitude like Steve Kagen would never pander. Come on, the Packers aren't even involved here!

Steve Kagen wouldn't think his entire constituents are rubes, hicks, and idiots, would he?

Then there's this economic blogger.
In the latest example of congressional rocking-chair legislature (rocking chair=looks like you're doing something when you're not) the House passed a bill allowing government agencies to sue OPEC.


Rep. Kagen, it would "guarantee supply and demand reflect economic rules" you clearly don't understand the difference between speculation, investment, and trans-national litigation. First, prove that the price is NOT reflective of supply/demand. Second, if we sue OPEC where does our oil come from (they're a cartel, remember)? Third, in what jurisdiction can you sue sovereign nations? I've watched enough Law and Order to know that Briscoe and Green can't just go arresting people in Jersey...wish they could though.
Of course you could be this guy...
Not one word on the mechanics of oil depletion. Or the Export Land model. Or the fact that OPEC is f*!@king based on the Texas Railroad Commission - which still exists. Or about how Congress has defunded a variety of alternative fuels research. Or about growth in demand from countries such as China and India.

Pandering of the lowest sort. Self-destructive, delusional lawmakers, guiding the Republic into a storm with no preparations.

I need a drink.
I think we all do.

Of course, if drinking's not your thing, the Political Dog urges another activity familiar to the Kagen family.
Start with Rep. Steve Kagen of Wisconsin, who sponsored the legislation. Said Kagen, "This bill guarantees that oil prices will reflect supply and demand economic rules, instead of wildly speculative and perhaps illegal activities."

Steve stop smoking pot and dropping acid. You are completely delusional.

Kagen lamented that the US is at the mercy of OPEC nations for its gasoline prices. Steve, that's because they own the oil and can sell it to us at any price they want to. The only available alternative is to get oil from non-OPEC nations including our own, ie. drill in ANWR, mine shale, etc.

Suing is not an alternative. No thinking person believes for a moment it is. Stop wasting another minute on this pipe dream. Will somebody in Washington please get to work?
Yes, someone should please get to work...returning Steve Kagen to Private Practice in January 2009.

If you're interested in seeing what other blogs are saying about Steve Kagen and his Bill to sue OPEC, conduct your own Google Blogs and Technorati search. There's more than enough out there.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

You know what happens when someone moves from Wisconsin to Texas?

Unrelated Quote of the Week

Aurizon expects to receive an updated resource estimate on the Joanna Gold Project in the fourth quarter of 2008, and has appointed BBA to prepare the pre-feasibility study, which will be initiated upon completion of the updated resource estimate.
Heck, I don’t have to “prepare” the pre-feasibility study. I can tell you right now this is pre-feasible. A thing can't be feasible in the first place unless you understand what the hell you’re talking about, and since I don’t understand any of this, by definition it’s got to be pre-feasible.

The real question is whether it'll ever be post-feasible. Answer: I doubt it.

Who the heck signs us up for these things, anyway?


Justice Hillary

Ann Althouse links to this Washington Post column, touting Hillary Clinton as President Obama's first Supreme Court nominee:

...there is another way to foster party unity without forcing a political marriage.

It's likely that the next president will face at least one Supreme Court vacancy. Obama should promise Hillary Clinton, now, that if he wins in November, the vacancy will be hers, making her first on a list of one.
Althouse is...well, skeptical. She writes:

His notion that Hillary Clinton belongs on the Supreme Court is just: Everybody seems to think she's pretty smart. And it doesn't even matter that she has no judicial experience and has never done anything to indicate that she is any sort of a legal scholar or has anything like a judicial temperament.

(Clinton supporters would) think that Obama shouldn't be trusted with the responsibility of appointing federal judges.
To which I say: Ann! Quit trying to talk him out of it!

Because this is a great idea.

Just imagine the circus: a politically-motivated payoff to an ambitious and viciously partisan former rival, so politically charged she’s radioactive, who isn’t even close to being the best-qualified choice?

Americans hate that kind of thing. And they’ll punish the party that does it. So yes, please, please, future President Obama. Please nominate Clinton to the Supreme Court.

He won't, of course. And she'd never accept, even if he offered. There's way more power and glory in the Senate.

Or...maybe she'd accept the offer under the table (they could never make this deal in public), then forcefully admonish President Obama for trying to buy her after he nominates her!

I love this idea.

I only last 1 minute and 12 seconds in the vacuum of liberal politics.

How long could you survive in the vacuum of space?
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Massachusetts’ RomneyCare way, way overbudget

From the Wall Street Journal (emphasis added):

For 2009, Governor Deval Patrick requested $869 million but has already conceded that even that huge figure is too low. Over the coming decade, the expected overruns float in as much as $4 billion over budget. It's too early to tell how much is new coverage or if state programs are displacing private insurance.

The "new Big Dig" moniker refers to the legendary cost overruns when Boston rebuilt its traffic system. Now state legislators are pushing new schemes to offset RomneyCare's runaway expenses, including reductions in state payments to doctors and hospitals, enlarged business penalties, an increase in the state tobacco tax, and more restrictions on drug companies and insurers.
You’ve got two choices with “universal health care.” You can either increase taxes by vast – unsupportable, politically untenable – amounts; or you can limit access to care with cost-control methods. The former will chase wealth-creators right out of the state, leaving a shrinking tax base to pay the bill; the latter means waiting lists, bureaucratic paper-mazes, and cost-shifting onto private insurance.

And that means dying while on a waiting list; restricting care for smokers and the obese; traveling across a border to deliver your baby.

I exchanged op-eds with the Tomah Journal on this subject a while back. Among my more brilliant rhetorical ripostes:

Question: if you can’t get the treatment your doctor says you need -- not at any price -- is the health care really “universal?”

Is doing without somehow less egregious when it’s government health care?

Tomah schools settle religious freedom lawsuit

The Tomah School District has formally agreed to allow religious expression in student artwork to settle a federal lawsuit.

The Alliance Defense Fund sued the district in March on behalf of a Tomah High School student.

The student alleged an art teacher gave him a zero on an assigned drawing because he included a cross and the words "John 3:16 A sign of love" in the picture. The teacher cited a class policy that prohibited depictions of violence, blood, sex or religious beliefs in artwork.

The district also has agreed to grade the assignment, remove any records of two detentions the student received for arguing the policy and pay the student's attorney fees.

The settlement did not mention what grade the student earned.
One of my kids made references to church and Baby Jesus a couple times in early grades, doing art projects on what we do at Christmas. They were hung in the hallway just like all the other kids' artwork. But I guess we're just better, more tolerant people in Baraboo.

A couple of headlines

Ed Garvey: give it up, Hillary, we're not counting all the votes!

Here's what he said (emphasis in original):

Hillary said it again: "We are winning the popular vote." The missing caveat is, of course, "If you give me all the votes in Michigan in violation of the rules and my agreement not to count those votes; and, if you give me all my Florida votes despite the rules and an agreement among all Democratic Party candidates not to campaign in Florida's primary and not to count them, then, maybe, perhaps, possibly, I'm ahead."
So it isn’t all the votes that count – only the ones we (the Democratic Party Elite) agreed beforehand will count. If Mr. Garvey has any sense of irony at all, he had to be gagging on it while he wrote that.

McCain website links to Wisconsin blogs

BBA members Boots and Sabers and The American Mind are included in a list of...oh, let's call it 50 conservative blogs, listed on John McCain’s official website.

See how I implied that they're included because they're BBA members? Clever, huh?

You have to choose “conservative” from the drop menu on the page I linked above to find the list of conservative blogs, which is, of course, where their links are found. As Owen noticed, there aren’t any liberal blogs listed yet.

What's All That Racket?

In case you were wondering what all that noise is about, it's Florida and Michigan clapping because they believe in fairytales.

I hear all the time from people in Florida and Michigan that they want their voices heard in selecting the Democratic nominee.

Check the date on her statement. She's been harping at this for a long time.


Re: Re: Drinking The Good Kool-Aid

That saying is not as certain as one thinks it is. I hardly doubt any nation will come out openly and take responsibility for such an act. That is the out, they can talk tough but when it comes time to be tough there will be all sorts of "buts".

If you're a liberal you've always got to leave that door open, just in case you need to stick your fingers in your ears and sing "lalalala."

And, there's always the global consent card. That's a good one to play when it's too tough to actually do anything.


Florida and Michigan

With the Democrat party's primary playing out as it has do you think the residents of Michigan and Florida ought to feel slighted for not being part of the nomination process?

At this point, the rest of the country is probably looking at them with a certain amount of envy. If only the other 56 states had taken their cues from these two...


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Re: Listen to the Aussie


I've been about a bit. I spent six years resident in the Middle East and traveled once to Ireland, to Africa, a couple of times to Oman, and twice to the Philippines.

I have never felt any sort of seething anti-Americanism. In fact, a buddy of mine tells me immediately after 9/11 the students (in Dubai) were saddened and it was Euros and Soviet Canuckistanis who were telling him the USA deserved it.

The only time I detected any sort of rage/resentment over the USA was mostly when Israel was in the news in some sort of big way.

The taxi drivers who were mostly Bathanis aka Pashtuns and most of them seemed at least friendly if not openly admiring of the USA. However, I have heard stories that some of the taxi drivers are open Taliban supporters and I have heard stories about fares cutting their rides short to get out of a clearly hostile environment. Also, people told me of an area around Muscat where most people who were not Shiite best not go to.

Still, given those stories I think the idea the world hates the USA is overblown and is not so up and down as the Democrats are trying to make us think. If one looks closely one can find lots of resentment and gall being directed to the USA during the Clinton years.

Badger Bites

There's politics! There's sports! There's peanut butter! Tuck into tonight's Badger Bites.

Well that can’t be good

Ferraro suggests she may not vote for Obama

(CNN) — Geraldine Ferraro, the outspoken former Democratic vice presidential candidate and a supporter of Hillary Clinton's White House bid, told the New York Times she may not vote for Barack Obama should he be the party's nominee.

Ferraro, a former member of Clinton's finance committee who resigned that post earlier this year after making comments many viewed as racially offensive, also said she thinks the Illinois senator has been "terribly sexist" over the course of the presidential campaign.
Prediction: the Green Party is gonna have a really good year.

Listen to the Aussie

There is a teenaged immaturity about the rest of the world's relationship with the US. Whenever a serious crisis erupts somewhere, our dependence on the US becomes obvious, and many hate the US because of it. That the hatred is irrational is beside the point.

We can denounce the Yanks for being Muslim-hating flouters of international law while demanding the US rescue Bosnian Muslims from Serbia without UN authority. We can be disgusted by crass American materialism and ridiculous stockpiling of worldly goods yet also be the first to demand material help from the US when disaster strikes.

The really unfortunate part about this adolescent love-hate relationship with the US is that, unlike most teenagers, many never seem to grow out of it.
I often wonder whether “world opinion” is really as down on the U.S. as we’re continually told it is. If the only voices you heard here in the U.S. were the media/intelligentsia that usually pass for "opinion leaders," you'd think the U.S. hated the U.S., too.

Read the whole thing. Hat tip Conservative Grapevine.

Let the Veep debate officially end.

Chuck Norris: If I’m Elected Vice President.

It really doesn't matter whose presidential ticket I ride on as vice president, since America will be a Chucktatorship when I step into office.
Ha. Chucktatorship. Now I wish my name was Chuck.

Wrong place, wrong time.

But it could've been worse. Photographer speared in leg at track meet:

PROVO, Utah (AP) -- A newspaper photographer got a little too close to the action at the state high school track championships -- and was speared through the leg by a javelin.

Ryan McGeeney of the Standard-Examiner was spared serious injury Saturday, and even managed to snap a photo of his speared leg while others tended to him.

"If I didn't, it would probably be my editor's first question when I got back," McGeeney said.
You can see the photo at the link. It's not that bad, really.

This was funny:

The javelin was thrown by Anthony Miles, a Provo High School student who said his "heart just stopped" when he saw what happened.

"One of the first things that came to my mind was, 'Good thing we brought a second javelin,"' Miles' coach, Richard Vance, said Monday. He said Miles was "in a little bit of shock," but he assured the athlete it was not his fault.

With a subsequent throw, Miles went on to win the state title in javelin for teams in Provo High's size classification, 4-A.
Hey, if you can't make light of a little accidental impalement, what can you make fun of?

It's always in the last place you look.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Astronomers have found some matter that had been missing in deep space and say it is strung along web-like filaments that form the backbone of the universe.

Re: Drinking The Good Kool-Aid

Anyway, at dinner one night our liberal friend got a little unsober and started spouting off loudly. My dad tells me that he shouted something to the effect: "if we do get nuked and we know what country the nukes came from, we better damn well have a president who would push the button! "
I added the emphasis.

That saying is not as certain as one thinks it is. I hardly doubt any nation will come out openly and take responsibility for such an act. That is the out, they can talk tough but when it comes time to be tough there will be all sorts of "buts".

I was having beers with a colleague back in late '02 or early '03 and we were talking about Saddam and how we should not go after him. He constantly said if Saddam ever does anything to us he knows he will get thumped and thumped hard. I brought up the point he was not giving Saddam enough credit as Saddam would be smart enough to do any such thing in such a way his tracks were well covered.

Any nuclear device going off in one of our cities is not going to be delivered by a plane flying the flag of Iran or whatever nation is doing it. It will go off in a container that went through a number of nations on the records and probably a couple of nations off record.


I'll save you the trouble.

I know you have been waiting on the edge of your seats for some time now for the primary results from Oregon & Kentucky.

I'll save you some time so you can do something else tonight.

Kentucky: Racist
Oregon: Sexist.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Drinking The Good Kool-Aid

My dad recently went on a cruise with one of our hyper-liberal family members. This is the guy who prepares speeches for gatherings, to try and bring everyone else around to his way of thinking. I'm not kidding, I've seen his notebooks!

Anyway, at dinner one night our liberal friend got a little unsober and started spouting off loudly. My dad tells me that he shouted something to the effect: "if we do get nuked and we know what country the nukes came from, we better damn well have a president who would push the button! "

I agree. We'd better at least elect a president who's willing to put his finger on the button, look around and ask "isn't anyone gonna try to stop me?"

But, this guy can't say a republican's name without convulsing violently, so he wasn't referring to John McCain.

Was it Obama? We all know that Obama would retaliate by sending cupcakes shaped like little mushroom clouds.

Hillary? She wouldn't nuke anybody, would she? Yeah, sure, she said she would. But, nobody actually BELIEVED that baloney, did they?

One person did, I guess. It's too bad she won't be needing a running mate.


There's the silver lining!

Hey, Senator, wanna be Veep?

The Hill asked all 97 senators who are not running for president the same question: “If you were asked, would you accept an offer to be the VP nominee?”

Some senators laughed, but others took the question seriously. A story about these responses appears in the May 13 print edition of The Hill and at

Here's how our Senators answered:

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.)
“If a candidate literally says, ‘You’re the person,’ I’d have to consider it, but I prefer to do what I’m doing.”
Could the interviewer see both of Feingold's hands when he answered the question? Because I bet his fingers were crossed.

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.)
“No. Never thought about it.”
Yes, but...

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.)
“Are you kidding? Every senator would accept that offer. My guess is that almost every senator looks at themselves in the mirror in the morning and sees either a future president or vice president.”
Well, that's probably honest. So's this:

Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah)
“Of course. Big house, big car, not much to do. Why not?”
Well, you have to sit in the Senate and listen to them drone on and on and on. But then, he's doing that already, isn't he?

This one's just weird:

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho)
“I would say ‘No, Hillary.’”
Funny, but geez. You'd think if there were one Senator they wouldn't bother asking, it would be him. Or at least you'd think Craig would answer with something like: "What, are you kidding? Don't you watch the news?"

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
“If I were asked, I would say, ‘You’re out of your mind.’ ”
That's what Craig should have said.


Man attacks bus driver, commandeers vehicle

Milwaukee County sheriff's deputies are searching for a man who commandeered a transit bus after attacking the driver.

Surveillance video shows a man in a red sweatshirt and bandanna boarding the bus in Milwaukee Wednesday, then pummeling the driver.

Deputies say the man grabbed the steering wheel, hit the gas and sent the bus through an intersection and into a tree.

The suspect fled from the bus and remains at large.

The sheriff's department released surveillance video Thursday.
“Commandeer.” Odd choice of words, don’t you think? Technically accurate, but with a connotation of legitimate authority. How about “seizes" vehicle?

And now that I've been snarky over minutiae, I hope everyone on the bus is okay, especially the driver. The story doesn't say.

Real life Iron Man

Raytheon Company is working on a super-strength exoskeleton:

Raytheon Company’s newest research facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, is developing a robotic suit for the soldier of tomorrow. Known as the Exoskeleton, it’s essentially a wearable robot that amplifies its wearer’s strength, endurance, and agility. In its May issue, Popular Science magazine likens the Exoskeleton to the “Iron Man”® in the movie of the same name and suggests a blurring of the lines between science fiction and reality.

Built from a combination of sensors, actuators and controllers, the futuristic suit enables a user to easily carry a man on his back or lift 200 pounds several hundred times without tiring. Yet the suit, which is being developed for the U.S. Army, is also agile enough to let its wearer kick a soccer ball, punch a speed bag, and climb stairs and ramps with ease.

What I wonder is: why was the guy testing it wearing a helmet?

Seeing that story reminded me of this one from last week:

Years ago, aviation enthusiast and inventor Yves Rossy dreamed of soaring through the sky like a bird.

In 2006 that dream took flight.

Known as Switzerland’s "Fusion Man," Rossy in November 2006 became the first man in the world to fly with wings and four jet engines strapped to his body; on Wednesday he displayed that talent to the world.
There's pictures at the above link, as well as links to video:

The pilot - Yves Rossy - has a website, but it’s in French or something.

86-year-old shipwreck found in Lake Michigan

I love stuff like this:

On the night of July 19, 1922, a 101-foot wooden tugboat steamer named the Robert C. Pringle hit something in Lake Michigan about six miles offshore of Sheboygan, and sank to the bottom like a rock.

The crew scrambled into lifeboats, made their way onto another ship that was being towed by the Pringle and steamed on to their destination in Ohio. For nearly 86 years, the wreck of the Pringle lay undisturbed 300 feet below the surface.

That was until May 10, when divers from a crew put together by Steve Radovan, a longtime Sheboygan maritime historian, were able to lower themselves into the 38-degree water with a video camera and lights to identify the Pringle and capture images of the old tugboat, remarkably in near pristine condition.
None of those images are anywhere online that I could find.

I did google Robert Pringle, and found out there’s a lot of people named Robert Pringle. Then I googled Robert C. Pringle, and found out there’s plenty of them, too.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Two Minutes (Give Or Take A Few) To Conceive, Nine Months To Gestate, Fifteen Minutes To Birth, Fourteen Months To Process The Bill

We just received our first bill, or any notice of any kind from the hospital, for the birth of our son. He's fourteen months old, meaning that the billing cycle was 425 days!

I'm asking the question: is that legal? If so, why? Come on over and read my ranting. I've tried to have a good sense of humor about this, but the truth is I'm furious. I really think someone's head ought to roll. This seems like a pretty big screw up to me, given that the same institution has managed to turn another bill around for us within a week. Anyway, here's a select quote to get you interested in reading the rest:

You may ask: what dollar amount is appropriate and not too embarrassing to request a year later without any heads-up to your customer? My answer, of course, is zero. But, I probably would’ve paid up to a hundred or so without saying a word just to get it over with.

Fat people blamed for global warming

Dang you fat people!

As if they didn’t already have enough problems on their hands fat people are now being blamed for global warming.
I'll bet the writer at least thought about starting out with: "As if they didn't already have enough on their plates..."

British scientists say they use up more fuel to transport them around and the amount of food they eat requires more energy to produce than that consumed by those on smaller diets.

According to a team at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine this adds to food shortages and higher energy prices.

Researchers Phil Edwards said: “We are all becoming heavier and it is a global responsibility. Obesity is a key part of the big picture."
The dateline is May 17. Funny - this story's been around for a long time already. I've even covered it myself, here and here.

McCain makes age jokes on SNL

Via Townhall:

John McCain is 71 years old, and his age has provided late-night comics with some easy punch lines. On "Saturday Night Live," he joined in.

"I ask you, what should we be looking for in our next president?" McCain said. "Certainly, someone who is very, very, very old."
Funny line. Too bad the whole thing wasn't as funny:

He also appeared on the "Weekend Update" segment:

That was a lot funnier. Still not as funny as Huckabee was, though:

That was in February. And, because we're all about fairness and equal time here at the BBA, Clinton and Obama:

UN Functionary to Investigate Human Rights in the U.S.

Is this a joke? Apparently not:

GENEVA (Reuters) - A special U.N. human rights investigator will visit the United States this month to probe racism, an issue that has forced its way into the race to secure the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

The United Nations said Doudou Diene would meet federal and local officials, as well as lawmakers and judicial authorities during the May 19-June 6 visit.

"The special rapporteur will...gather first-hand information on issues related to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance," a U.N. statement said on Friday.
Did they send a similar functionary to the former Yugoslavia? How about Sudan? Iraq? North Korea? China? Cuba?

His three-week visit, at U.S. government invitation, will cover eight cities -- Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Omaha, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Race has become a central issue in the U.S. election cycle because Sen. Barack Obama, the frontrunner in the battle for the Democratic nomination battle, stands to become the country's first African American president.
A (half) black guy is in position to become the next President. Hmm. I wonder if that'll count in our favor?

His campaign has increased turnout among black voters but has also turned off some white voters in a country with a history of slavery and racial segregation.
Guess not.

Diene, a Senegalese lawyer who has served in the independent post since 2002, will report his findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council next year.
How's Senegal's human rights record, I wonder? (Answer: not great, but hardly among the worst.)

Nope, not a joke, although it sounds like one. Ann Althouse wonders how the guy can make a full report on a country of 300 million in 3 weeks. Heck, we all know the answer to that one: he's already got his conclusion. He'll spend the three weeks turning everything he hears into evidence for that conclusion.

She titled her post "Deep Doudou." That's the guy's name. Ha.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Light blogging, steak sandwiches

Not that anybody's gonna be reading this over a nice weekend like the one we've got ahead of us, but since my weekend is jam packed, there'll be precious little blogging coming from me for the next couple days.

If you're anywhere near Baraboo tomorrow, Saturday, you should do yourself a favor and come to the square. Twice a year, the downtown business association hosts a Faire on the Square - lots of art booths, live music, etc.

But the real reason to come down is the sandwich booth the men's group at my church - the Brotherhood of St. Andrew - runs. We make an oak-grilled, sirloin tip sandwich on a toasted roll, with grilled onions and salsa and jalapenos to taste. It is the best sandwich you have ever had. And I mean: The. Best. Sandwich.

Seriously, think of the best sandwich you've ever had. Now think of something so good that it makes that sandwich, it wasn't bad. Not great. It was okay.

Our sandwiches are even better than that.

And all the proceeds go to local charities, so you can feel good about packing three or four of them away.

Come on by and say hello. I'll be working the grill.

Blogging the Democratic National Convention

Via Townhall:

Democrats have chosen 55 bloggers who will be granted access to the national convention in Denver this summer.

The "State Blogger Corps" includes one blogger from each state plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and one blogger representing Democrats abroad.
Does anybody know who the blogger from Wisconsin is?