Friday, February 18, 2005

Clearly the Bush Administration is to Blame

somehow for the climate changes leading to this city being buried for millenia. Perhaps a gap in the space/time continuum or something.


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Must be Written into His Contract

"If an employee gets it wrong I get a little anal."--John travolta

http://www.contactmusic.com/new/xmlfeed.nsf/mndwebpages/travolta%20im%20anal


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Classic Debate Tactics

In exactly the kind of nuanced, tightly reasoned form of argumentation we have come to expect from liberals, a man at a debate last night threw a shoe at former Bush official Richard Perle.


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Thursday, February 17, 2005

For Arianna

Teach for America Chews Up, Spits Out Another Ethnic Studies Major

Although Cuellen quit the program early, his mother said he was with TFA long enough for it "to crack open his bones and suck out the marrow inside."

"Andy is a ghost," Beverly Cuellen said. "Those [TFA] people beat the idealism out of him, then they stomped on him while he lay there gasping for air."

TFA regional coordinator Sandra Richman said it is common to blame the TFA employees for the organization's high plow-through rate.

"Should I have said something to wake those kids up sooner?" Richman said, crushing out her seventh cigarette. "Probably. But listen, no one can tell you that you can't make a difference. It's something you have to figure out for yourself."


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If We Don't Do It, Who Will

That used to be PBS's tag line. Until it became obvious that the answer was: Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, A&E, Bravo, National Geographic, BBC America...

So, PBS finds itself in trouble. They have financial troubles both from corporate backers and the government backers. They have troubles from conservatives of two stripes: those who don't see the need for government to fund TV at all, and those who don't see the need to fund the leftist leanings of PBS. They have internal squabbling. Concerned, apparently, that things were not as bad as they could be, they chose to run a segment on popular kids cartoon, Arthur, showing a character visiting a lesbian family.

Smooth move, PBS. Perfect timing.

As a personal note: my wife and I are finding it increasingly difficult to find TV stations or even shows that it is acceptable to let our kids watch without our being in the room. We aren't prudes and don't have hang ups about other's homosexuality; we just don't think it is an appropriate topic for 2 and 4 year olds. Now we have to scotch Arthur from our list. Sigh.


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Google Tip of the Day

Check out Googlefight.com Enter two nouns and let google see which is referenced more. For example, God vs. Satan or Bush vs. Kerry.

I think we all know where this is leading.


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But They Shouldn't be Bound by Kyoto, Right?

because that wouldn't be "fair". China emerges as global consumer.


China has overtaken the US in the consumption of basic agricultural and industrial goods...

This report says they use 2.5 times the amount of steel and 40% more coal than the US. Think their current environmental standards match ours? I wouldn't count on it. As P.J. O'Rourke once said about pollution in the Soviet Union: I'd like to grab his head (an environmentalist) and dunk it in the River Volga. In China such an act could be considered attempted murder:
Experts also say that more than three-quarters of the water flowing through
China's cities is unsuitable for drinking because of pollution from industrial
waste, according to our correspondent.

MMMMM, commulishious.


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Candidate Wanted

Must be willing to be scapegoat for next successful terrorist attack on US. Must be willing to attempt to merge two of the most powerful governemental agencies in the United States. It should be noted that these agencies hate each other, have conflicting goals and operational boundaries, often find themselves in conflict with your new boss, get no credit for successes and all blame for failures. It should also be noted that these two agenices will be merged with 13 other agencies rife with internicene conflict. You will have 1 direct report but must also indirectly report to 535 people, half of whom hate your boss and are looking to use you to undermine him.

Where do you find such a person? Look for the man who was crazy enough to take his previous job: Ambassador to Iraq.


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If you ain't Muslim, you ain't Shiite

Shiites Win Majority of New Iraq Assembly

Just wanted an excuse to post that title. But on a serious note, despite the seriously odd argument of the NYT yesterday, an election in which no one group got an overwhelming majority is clearly a good thing for Iraq. Forcing hrose trading and coalition building is much better than one side clearly being able to dominate the religious and ethnic minorities.

In order to remain firmly negative on any story coming out of Iraq, the Times was forced to argue that it would have been better had the Shiites won really big and wouldn't have to negotiate with Sunnis or Kurds. Not a shining moment for the Times.


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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I guess we all try to do our part

According to the New Sex Institute, the Most Sexually Adventurous State in America is...

big MO.


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About 15 Years After it bid Farewell to Him

George Michael Bids Farewell to Pop World


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It's Official: NHL Season called off

I am giddy with delight. No Blues games interfering with Cardinals baseball this spring. Excellent.


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Kyoto

Having failed in the past, I'll try once more to bait Tolles into this argument. Here is the report from the WaPo: Kyoto Treaty Takes Effect Today/Impact on Global Warming May Be Largely Symbolic.

Largely symbolic, eh? Sounds like something we should be totally willing to jeopardize our economy to back. On the other hand, we keep having this discussion about headline writers only having a vague idea what the actual article is about so let's go right to the text. First sentence:

The Kyoto treaty to reduce global warming goes into effect today after seven years of wrangling, harangues, and dramatic entrances and exits by Russia and the United States.
When, exactly, was the dramatic entrance by the United States? We have never come close to being a signature to this treaty. In fact, the absolute closest we came was when President Clinton mentioned Kyoto out loud once, prompting the Senate to pass a "Sense of the Senate" resolution. The vote on that resolution was 95-0 against Kyoto. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Clinton never presented the Kyoto Protocol resolution for signing. Click read more:

Emissions of carbon dioxide will continue to rise, many of the cuts in greenhouse gases claimed under Kyoto probably would have happened anyway, and its future could be derailed by the stony opposition of the Bush administration. Supporters acknowledge those realities but argue that the real impact of the treaty is not tangible. "The greatest value is symbolic," said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change...
Wait, supporters admit CO2 emissions will continue to rise and cuts in greenhouse gases will happen anyway?? Hmmm. Methinks this is more about politics than science. Sure enough page two of the article points out that developing nations such as India and China are exempt from emissions controls. Says an EU spokesman:

"You can't expect developing countries to waive their right to grow because the
industrialized countries for the last 100 years have eaten all the cake,"...
A good and fair political point. But is this about politics or is it about saving the planet? If we are in mortal danger of ruining the planet it doesn't really matter whether it is US CO2 emissions or Chinese CO2 emissions, does it? If by 2010 developing countries are responsible for the majority of emissions, allowing them to continue apace for fairness sake doesn't make sense. Then, oddly, this point is made by a pro-Kyoto man:

"You can't solve global warming by increasing emissions," said Jeremy Symons,
manager of the global warming program at the National Wildlife Federation, an
advocacy group. "That is what we are doing now. That is what President Bush is
doing. You can't stop an environmental problem by increasing pollution."
But, by admission this is what Kyoto is doing, too. It is just a different set of countries benefiting.

Back to page one of the article:

Global temperatures are indisputably rising...
Actually, there is a great deal of dispute over this. It depends upon what time frame you use, whether you are measuring air, water, or land temperatures and where the temperatures are taken. For a tiny bit of insight into this issue check out this discussion of a NYT correction. Note the last paragraph where we find that if we cherry pick the years 1965-1995 we see a 5.4 degree rise in temperature in Alaska. If we chose 1972-2002 instead we see a 2.5 degree temperature change. Picking the start and end points accounts for over half the temperature fluctuation. Also, check out the larger point of the article which is that one should be wary of global warming statistics, at least as they are reported in the NYT.

...and, while there are persistent skeptics, the vast majority of scientists say human activity is to blame.
I think a modifier is in order here. Perhaps: "largely to blame" or "partially to blame". The idea that humans are 100% to blame for rises in temperatures is, I suspect, nonsense. Even the most hardened environmentalists concede that temperatures fluctuate naturally and that the 18th and 19th centuries were the end of an epoch called "the little ice age" because temperatures had fallen below "normal". I'd also like to see the fact checking behind "the vast majority" of scientists. The vast majority of scientists have nothing to do with climate issues at all. I had a friend in grad school doing his dissertation on climate policy. He was a committed global warming believer, but told me that the relevant scientific community was split into thirds: one third were believers in global warming, one third were very skeptical, and one third were unsure. I'd have to be convinced that the entire middle third had been converted before I would believe the "vast majority" line.
Rising temperatures have already been linked to impacts on agriculture, coastal areas and public health.
Yes, and the sun rises in the east. The idea that it is some kind of scientific finding that temperature has an impact on agriculture is a little odd. Oh, by the way the article fails to mention that the impacts here would be largely positive.

Melting ice caps could raise sea levels and inundate coastal areas, scientists say. Changes in ocean temperature could disrupt the Gulf Stream and make Europe much colder, said Annie Petsonk, international counsel at Environmental Defense, an advocacy organization.

And, thus, we leave the science portion of the segment and turn to the science fiction portion. Yes, all these speculative things could happen.

Tropical diseases such as malaria are spreading into new areas as a result of climate change in Africa...
Well yes. Climate change and the banning of DDT. The fact of the matter is we could virtually eradicate malaria for a fraction of the yearly cost of Kyoto on the US economy. It takes real guts for environmentalists to complain about malaria, having spent so much time and effort banning the best known defense against it. Kudos, Ken Newcombe, kudos.



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WHAT???

One of my readers actually asked to see the dissertation. To quote an article review I once processed: "No good can come from this".


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Tammuz III: Israel/America Attacks?

There are reports of a loud explosion in Bushehr, Iran this morning. Bushehr is one of the sites where the Iranians are believed to be building a nuclear power plant.

In 1981 the Israelis destroyed Tammuz, an Iraqi nuclear facility said to be on the verge of giving Saddam true nuclear capabilities.

In 1991 the Americans destroyed Tammuz II, Saddam's second attempt.

There have been rumors of American drones flying over Iran recently. Whether todays' rumbles from Iran are an attack on a nuclear facility or not, we seem to be headed that direction. Seems like such an attack coupled with continued support of the democracy movement in Iran is a much better option than war.

President Bush has suggested that there would be different means to the end in different countries. With Iraq at the war end of the continuum and North Korea at the diplomatic end, Iran seems to fall somewhere in the middle. No?


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Breaking News

I get breaking news updates e-mailed to me from ABC.com and CNN.com. One thing I have noticed over time is that ABC.com is always 5 minutes or so faster to my inbox than CNN.com. On the other hand, if you click the link to the ABC news story, they don't have a story posted on their website. CNN does. I think ABC's strategy is to get the headline out quickly while the write up is still being done. CNN waits to have the write up online, then breaks the story.

If you watch the television stations, all news stations will break the story before the details are in place (before they have a write up ready). That means that CNN's internet strategy actually slows down slightly their breaking news feature. Odd to see the internet slowing down the transfer of information.


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Dissertation Update

For those who know me: the dissertation is done. I expect to hear from my advisor today that everyone is signing off. Yesterday he sent a brilliant e-mail to them that basically said: "Hey, he did everything we asked him to do, he was responsive to all our issues, you could come by my office and read the final draft if you really, really felt you needed to, but otherwise just tell me you are willing to sign off."

Incidentally, my advisor has a point. The final edits were minor and I detailed them in a 6 page letter to the committee. Rereading the whole dissertation would have been an enormous waste of their time. So, next week I go to turn in paperwork and here the words my advisor tells all his PhD graduates: "You are no longer educatable; go get a job".


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Google Tip of the Day

Google is testing a new search feature called API promimity. You enter two words and how close together you want google to search. Google searches the AP feeds. For example, tell google you want to find "Rumsfeld's" within one word of "war" and it finds anywhere in AP that "Rumsfeld's War" has been written. Sort of a poor man's Lexis-Nexis.


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Web Site of the Day

A new Smoking Gun feature called "Hot Felons". Personally, I think their second effort, "More Hot Felons" is a little better.

Note that they are all from Florida. So if you like bad girls, pack your bags and get moving.


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Saturday, February 12, 2005

New Special Interest Group

Have you seen the Sprint commercial where the guy gets off the bus, looks out on a group playing football and asks: "Parents against Kids"?

It turns out it is a parents against kids football game, but the way he says it, it sounds like a support group of some kind.


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Looks Like the MSM Picked the Wrong Week to Stop Smoking Crack

CNN's Jordan Resigns Over Iraq Remarks

While liberals are high fiving over outing some unknown, conservative internet reporter, CNN's chief news executive, Eason Jordan, has stepped down to kill the controversy over his assertion that the American military was targeting journalists in Iraq.

Keep in mind that this comes on top of his admitting that CNN killed stories that reflected poorly on Saddam Hussein so they could maintain a Baghdad bureau.

Oh yeah, he also is the CNN executive who bragged about warning the king of Jordan about an upcoming assassination attempt while refusing to let his reporters inform US troops about imminent attacks on them.


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Democrats Ready to Follow Howard Dean's Lead

Right off the cliff


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Probably Diverted from Thailand

This is aid?

...Some are labeled ``Aid for Tsunami Victims,'' but their contents - ... stiletto shoes,... thong panties and even Viagra - have left Sri Lankans scratching their heads.


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I Learned it from YOU mom

Mom Allegedly Beats Sons Over Marijuana

SMYRNA, Ga. - A mother has been arrested for throwing cans of beer at her
children and beating her oldest son after he refused to roll joints for her, police said.


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If I had a Nickel...

Actor Tom Sizemore Fails Drug Test with Fake Penis


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Google tip of the Day

Go to www.googlerace.com.

Enter a search word and google will find which presidential candidate from 2004 had the word applied to him most often.

For instance, type in 'Moonbat' and find out that John Kerry was described that way more than any other candidate. In one last instance of potential agreement with Tolles, I'll note that this is not fair....

Clearly, Dennis Kucinich is the true moonbat of 2004.


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Friday, February 11, 2005

Google Tip of the Day

Not really a tip, but a fun fact:

check out www.googlism.com. Type in your name and google tells you what the web is saying about you. For example, among other things:

Max Power is all about fighting...

Max Power is awesome...

Max Power is thinking loud...

Max Power is awful... or...

Tolles is headed in the right direction

Tolles is a master


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Ghostwritten by the Left Wing

I note that the new al Qaeda tape states that the US and our allies are the "problem, not the solution."

Recall that the last Osama bin Laden tape had him pointing out that President Bush was reading "My Pet Goat" while the attacks of September 11th began.

Perhaps Senator Kennedy and Michael Moore should be looking into plagerism suits.

Moore's suit could offset the one filed by one of bin Laden's associates who took the footage Moore used in Farenheit 9/11.


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Article Title of the Day

I am Not a Jackass

In which, a writer responds to a scathing book review he recieved in the NYT last year. Both are worth a read.


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Thursday, February 10, 2005

New Ukrainian Prime Minister

Yet another reason to be glad Yushchenko won the Ukrainian election. Meet his new Prime Minister, Yulia Timoshenko. Quite a doll, no?


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Note the Flowers

Apparently, she is a big hit among the men in Parliment.

The key is the combination of the "yearning to be free librarian" look and the Princess Leia head bun.

Yulia Timoshenko pic


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Ukraine: Where a Glimpse of Stocking is Still a Little Shocking

Stylish heels and all...

Yulia Timoshenko, Ukrainian Prime Minister pic


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On the Other Hand

Beware the possibility that this is a "before" and "after" view of Ukrainian women.

Yulia Timoshenko pic


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For Mike

Hey,

So I actually went to the Washington Times article in question and read it. You stated:
The Times doesn't provide actual quotes or even context, mind you, it just describes "several Democrats likening the measure to the Holocaust.
From the WaTimes article:

Sen. Mamie E. Locke, who is black, told her colleagues she opposed the amendment and quoted civil rights leader Martin Luther King and the Rev. Martin Niemoeller, a Protestant pastor best known for stating that the Germans failed to speak out against the Nazis.
And:
"It is xenophobia that led to the rise of Nazism in Germany and fascism in Italy. It is homophobia that brings us to this place in time today," the Hampton Democrat said. "There are just some issues about which one cannot remain silent, especially those issues that chip away at the rights of human beings because they are different, and because that difference makes us uncomfortable."
And:
Sen. Janet D. Howell said Nazis "exterminated" homosexuals after branding them with pink triangles and passing a series of restrictive laws.
And:

"It was incremental, one step after another down the path to the death camps," the Fairfax County Democrat said. "In Virginia today, we do not require pink triangles. We stigmatize and marginalize people in other ways as we go down a path that we don't know where it will end."


So the Times in fact does offer both quotes and context. And, I did mention that the original piece was from the Times. And, I admit their owner is a nutcase. And, since you snarked me on one earlier, I'll point out that you spelled Democrats thusly: Drmocrats. This spell-checks to "Drunkards", for what it is worth. I think we are done with this one.


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Words of Wisdom from My Daughter

"It would be funny if you could play guitar with a pickle."


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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Google Tip of the Day

To check out sites or pages added today go to www.freshgoo.com


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The State of The Church

According to an article in the WaPo today, approzimately 39,200 American couples requested an annulment in 2002. 32,200 were granted. This is up from fewer than 350 in 1968.

Two orders of magnitude in a little over 30 years. The Church has not covered herself in grace on this issue.


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Defending the indefensible

It is an anti-Bush week here for me. I thought of writing this one up in the style of Tolles, but I know a couple of women who peruse notsomuch and, old-fashioned guy that I am, I can't use that kind of language. Nonetheless, here is another serious problem with/from the Bush administration:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 - The Bush administration offered a new estimate of the cost
of the Medicare drug benefit on Tuesday, saying it would cost $720 billion in the next 10 years.That is much more than the $400 billion Congress assumed when it passed legislation creating the benefit in late 2003.

How do they explain this?:
But administration officials said the numbers were not comparable. The original
estimate was for the years 2004 to 2013. The new estimate covers the period from
2006, when the drug benefit becomes available, to 2015.

Oh I get it. The $400 billion estimate was for 2004 to 2013, a ten year time period while the new estimates are from 2006 to 2015 a... wait a minute here. A two year difference in starting the program is what they are blaming an 80% budget overrun on? And...mark me down as agreeing with Rahm Emmanuel (another rarity):
Mr. Emanuel said: "The new cost estimate destroys the credibility of the Bush
administration. Officials were so far off in estimating the cost of the Medicare law. Why should we believe what they say about the financial problems of Social Security?"

The Democrats have a golden opportunity to run with the issue of fiscal sanity. To pull it off they have to show that they are genuinely committed to bringing the budget back in line. Not sure I'd hold my breath on that one.


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Ugh

"The Virginia Senate yesterday approved a constitutional amendment that defines traditional marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The Senate voted 30-10 to pass the amendment after an emotional 30-minute debate during which several Democrats likened the measure to the Holocaust."--Washington Times, Feb. 8

From Opinion Journal's Best of the Web


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Here's a Shocker

Kim Jong Il upset by Team America portrayal.

Guess Matt and Trey won't be getting that invite to Pyongyang they so desperately covet.


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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Be Careful What You Wish For

Haven't the Democrats had enough of a DNC chairman who is a loud-mouth money-raiser?

Apparently, Howard Dean is the last man standing in the race to be DNC chairman. So, barring some bizarre screaming behavior the night before the vote, the Dems have their man. Two things I find noteworthy:

First, I feel kind of like Pauline Kael after Nixon won. I don't know any Democrats who wanted Dr. Dean to be head of the DNC. Obviously they are out there, but all the Dems I know were passionately against Dean.

Second, all the Republicans I know were passionately for Dean as they think he'll hurt the dems. Beware. Remember the rule of unintended consequences.


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Rounding out the Groin Related Trio...

Is this news out of London:

LONDON
(Reuters) - A Welsh rugby fan cut off his own testicles to celebrate Wales beating England at rugby, the Daily Mirror reported Tuesday.



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Silly Rabbi, Those Tricks are for Adults

Disturbing news from the world of Judaism. Check out the fourth paragraph.


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Kerry Redux

After the 2000 election, Rolling Stone Magazine came out with a big story the gist of which was that Al Gore really didn't lie or exaggerate at all, it was all part of the vast right wing media conspiracy. Based on the last sentence in this article on John Kerry, I expect we'll see similar revisionism with Kerry.


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Craig Ferguson on the Late, Late Show

So I found a copy of People magazine on a plane a couple of weeks ago. I finally got around to reading it and came across a little Q&A with Craig Ferguson. He took over the Late, Late Show about a month ago. His thoughts on the Late, Late show?

I hope people expect a good laugh.

Actually, I've seen the show. He should lower expectations.
We're working on a section called "Bob Saget gets hit in the [groin]..."

Understand. They are "working" on that section. Apparently, with high art like that it takes a while to really develop the bit. Come on. How much thought goes into a "football to the groin" bit?


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Google tip of the day

You can track fedex packages and airline departures or arrivals from google. Just type:

fedex: XXXXXXXXXXXXX

or

southwest air: XXXX or american air: XXXX

The airline tracking will bring up three options: FBOweb, Travelocity, or Expedia.

In my experience: FBOweb is the slowest on getting an accurate arrival time, but auto-updates every minute, which is nice. they also have a nice graphic letting you know where the plane is currently. Travelocity is quick on getting the correct arrival time, but their real time graphic is not as nice. Expedia is also pretty quick on arrival time but their graphic sometimes doesn't load.


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Monday, February 07, 2005

Wow, the Whole State?

Arid Arizona Points to Global Warming as Culprit

The WaPo has a nice scoop here. Apparently, the state of Arizona has decided global warming is to blame for a drought there. The article is not totally clear if they had a referendum on it or if everyone in the state quietly went to ASU school of climatology and wrote a joint thesis.

Let's give the writers the benefit of the doubt and blame the editor who wrote the headline. I'd rather look at a different aspect of the piece:

Arizona gets its water from groundwater and rivers such as the massive Colorado, a 1,450-mile waterway that supplies water to seven states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
The recent drought and changing weather patterns have shrunk the western snowpack and drained the region's two biggest reservoirs, lakes Mead and Powell, to half their capacity.

Without going back down the global warming path right now, it should be noted (and isn't in the article) that the overwhelming main reason behind Lakes Mead and Powell and the Colorado River being down is that Los Angeles takes more and more water every year and Las Vegas is growing at an unbelievable rate. This ABC report estimates 5,000 a month but also reports that the city needed to add 2000 teachers last year which suggests a growth rate well over 100,000 people a year. They are in the process of adding 88 new schools right now and have tripled the number of hospitals in recent years.

Anyway, when you double the population of a desert town over a 5 year period you will inevitably tax the water resources. Not to deny the climate change possibility, but Las Vegas is an example of another way humans affect the environment that ought to be kept in mind.


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And That Lesson is: stay away from the crazy bitch down the street

From 9news.com:

The story unfolded when teens Taylor Ostergaard, 17, and Lindsey Jo Zellitti, decided to bake chocolate chip and sugar cookies and place them outside their neighbors' doors with large red or pink construction-paper hearts that carried the message, "Have a great night" and were signed with their first initials: "Love, The T and L Club."

The trouble began when they approached the home of Wanita Renea Young, 49. Young said she heard someone banging on the door of her rural home late in the evening.

Young said she was so frightened, she spent the night at her sister's home, then went to the hospital the next morning because she was still shaking and had an upset
stomach.

The teens offered to pay Young's medical bills but she insisted on going to small claims court. Judge Doug Walker, after hearing the teens' explanation, awarded medical costs but declined to order punitive damages.

"The victory wasn't sweet," Young said. "I'm not gloating about it. I just hope the girls learned a lesson."


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Super Bowl Commercial comments

Just a couple of quick ones:

Favorite ad: the Budweiser sky diving ad. Got a good laugh from 3 generations of my family.

worst ad: the Cadillac coming out of the tunnel. Simple and boring. Side note: as they show the Caddy "blazing" out of the tunnel with the shaky camera work, they do a quick cut to the interior of the car. the speedometer reads between 30 and 35 MPH.


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Strange Bedfellows

Evangelical Christians and environmentalists.

Two great tastes that taste great together? I haven't seen an odd couple like this since feminists and Christians joined forces to combat porn.


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Classic Paul McCartney Move

People tended to see The Beatles as the "safe" band (compared to the bad boy Rolling Stones). Something I have always found giggleworthy is that The Beatles were free to get away with things that other groups couldn't. My very conservative dad to this day sings Beatles songs and has no idea that they are filled with drug references.

Anyway, after last year's halftime debacle, the folks at the super bowl decided to go safe this year with a performance by Paul McCartney. We don't want any concerns about decency this year. So what does Paul do? Click read more:

He sings "Get Back", a song with two verses: one about a guy driving to California to pick up some pot and the second about a transvestite. And no one bats an eye because "Hey, he was a Beatle".


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Potential Second Agreement of the Day

Truly, the four horsemen must be gathering.

I think I may have found a second point of agreement with Tolles. There is an article in the WaPo today (second article from the top) about Newt Gingrich. While I think he is a pretty smart strategist and his influence on the politics of the last 10 years can't be denied, I never liked the guy.

Anyhoo, I though Tolles might like the following quotes:

The author wrote that as he began an interview with Robert J. Dole, the former
Senate majority leader said with a wry smile and faint twinkle: "So you're doing a hatchet job on Newt, huh? Wouldn't be hard."

God bless you, Bob Dole. And...
"The Clinton White House figured out how to play Newt. They would put the Time
cover with Newt as Man of the Year on the coffee table in front of where they would have Newt sit. Newt would come back into leadership meetings from the White House and tell us how the White House understood his significance."


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Google Tip of the Day

No matter how much information you enter in google, google only looks for the first 10 words of your search. Couple this with the knowledge that google doesn't search for a lot of articles or prepositions.

So, if you wanted to find out who said: "To be or not to be, that is the question", you need a strategy better than just typing this into google. Google reads this as: "or not question" and it actually doesn't read the "or" but tells you it would if you captialized it for a boolian search.

On the other hand, if you typed in "* * * not * * * * * Question, whether tis nobler", you will find your answer quickly. The asterisks are wildcards used to denote "any word goes here". The asterisks do not count against your 10 word limit.


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An Austere Budget?

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

We need a new exclamation point. One that denotes: "This is funny, laugh now". Our new punctuation mark could go after sentences like these two from Senator John McCain:

With the deficits that we're now running, I'm glad the president is coming over with a very austere budget.

I hope we in Congress will have the courage to support it.

The "austere" budget to which McCain refers is a 2.5 trillion dollar plan that still manages to run up 487 billion in new debt this year. It is part of a FIVE year plan to get that 487 billion dollar deficit down to a measly 245 billion dollars (per year) by 2009. Why 2009? Standard presidential trick. President Bush will no longer be in office in 2009 and will, therefore, not be held accountable.

It is rare that Tolles and I agree on something. I suspect we agree on the outrageousness of this. Can middle east peace be far behind?

Your reward for reading past the jump? Here is a bonus bit from the NYTs:
Agriculture Department officials said Mr. Bush's proposals would cut federal
payments to farmers by $587 million, or about 5 percent, next year and would
save $5.7 billion in the coming decade.

587 million dollars, huh? Well, that takes care of about 1/766th of the problem. Only 99.87% of the problem to go.


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Thursday, February 03, 2005

No Bias Here

Here is another news article that Tolleses of the world see as completely objective and unobjectionable:

Only One Side Told in Bush Soc. Sec. Pitch


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Factor Fear?

I've got to disagree with H-man on his "Losing is good for you" post. While it is the kind of sentiment I would expect from a Titans fan, it needs to be fleshed out a little more.

H-man says "how can your Illini know anything about themselves if they've never been in a fight?"

Well, they have. They went to overtime against Iowa and had to come back from a sizable deficit against Wisconsin at Wisconsin (which had the nation's longest home winning streak). the fact is they have been in fights. They have won them. What they have learned about themselves is that they kick ass. You never hear a coach say before a game "Our kids really need to learn what losing is like"? It's nonsense. Sure, after they lose the coach will say "It is a good experience for our boys to get humbled, it'll put some fear into them before the tourney". But, that doesn't mean the players or the fans should take that any more seriously than the hundreds of other jock cliches we hear every night.

Illini: Don't lose. Instead, go out and give 110% every night.


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Google Tip of the Day

You can use google as a calculator. Just type in your equation and hit enter.

For example: 1865/17


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Least Insightful Headline of the Day

Issue Expected To Be Toughest Domestic Battle


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Headline of the Day

Dummer prep school mulls name change


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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

"The Opposite of Defeated," or why the Factor should Fear

No man should confuse Dallas with Dynasty. Just as no man should confuse regular-season winning streaks with anything of import. There's only one streak you should be looking for, Factorman, and that's the six-game undefeated streak it takes to win it all in March. Remember all those great Stanford teams that won a million regular season games, then lost early in the tourney? Me neither. I'm telling you--LOSE. Lose early, and lose ugly. Come out flat, fall apart in the second half, get crushed on a half-court buzzer-beater, just lose SOMEHOW. That Michigan State game was the perfect opportunity to cough one up to a quality opponent on the road, and still protect your number-1 seed, and you blew it. There won't be many others. LOSE.

I think Tyler Durden said it best--how can your Illini know anything about themselves if they've never been in a fight?




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J.R., Miniskirts and Not Losing

I sware if I hear one more person use the word "dynasty" I'm going on a killing spree with a nail gun and a blowtorch. Unless it's in regard to a "Dynasty" reunion, in which case The Factor will be watching. Although I don't imagine JR has aged well and half the cast is probably in rehab. But a man can dream, right?

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Seriously, why is the mainstream sports media so freakin' eager to label someone a dynasty. You can't hear anything about the Patriots without them overusing that word. I think time has proven that parity has greatly benefitted the NFL. Why mess with success?
We also have to hear every other reporter talk about Tom Brady, the genious 6th round QB. You know what? The Pats lucked out. Did New England take Brady in the sixth expecting the guy to inherit the Montana monicker? Yeah, right. When you take a QB in the sixth round in the NFL, you think, "Hey this guy might turn into a serviceable back-up one day." People occaisionally come from the bottom of the heap to the top. That's the NFL. Just don't go saying that they knew it was going to happen.
Dynasties make sports BORING. What good are the games if you already know who's going to win the title? The Factor thinks it's no fun that way. So can the chatter, it doesn't do anyone any good.

And hasn't Boston gotten enough love recently?


Heaven on Earth

The Factor saw his first country music concert last week. Yes, I like country music, wanna fight about it? Now The Factor will be going to every one he can after that. Chicks that dig country music are way hot. The Factor loves girls that gear up in knee-high boots, mini-skirts and cowboy hats in freezing weather to go see people play music. The Factor appreciates the professionalism and commitment that these young women make. The Factor also enjoyed the highly favorable male-to-female ratio at this particular concert. The show itself was unimpressive, but the REAL show was in the stands.


New rules for Fight Club

The Factor is still way psyched about the Illini despite anything that Haberman may say to kill my buzz. The Illini christened their 20th straight win by snapping Wisconsin's 38 game home winning streak. They did so in dramatic fashion, battling back from a late second half deficit to win by 10. The big shots came from backup forward Jack Ingram of all people, who hit two huge threes to pull the Illini into striking range.

The Illini really just seem to have too much for most teams. On Saturday, against Minnesota, the top two Illini scorers, Dee Brown and Luther Head, combined for only 17 points. Normally in college basketball, when your top two scorers don't light it up like that, you lose. With the Illini, someone else, usually two other guys, pick up the slack. In the Saturday's 89-66 victory, Roger Powell and Deron Williams combined for 39 points and led the Illini to victory. Of course it didn't hurt that the Illini held the Gophers to only 36% shooting. Great offense, great defense.

Why are there so many rodent-like mascots in the Big Ten?

On Tuesday, it was the same story. The Fighting Illini went into #12 Michigan State's house and won, nay, controlled the basketball game. Their only big mistake was Dee Brown's tech that let Michigan State cut it to a 7 point deficit late in the second. Seven points - late in the second half. That's the closest they got. It only looked like a comeback attempt because they were down by 15. Late in the second half.

After that, there's a home game against Wisconsin and at clash at Iowa. The rest of the sched is cake. Undefeated season anyone? Is it still too early?

And you know what? This team doesn't need to lose. They lost 7 times last year. James Augustine said something to that effect as well. That's enough for two seasons, easy. The starters are all the same from last year and the key backups are as well. It's the same team. Normally when you're in Fight Club, you don't talk about Fight Club. Well, I'm in Fight Club and I've been talking about it since early January. U-N-D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D. The opposite of defeated. No losses. I'm talking about it and I will continue to do so. And if the Illini lose? Darn, oh well. They still make the Big Dance as a #1 seed and play in a geographically favorable bracket and should they make it, play virtual home games in St. Louis in the Final Four. As an Illini fan, what more could you ask for?

Expect big things in March.



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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

To Mike

Re: No Bias Here

The bias is in the original reporting. They had to run a correction because they originally reported that he was impeached for having an affair. For that to get published in the first place it had to be something the writer believed and two (or more) editors along with their vaunted fact checking staff signed off on.

Check out their corrections sometime. They pride themselves on fact checking the tiniest nitpicky detail, and show that pride by corrected the tiniest nitpicky detail when they find an error (see below). But something sizable like a presidential impeachment glides right by because it fits the beliefs of the folks at the NYT.

Here is an example of a typical NYT correction:

An article in...misspelled the given name of the United States attorney in Brooklyn, who brought the charges. She is Roslynn R. Mauskopf, not Roslyn.

But given the fact that you give the ACLU a pass when they blatently edit the first amendment, I wouldn't expect you to notice.



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The Law of Unintended Consequences

A story from the New York Times today about anti-spam efforts provides a good look at the law of unintended consequences.

Congress passed a bill last year known as the "Can Spam Act". The effect: the percentage of all e-mail that is spam has gone from roughly 45% in 2003 to roughly 70% in 2004.

But, hey, at least politicians can say they "did something", right? The fact that what they did DIRECTLY (read the article) lead to more spam shouldn't have any bearing on our feelings, should it?

Seems like we would have been better off taking Calvin Coolidge's advice: "When you see ten troubles rolling down the road, if you don't do anything, nine of them will roll into a ditch before they get to you."


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google tip of the day

You can use google as a dictionary. Type define: word to define.

For example: define: poignant



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Making Lemonade from Lemons

Ward Churchill is resigning his chairmanship at the University of Colorado. Churchill, you may recall, is the man who said that the folks in the world trade center had it coming and called them "little Eichmanns".

The unstated story behind the story is that being chairman of a department is not a good thing. I think non-academics see the chairman as the head or leader of an organization and assume there is a level of authority and respect that comes along with the post. In reality it is usually a crap job that people actively avoid.

It interferes with both research and teaching which are the two reasons to become a professor. Let's face it, if academics wanted to be leaders they would have gone into business. In the last department I was in, people actively campaigned to NOT be considered for chairmanship.

So, good for Ward Churchill. He has turned his heinous personal beliefs into a way to duck his responsibilities.


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NAACP Refuses to Comply with IRS

The NAACP announced yesterday that it is refusing to comply with an Internal
Revenue Service investigation into its tax-exempt status that was launched last year after its chairman criticized the Bush administration in a speech.

Wow. You can do that? Just decide: No, we really don't feel like being audited.

Actually, I am being sarcastic but a little farther down in the article we see:

The IRS can take a number of steps when a person or agency fails to respond to a
summons, Lemons said, including dismissing the case...

Good to know.


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