Charter Member of the Sub-Media

March 27, 2005

On Revenge « Aphorisms »
While seeking revenge, dig two graves -- one for yourself.
-- Doug Horton

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Posted by Nathan at 05:52 PM | Comments (2)
Fox-Blocker? (UPDATED) « Politics As Usual »

Yeah, I know I said blogging was suspended. But I did say I might post if I got excited.

Well, I've gotten excited a few times (guess you were right, Rae).

Here's a good argument that liberals are imploding.

If people want a device that actually blocks their household from being able to receive Fox News...well, that doesn't say much for their opinion of free speech or competition of thought. If you have to block out any contrary view of the world, perhaps your ideology is failing...?

Which isn't to say that "blocking Fox" is a wide-spread phenomenon. But the Seattle newpaper blithely repeats every hackneyed accusation of bias about Fox News without bothering to report that several independent media watchdogs have noted Fox News actually is the most fair and balanced of the news stations, that the people who don't think it is centrist are the ones who think their solid-left viewpoints are the mainstream.

...just saying, yanno?

For Randy.

Keep in mind, 'bias' is inherently a viewpoint issue. What Ralph Nader says is "unbiased" is far left to me. What I see as unbiased someone else may denigrate as fundementalist Right-Wing wacko. As one of the linked articles states, when the NY Times complains about bias, it isn't all that concerned about the obvious bias in its own pages. So what follows are discussions of bias in news reporting, because I'm having a hard time finding the article I think I saw in the kausfiles. The point made by the Opinion Journal (an openly pro-Conservative outlet) is that Fox News is considered biased by liberals because it doesn't suppress and discredit the conservative viewpoint, but rather does both sides.
Article 1

Article Two

The fact remains that on Fox News, and only on Fox News, we get television reportage that gives us at least two sides of every important issue. On all the other TV news outlets--and "mainstream" newspapers--we mostly get coverage that is hopelessly biased. The madmen have taken over the asylum and now, dressed in white lab coats, they pronounce the rest of the world insane.

Keep in mind that I found these egregious examples of bias in a single issue of a single newspaper, randomly chosen. I could do the same thing with any national news broadcast or with any paper in America except the occasional paper that still has a toehold on reality.

I wrote this essay for a newspaper that is also biased. The only difference--and it's all the difference in the world--is that the Rhinoceros Times admits that it's a conservative paper and reports events through conservative eyes. Likewise for this Web site.

Fox News Channel, on the other hand, claims to have only one bias--it is definitely pro-American--and it presents all the facts and every viewpoint and leaves the decision up to the viewer. Imagine if these news stories had been written from that perspective. They would be barely recognizable--and some of them would not have been written at all.

What makes the liberal bias in the mainstream media so pernicious is that they deny that they're biased and insist that their twisted version of events is "reality," and anyone who disagrees with them is either mentally or morally suspect. In other words, they're fanatics. And, like all good fanatics, they're utterly convinced that they're in sole possession of virtue and truth.

Article 3"

...a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that five times more journalists at national outlets self-identify as liberal (34%) than conservative (7%). This, in and of itself, is hardly newsworthy. What speaks volumes is the fact that of the media people surveyed, 69% readily labeled the Fox News Channel a ‘conservative’ network, but most were hard-pressed to name one they would consider ‘liberal’. It just goes to show how much blatant liberalism has permeated the mainstream, under the guise of objective journalism. Dan Rather, who regularly passes off political editorial commentary as objective news delivery, is only symptomatic of a much larger mess.

Article 4

Article 5

Article 6

The next one is linked for the comment, actually, quoted verbatim:

Article 7:

actually the 'bias' that is often decried on fox comes from one source--it's opinion shows.

now, unless I've gone nuts, the whole point of opinion shows is to put for opinions, which are, by their nature, biased.

the newsbreaks are noticeable lacking in opinionating.

this cannot be said of FOXs' competitors who spin the news unmercifully. I first heard of the initial Basra uprising via the blogosphere--I then, not twenty minutes later, heard a supposedly non-biased CBS reporter tell the world that the uprising was AGAINST coalition forces--in a tone that was almost jubilant. I watch, sometimes amazed that the same story--even the same footage is reported on in widely divergant ways. The 'major' media seems to put out initial reports with an eye towards negativity towards the war effort. FOX, which will fixate and repeat positive news, puts out its initial reports without a discernable bias (their bias becomes visible in which stories they go into depth on).

So, while I agree that Hannity and O'Reilly wear their bias on their sleeves, I maintain that that's what they're there for.

Unlike the iraqi stylings of Peter Arnett, objective journalist.

Finally found it! Er, at least, I finally found an article that links to the study that tagged Fox News as the least biased Cable News Channel. I couldn't get the link to the actual study to open.

Found Another One!

"Which of these cable news organizations do you think is least biased and most objective in their reporting?"

The results:
FOX News Channel: 31 percent
CNN: 30 percent
MSNBC: 14 percent
None, all the same: 11 percent
No opinion/Don't know: 14 percent

The poll was conducted May 21-22 among 500 likely voters nationwide. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

My bottom line:
1) You should not confuse Fox News Channel opinion shows from Fox News Channel news programs. The opinion shows are biased, but they're supposed to be.
2) You must consider the viewpoint of the person claiming an outlet is or isn't biased. I'm not going to listen to the NY Times opinion of any perceived bias on FNC
3) We have a decent scientific poll that has FNC as the least biased, and an independent study that shows FNC as the least biased news program. That's good enough for me.
Personally, I don't watch 'em, and I actually prefer CNN for worldwide coverage...I just have learned to read between the lines to filter out CNNs pro-UN, pro-liberal ideology, pro-Communist leanings.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:54 AM | Comments (5)
No Google Logo for Easter? « Link O' Admiration »

Michelle Malkin describes a reader's letter that notes Google didn't do an Easter Logo this year and wonders if it was a snub.

They did do a special logo for Easter back in 2000:

It included this pretty cool little java applet.

Just hazarding a guess, this leads me to believe that a lack of Easter logos this year isn't so much a snub as an oversight; they probably do new logos when the mood strikes them, and no one had what they thought was a cool idea the past few years...

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Posted by Nathan at 09:36 AM | Comments (1)

March 26, 2005

GM Decides to Become a Niche Company « Car Issues » « Social Issues »

But he pulled the plug on the North America models after determining the vehicles could not be engineered and assembled to sell at prices competitive with the popular Chrysler 300C, Ford Mustang and other models, without sacrificing quality and content.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not happy about this. I would prefer to purchase a good car at a good price from an American car maker.

...but to be frank, I can't. Not for what I want, not with the money I need to be careful with in order to continue to take care of my family.

After musing over this situation for the last several months, including some near-arguments with my-friend-with-connections-to-the-US-automotive-industry, Jo, here's where I think the Big3 failed:
They never realized when the terms of the "internal dialogue" war changed.

Remember the term "planned obsolescence"? From what I understand, it was never a proven thing in the car industry, but the idea was that car-makers would use materials good enough to last until the car was paid off (80k to 100k miles), but not beyond that. Whether or not that was an urban legend, it does seem that American cars are falling apart by the time they reach 100k miles, that often fuels a desire for a new car.

Now, that was fine when it was only American cars on the market. But when there are more choices, and someone can buy a car for the same price that won't be falling apart at 80k miles...don't you think more people would buy it? I often see Audis and VWs and Hondas and Toyotas that look brand new even at 3-4 years old. Can you say that about any domestic product?

Part of that is using good materials and top-notch paint jobs (that still look new-shiny after 3 years). Part of it is choosing styles/designs that might look somewhat "blah" at first, but the very aspect that makes them not stand out when new makes it harder to tell when the current "style" has passed by.

Anyway, back to the internal dialogue issue:

When I bought my C-RV, I really enjoyed the test drive. I liked the visibility, the seat felt comfortable, and it had plenty of power and room. But I was in Hawaii...what is adequate for that location doesn't work in Spokane, where you have to cross a mountain range to get anywher else, just about.

While C-RVs are quite popular, retaining excellent resale value, I wouldn't buy another one. Why not? Because my internal dialogue is something like, "Sheesh. For the price I paid for it, I could have bought a nicely-equipped Accord. Instead, I paid 'Accord' prices for 'Civic' amenities..." And, "Wow, that road noise is bad. I can't hear the subtleties of that song without turning it up loud enough to inhibit conversation! It would be even worse if I tried to listen to classical music, where the fortes are too loud if you set it for the pianos, or if you set it for the proper level on the fortes, the pianos are inaudible!" Or, "Man! That engine sounds like it is going to explode going up to the pass!"

But with my new Suzuki Verona S, the internal dialogue includes things like, "Mm-mm! I still like how the car looks. The grill/hood look tough, the line of the sill looks rakish. I think it compares pretty well to a Toyota Camry!", and, "Hear that door close? Even if you close it lightly, you still get that 'Japanese thunk' of a solid, tight doorframe!", or, "Boy! It sure took that corner nice! I feel glued to the road!", or, "This is a really nice interior. Comfortable. I can hear the music clearly on just "3", and can still talk to the kids!" And under all this love is the thought, "I would have paid $4-6k more for an Accord or Camry! Sure, it would have been even nicer, with better gas mileage...but not $5k nicer! And a US car wouldn't be this nice for anything less than $10k more!"

Now, Suzuki could still lose me. I'm irritated with the low fuel economy. Sure, it's smooth...but they could have had the same smoothness if they'd used a Continuously-Variable Transmission, which would have given it even better mileage than the average sedan. But Toyota and Honda are on the forefront of car technology for a reason. Suzuki is about 5 years behind on engine technology, I think. 20/28 would have been industry standard then. But, over the life of my ownership of the car, I might spend an extra $1000 on gas over an Accord, so it still seems worthy to me. However, the next time I buy a car, I'll probably be able to purchase an Accord or Camry easily, if not a BMW or Audi, so Suzuki must get a better engine. And if the car starts having lots of little problems with it while I still owe money, I'm not going to be so willing to give them another third/half-year's salary.

That's where the Big3 lose it. They don't pay attention to the minor details of designing the cabin experience to make someone sigh with pleasure every time they sit down. They don't always make the doors close solidly and firmly. They don't make sure the car holds together for a good long time. Sure, making a car last might mean someone waits another year to buy a car...but the way they do things now, the person probably buys a foreign car when their Big3 car starts to have too many annoyance problems, so what has the Big3 gained? Nothing.

I have a friend who plopped down a great deal of cash for a very nice Big3 performance car. It had a dozen minor things wrong with it before it reached 40,000 miles. He traded it in for another Big3 car, thinking that lightning couldn't strike twice...but when he ran into financial difficulties and tried to sell it back to a dealership, they pointed out exactly how shoddy the workmanship was. Not that he didn't already know it from driving it himself, but that highlights the problems of Big3, UAW-made cars: lack of quality, lack of concern over shoddy work and cheap parts.

You know, I used to sneer at the appearance of the early-90s Corolla and Accord. I did always like the early-90s Nissan Stanza, even though it was nearly the same...some minor difference of angles made me like its appearance, but what made me fall in love with it was driving one as a rental when our car was totalled. I never expected you could have the combination of power, quietness, and fuel economy. When it came time to buy to replace the totalled vehicle, we got a nearly-new Grand Am, and we were fairly pleased with it: good power and decent fuel economy. But its coolant system gave us no end of trouble, and so the Grand Am wasn't even on the list when I went looking for used cars a few years later...

We ended up buying a '95 Honda. I thought it was perhaps too small, and really didn't think much of its was just reliable transportation.

But after driving it for 3 years, I got to the point where I would think, "Huh. Nice looking car..." as I walked toward it in the parking lot. And after driving my '91 Toyota Corolla for a few years, I started feeling the same way about it. So now I think, "Hm, nice car" when I see one in good condition drive by. The early-90s Corolla/Camry are the epitome of bland...but they still look decent, and have plenty of room for normal-sized drivers and passengers. From 110k to 146k miles, it gave me zero mechanical difficulties. It had some cosmetic problems, like a sagging headliner and other functional irritations, like the outdoor handles breaking...but I fixed every one of them for less than $80 total from "Pick'N'Pull" lots. And even being 13 years old with nearly 150k miles, I replaced it for appearance reasons, not because it was used up. It probably has another 100k miles left on it, at least. I actually considered putting $2-3k into its appearance, instead. I finally decided it wasn't worth the risk, because I didn't know its history, and couldn't vouch for it having decent treatment throughout its life, only my portion of it.

...but I can't imagine even considering that for an American car, other than a top-of-the-line Caddy or Lincoln, or perhaps a classic car of some stripe. THe internal dialogue that goes along with a US car is something like, "What's that rattle? Should I bring it in to have it looked at? Shoot, they'll charge me $100 just to look at it and tell me it's nothing. But if I don't, the car will break down and I'll have to take the bus to work for a month. And I'll probably have to take the car in again a month later for the same thing. Why did that light come on? Do I smell burning oil...?"
I can't tell you how many Big3 cars I've been in where the owner tells me the "Check Engine" light comes on for no reason, and the dealer says to not worry about it, that it would cost more to fix than is worth it. I can't remember the last time I saw that on an import car, though.

And so all the Big3 have anymore is nostalgia. They only get hit cars when they strike some chord of memories of the past in styling...never, it seems, in quality or performance*. Apparently, they punted on those issues long ago.

A rebuttal, of sorts, from Bob Lutz

Read More "GM Decides to Become a Niche Company" »

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Posted by Nathan at 05:53 PM | Comments (3)

March 24, 2005

Intermission « Blogging »

Blogging at this site is suspended until further notice.

I'll probably post pictures after the RMBB 4.0, so look for some stuff in about 10-11 days. Probably nothing before then, unless I get really excited.

I'm getting close to my move, and there are people to see, things to do, issues to handle, and traveling to be done. I don't know when I'll be able to blog, and certainly won't be able to blog regularly until about April 20th or so.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:50 PM | Comments (9)
Hey! « Blogging »

Pay Attention to ME!

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Posted by Nathan at 02:38 PM | Comments (8)
For The Record « New Thinking »

There is nothing in science that disproves God. There is nothing in religion that contradicts science. They not only look at different aspects of the question of life, but they use different modes of observation. Moreover, they have different standards of objectivity, and approach any given problem from a different perspective.

This is especially true in light of Quantum Thoery.

Read More "For The Record" »

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Posted by Nathan at 10:06 AM | Comments (5)
» One Fine Jay links with: Mutually exclusive domains
No Surprise To Me « Social Issues »

The Red Lake School Shooter (or whatever name they end up deciding on) was on Prozac.

The Columbine High School killers were also on anti-depressants for several years.

At the time, I remember an article stating that anti-depressants only work on kids for so long, and then the depression returns stronger than before, usually resulting in suicide.

It seems that using anti-depressants is a brute-force method of treating the symptoms only. Without dealing with the actual cause, the body's electro-chemical system finds away around the pharmaceuticals and gets back to the way it wants to do business.

Just another reason we shouldn't so easily drug our children. The long-term use of pharmeceuticals in a child's developing hormonic and neurotransmitter system just seems to be asking for trouble.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

...and, GM Sucks!

Well, that's not really his point. But another commenter did express my feelings in saying the Chevy Malibu is pretty atrocious-looking.

It's weird, it was a decent-looking car in 2002-3, but wimpy under the skin. So they use the Saab underpinnings, give it more performance....and proceed to give it one of the cheesiest looks I've seen in the past decade.

Don't pull the tube on Terry, pull it on GM!

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Posted by Nathan at 09:22 AM | Comments (5)
Asia By Blog « Link O' Admiration »

Yep, the latest edition is up.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:59 AM | Comments (0)
New Portable Device « Stuff Important to Me »

Right now I'm charging and setting up my new Rio Karma 20GB mp3 player.

Nope, it's not an iPod. I hope Zombyboy still lets me go to the RMBB 4.0 on 2 April...

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Posted by Nathan at 05:32 AM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2005

Bottom Line(s) on Terri Schiavo (UPDATED) « Social Issues »

I think the Republican-led Congress was correct in trying to save her life. I think the Florida State Legislature and Jeb Bush were right to try. I think the Courts at all levels failed this woman and our society.

I think the cause was correct, but I think all plausible channels have been exhausted. At this point, we must remember that the innocent die at the hands of the selfish and unscrupulous every day, and having the courage to try to stop it is the most important thing.

I think Terri's death will be announced soon. Many in this nation will grieve; others will crow in victory, and reveal their nature by considering a death to be a victory.

It isn't the death itself that matters. Death comes to us all, and any could be struck down any minute. It is what you do with your life that matters, and what you did to try to preserve it and prevent suffering. What I think is the hidden message of Jesus is that the glass of water received is only a glass of water, but the glass of water given in generosity to the needy is the Spirit of Salvation.

Once this is all over, the nation will go on. Neither the the Sanctity of Life or the Culture of Death will gain or lose much ground on this issue, and our judicial and legislative branches will function just as before. Nothing was broken, and extremely little was even bent; and even that nearly imperceptibly, despite all the wailing about the principles each and the other side should hold (as described by a sneering opponent).

It's all written in the Big Book, and there will be an Accounting.

Read More "Bottom Line(s) on Terri Schiavo (UPDATED)" »

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Posted by Nathan at 10:59 PM | Comments (2)
Filibustering the Nuclear Option « Politics As Usual »

Interesting discussion regarding RINOs and "the Nuclear Option" over at the Q and O Blog.

I agree with one commenter, though: if filibustering is going to be an option, it should at least be required to be a true filibuster, where a person speaks for hours and yields the floor only to someone else who intends to keep speaking, and it goes on 24 hours a day because they can't recess as long as someone is filibustering and that means no business gets done at all until enough votes to break the filibuster are garnered or the speakers collapse from exhaustion. [deep breath]

This pseudo-filibustering is an affront to the Tradition of the Senate.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:30 PM | Comments (1)
Internet Pun (sort of) « Puns »

So if your ISP is having problems communicating, does it have a LISP?*

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Posted by Nathan at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)
Interesting Thought on the Schiavo Situation « Social Issues »

From Florida Cracker:

I'm kind of embarrassed about that whole giving to the tsunami victims thing. If I had known how painless death by dehydration and starvation was, I could have used the dough to get my car detailed instead. It's definitely the best way to die. Except for maybe freezing to death- that might be better. In any case, I don't know what I was thinking keeping Indonesian kids from peacefully going off to heaven.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:02 PM | Comments (1)
One Definition of Insanity « Quotes You Can Steal »

There's no one who complains so bitterly about the unfairness of life as a liberal who actually got what he wanted.*

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Posted by Nathan at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)
Blog Commenting « Blogging »

I've noticed that some of my friends, cohorts, and otherwise frequent commenters don't do so much anymore.

It was just about a week ago that I realized that I didn't leave comments so much anymore either. So I stopped to think about why.

I think much of it is that I have grown tired of people eschewing venom in response to a comment of mine, even if it is obvious they didn't completely understand, or even completely read. When you comment on someone else's site, you lose control of everything. Your comment can be edited or deleted (although I have never had that happen to me), you don't always see the responses, the blogger can write new posts "fisking" your comment, other commenters might attack unfairly and the blog proprietor might let you twist in the wind without giving support, or someone who only reads that comment might understand at all what context your other writings might lend to the comment itself.

So if I have something to say, I'm increasingly moved to just say it on my website rather than posting a comment. I'm more likely to read and consider rather than pound out my immediate reaction.

Has anyone else had this development in their blogging? Is it a blogging maturition process?

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Posted by Nathan at 02:43 PM | Comments (5)
Slippery Slopes « Social Issues »

Sometimes, slippery slope arguments are accurate predictions.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:01 AM | Comments (5)
Work Ethic « Social Issues »

For about a decade, there was this idea that US workers were too lazy or selfish to be able to make quality cars. That was the basis of the movie "Gung Ho": the idea that there was something essentially different between Americans and Japanese, and we couldn't do it their way. But the quality of cars being produced by Japanese makers in the US pretty much eradicates that prejudice. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the quality of American-made "import" cars was even higher than that of those made in Japan.

But if the factory worker isn't the key element, it seems clear that there is something special about the "Japanese Way". The book I've cited a few times, The End of Detroit* explains it in detail (I won't do that here), but also points out that the United Auto Workers union has been unable to unionize a single foreign-owned factory. The Japanese and German companies are able to provide their workers with a good wage, good benefits and good working conditions without the presence of a union; since unions greatly increase the operating costs of a corporation without increasing value, it seems an easy conclusion to reach that it is the UAW that is ruining the Big3 automotive industry.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:49 AM | Comments (2)
The Next "Fake, But Accurate?" « Media Distortions »

Sometimes it seems the Mainstream* Media will cast any aspersion if it has a chance of making Republicans look bad. But it might not really be their fault; they may really believe those who don't support the liberal agenda are simply evil...except that their ideology doesn't really allow for the possibility of evil. This must result in a great deal of angst for them.

Read More "The Next "Fake, But Accurate?"" »

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Posted by Nathan at 06:35 AM | Comments (2)
» In the Agora links with: Memogate, again
Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me « Puns »

Long-time readers of Brainfertilizer know that life has been particularly difficult for me over the last year. Right now, the next several weeks loom as a possibly-even-more-difficult stretch.

Like many others, I've wondered, "Why me?!?" Like many others, at I've wondered how this period of emotional suffering is compatible with the idea of a compassionate and loving God.

But I think I understand now. I've finally come to grips with my situation, and found my peace.

You see, it all started when when I won a contest in which the prize was a lifetime supply of Wrigley's Spearmint. Because, as we all know:

Read More "Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me" »

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Posted by Nathan at 06:24 AM | Comments (2)

March 22, 2005

I Could Use the Latter Right Now, Actually « Aphorisms »
If half the lawyers would become plumbers, two of man's biggest problems would be solved. -- Felton Davis, Jr.: "Reflections on the Lake," published in _The Gainesville Times_ (GA)

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Posted by Nathan at 05:09 PM | Comments (0)
GM Whiffs « Social Issues »

Apparently, the G6 (upon which GM pinned so much hope) is this year's "Don't Gotta Have It..." car.

Detroit Free Press auto critic Mark Phelan saw problems with the G6 coming. He gave the car two out of four stars in a review last year, noting: "They are attractive, comfortable and competent cars, but a high price, iffy interiors and oddly tuned steering leave them well short of sporty competitors."

Yeah, that sounds about right for just about everything put out by the Big3 these days: Attractive, comfortabel and competent, but iffy interiors and a relatively high price compared to the quality and value of a reliable "import" model (most of which are made in the US these days in non-union factories).

American consumers realize they deserve better than what Detroit is offering. There are a dozen car lines out there that you can spend under $20,000 and know you will get 150,000-200,000 miles out of...but not one of them is a Big3 vehicle. You may "think" or "have a good chance" of getting 150,000 miles, but it will probably be falling apart by 100,000 miles, and you have a 1-in-10 (or worse!) chance of having it in the shop half a dozen times in the first three years for non-scheduled maintenance problems. American consumers are becoming less willing to assume that risk for the benefit of the Big3.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:46 PM | Comments (3)
Post I Will Delete Later « Stuff Important to Me »

For those who care, I'm at home right now, watching the movers pack up my stuff. I've been busy getting ready the last few days, sorting and organizing. Since most of the stuff is remaining with the house and my eventual ex-wife, I had to separate it from the rest. That meant getting everything into two rooms fairly close to the door. I've been working pretty hard to get that done; it looks like I was successful.

The hardest part is all those, "Oh, my gosh! I can't believe I nearly forgot that!" moments...

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Posted by Nathan at 11:09 AM | Comments (4)
Top 10 Cars: Residual Value « Social Issues »

Here's the list. Notice anything unusual? Not a single American car on it. The closest anything comes is the Volvo XC-90...

Not looking good, Big3...

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Posted by Nathan at 08:07 AM | Comments (1)

March 21, 2005

China's Statecraft « China/Taiwan »

Derided by some, but I dunno: it seems to me that China's govt has been quite adept at isolating Taiwan.

There are just too many things going on lately which, taken by themselves mean absolutely nothing, but when taken in aggregate, seem to loom darkly over Taiwan's future...

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Posted by Nathan at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)
And Now: Some Puns « Puns »

Not all of them are puns. Like this one:

What has four legs, is big, green, fuzzy, and if it fell out of a tree would kill you? A pool table.

Nevertheless, there are some pretty bad puns in this list of bad jokes. Enjoy! ...if you can!

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Posted by Nathan at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)
More Fun With Google Searches « Gun Issues »

Someone found my site through the search string "best rifle for home defense"...

People, people, people! Readers of Brainfertilizer know if you are considering home defense, starting with "which rifle" is already on the wrong track. You don't need the long range accuracy that is the rifle's strength, and you certainly don't want the velocity of a hunting rifle's round smashing through walls to accidentally injure the people you are trying to protect, or a sleeping neighbor. A .22 doesn't have those problems, but then a .22 is way too light for home defense; it's probably only going to sting a little. [/slight exaggeration]

A shotgun is probably the best. You don't need a direct hit to incapacitate an invader; if you miss, the blast would probably scare him off...if the sound of you jacking a shell into the chamber didn't already. No one wants to face a shotgun.

But let's say you don't think your wrists or shoulders could take a shotgun's recoil. Then you want a pistol. They shed velocity fast enough that penetration is generally limited to the jerk who just violated your security. The bullets in the larger pistols still carry enough wallop to put a guy down with one shot, and the capacity of the lighter pistols means you can put 6 rounds in him and still have enough for his two friends, if they still have the sand. And a revolver is small enough to fit in a nightstand, and reliable enough to not be touched for a decade and still fire as soon as you pull the trigger.

So a rifle doesn't enter into it all. Thank you for your time.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:21 PM | Comments (8)
Caillou: Evil Demon-Spawn « Stuff Important to Me »

I'm way down on the list for I hate Caillou.

Maybe it would be more accurate to say I detest Caillou. I also loathe Caillou. He's lucky he's a cartoon character, because if he were real, I'd probably be plotting ways to slap the crap out of Caillou. Knock some sense into Caillou, as it were. Knock the whine out of Caillou.

That should be enough for now...

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Posted by Nathan at 09:06 PM | Comments (5)
I'm Hoping This Explains My Blog « Aphorisms »
Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be chaos. Before a brilliant person begins something great, they must look foolish in the crowd. -- Unknown

...then again 30 months is probably a little too long to be considered "the beginning".

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Posted by Nathan at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)
Oh, Yeah: « Blogging »

The new banner graphic was the, um, brainchild of my friend and sometimes-doormat, Sharp As A Marble.

Thanks, SaaM!

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Posted by Nathan at 03:24 PM | Comments (1)
Tragedy in Colorado « Social Issues »

Three children missing as explosion destroys Colorado snowmobile lodge.

This article says it was most likely a propane explosion...even though the expert making that assessment doesn't know if the lodge had propane or not.

Considering all the circumstances, I would like to know if the local ELF branch is being considered as suspects until foul play is absolutely ruled I hope it is soon...

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Posted by Nathan at 06:34 AM | Comments (0)
I Guess I Do Have Lots to Say About Terri Schiavo « Social Issues »

An email to Mickey Kaus makes the point:

After the election, several Dems talked about extending some kind of olive branch to the religious right ...[snip] ... Isn't this a great opportunity for the Dems to make a symbolic gesture to pro-lifers that wouldn't hurt anybody except Terri Schiavo's creepy husband? But instead, Dems are once again telling the right -- in a swing state, no less -- to shut up and obey the courts ....

"Shut up and obey the courts". It just makes my skin crawl.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:27 AM | Comments (1)
History Lesson « Social Issues »

Once upon a time (I can't be bothered to look up an entry on Wikipedia...honestly, people! Do I have to do everything for you?!? Oh, okay, if you insist...), the federal courts made a decision about the Cherokee Indians situation in the state of Georgia. I still think they made the right decision.

However, President Jackson did not. According to Wikipedia, he didn't say, "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!" However, he absolutely refused to do his duty as outlined by the US Constitution: he refused to enforce the law as determined by the Supreme Court.

Even if Congress is overstepping its bounds in the Terri Schiavo case, it is by far less margins than the Indian Removal decision by President Jackson. The United States managed to limp along for a number of years after that, eh? So perhaps our system of govt is actually quite flexible, able to deal with minor mistakes and failures to live up to the ideal.

If it is wrong to preserve Terry Schiavo's life long enough to try to determine what her prognosis actually is (in the absence of Mr. Schiavo's obstructionist actions), then enough people will act to punish those involved. If it is wrong, and the govt attempts to take advantage of this self-created loophole, the people will notice and put a stop to it.

In fact, one could easily look at this development and realize that perhaps this is a People-supported move to curtail the over-extension of power by the Judicial Branch, as supported and abetted by Democrat Senators. The only reason it has gone this long is that, well, that's a different post, eh?

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Posted by Nathan at 06:14 AM | Comments (0)
Just So You Know... « Stuff Important to Me »

I'm right about everything.*

You can rest easy now, knowing that I am willing to share my rightness with you in the form of this blog. You can stop thinking for yourself now.

Read More "Just So You Know..." »

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Posted by Nathan at 06:00 AM | Comments (2)

March 20, 2005

GM In Trouble...? « Social Issues »

I've been reading The End of Detroit by Micheline Maynard over the last few days, so I'm really not surprised to see this bad news.

The Big3 don't really know how to pay attention to customer desires. They are still chasing after the "Gotta Have It! Car" Will-O'-the-Wisp, thinking that will save them.

That method did save Nissan with the Xterra, but Nissan followed up on it with a pretty hot Maxima 2001-2, and then an excellent Altima after that. They put good quality cars out with excellent engines, and they refuse to allow any shoddiness that might cause even one customer to be disappointed. The Big3 don't really think that way, it seems. They think "good enough" is "good enough", and it isn't.

It was good enough to have a nice looking car when drivers weren't that sophisticated. It was good enough to have impressive straight-line power when the roads were used little enough to allow drag racing, and when gas prices weren't so inhibitive.

But the Big3 haven't really noticed that it is possible to fall in love with a car for other reasons, and then learn to love its looks. That happened with me with my old Volvo 240 DL, and it happened again with my '95 Honda Civic 4-door w/ stick-shift.

Of the Big3, Ford has the Freestyle, the F-150, the Focus, and perhaps the Five Hundred to catch people's attention. The Focus has decent handling and gets decent mileage for a decent very nearly competes with some Japanese cars....except on the quality/reliability part. Chrysler has the 300C, the Crossfire, and the PT Cruiser to excite people and draw them in. But GM? The Malibu Maxx seems to have fallen flat, much less the original Malibu. People on the inside swear it has European handling, good power, decent fuel economy...but there isn't much buzz among the non-GM employees. The Silverado sells well, but they pretty much seem to be a step behind Ford in almost every category. The Cobalt should replace the Cavalier whose name they ruined...but it doesn't seem to be garnering much excitement at large.

GM is just the best example of the problems the Big3 all face: an inability to understand what people want, an inability to make a completely reliable car line, an apparent inability to look beyond immediate profits...

I think the internet has hurt the Big3, too, because they can no longer depend on someone walking on the lot and being able to convince him to buy that day. Rather, consumers these days research, try things out, and aren't so vulnerable to the hard sell these days. And the Big3 just don't make a good enough product any more.

Too bad.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:27 PM | Comments (2)
Why Are Democrats Blocking This? « GWOM »

What, passing a bill to save Terry Schiavo's life might undermine the "Constitutional" Right to Choose (to have an abortion)?

Althought perhaps a better question is: will they pay any political price for their obstructionism? After all, a significant portion (a minority? a majority, possibly?) of the people wanting to save Terry's life are liberals and/or Democrats...

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Posted by Nathan at 06:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2005

Fighting For Freedom « Aphorisms »
You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and liberty. -- Henrik Ibsen {Category: War and Peace}

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Posted by Nathan at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)
Probably Un-Enforcible « GWOM »

But interesting.

Bill introduced to ban suggestive cheer routines.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:37 AM | Comments (2)
New Car VI « Car Issues »

Well, it's been three weeks, and I still love my car.

I've really grown to love the feel of the leather-wrapped steering wheel, by the way...

Our other car is a 2001 Honda CRV. It's a decent car. People like it enough that its resale value has stayed quite high; its still worth more than $12,000!

And yet, I can't help but think it comes off far worse in comparison to my Suzuki Verona S.

Obviously, the CRV is a mini-SUV, a Sport Cute, and so it isn't focused in on comfort or power. Being a Honda, it has a tiny engine that handles high RPMs well, but noisily. Living in eastern Washington State, you have to cross mountain passes to go nearly anywhere, and it nearly screams acceleration uphill. Road and wind noise aren't too bad, they impressed me when I test-drove it and it is one of the reasons we purchased it.

But nothing about the driving experience in the CRV can compare to the Verona. Well, of course! The Verona is supposed to be a nice sedan. Acceleration is smooth and quiet. I was hurrying down a backroad yesterday to get my son to a dental appointment, and we accelerated to 80 mph while going up a fairly steep grade, and yet the music was still clearly audible at '6', which is soft enough to not affect conversation.

And the smoothness and precision of the steering is wonderful. When I have to drive the CRV, I feel like I"m constantly swaying in trying to keep it in a straight line, after the intuition-level response of the Verona.

There are two things that bug me about the Verona, however. It doesn't seem like they put much thought into the sounds system. They included a cassette player (for the older crowd?)...WTF, over? The steering-wheel mounted controls are too far forward, so can be pressed accidentally, and aren't the controls I would want there. A single CD disk...weird choices for the EQ and sound adjustment and track management buttons...none of it intuitive. I'd yank out the whole thing and put in my own except for a few worries: If it caused a problem with the electrical system, my warranty probably wouldn't cover it; it would probably affect the appearance of the car; and I'm not sure how it would/could/should work with the existing steering wheel controls.

The other thing that bugs me a little bit is the engine.

6 cylinder, 2.5 liters....and 155 horsepower is all they can get out of it? And just 20/28 for gas mileage? The Camry and Accord and Corolla are all similarly sized and get that sort of performance out of a 4 cylinder! The Altima is similarly sized, but their 2.5 liter 6 cylinder gets more than 200 horses, I think--at least close to 200--and still gets better gas mileage! But the money I saved buing it will buy lots of gas...I think I could drive it for 7 years and the gas mileage difference still would cost me a total of less than $1000...
And I do love the smoothness, which seems to be what the engineers were designing for, to the expense of power and economy. And someone said the economy improves as the fuzzy logic shift control gets used to you. I don't know...I've filled it up 3 times, and the last time I did get 21.5 miles to the gallon, rather than the 20 it says I should get and I did get the first two times I filled up. So if it continues to improve, I might end up with 24 mpg? 25? Or maybe I'll stay at 20-22. I can live with that, but it is something Suzuki will probably have to improve for me to stay with them the next time I buy.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:27 AM | Comments (2)
This is Journalism? « Media Distortions »

How can we trust the news if they can report something like this with a straight face:

Virtually no one disagrees human activity is fueling global warming, and a global treaty signed in Kyoto, Japan, aims to reduce polluting emissions. But the world's biggest polluter, the United States, has withdrawn from the 1997 treaty, saying its provisions would hurt the U.S. economy.

First, less than half the reputable scientists in the world even agree that the temperature trend is anything outside the normal cycle. Second, it has been proven that one medium-sized volcanic eruption spews more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere than all the nations of the world do in a decade. A large eruption emits more of those gasses than the entire human race has added in all of history. Third, the Kyoto Treaty wouldn't do a thing to stop pollution, it would only make it more difficult, economically, for the United States to continue to make its processes cleaner, while giving a free pass to China, India, Indonesia, et al, to continue polluting at will. Have you ever been to a city in China? Have you seen pictures, at least? Our worst city has far less smog than their best.

The whole ridiculous propaganda piece is right here, but it really isn't worth your time.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:09 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2005

Jonah Goldberg Dismantles the "Reality-Based" Claim of Liberals « Link O' Admiration »

Part I.

Part 2.

And here we can see the great flaw in Chait’s wishful thinking about liberal realism. Clinton agreed to welfare reform — over the objections of most liberals, including his own wife — because the Republicans forced him to and he’d have lost the 1996 election if he didn’t. That was the beginning and the ending of Bill Clinton’s fact-finding. The New York Times's editorial page — a better representative of elite liberalism’s worldview than The New Republic, alas — called welfare reform “atrocious” and an outrage. “This is not reform, it is punishment” they declared.

Last summer, the Times reported that welfare reform was one of the “acclaimed successes of the past decade” and its renewal is a “no-brainer.” Chait would no doubt salute the newspaper for its empiricism. But how would we have known they were empiricists in 1996? Real empiricists express skepticism toward their own predictions, not moral outrage and — often — charges of racism at those who doubt them.

Indeed, that’s the story writ small of liberalism’s alleged acceptance of “new realities.” It’s not that liberals have maturely adapted to new data, it’s that they’ve been proven wrong so often — either empirically or at the polls — that they’ve had to change, and each time they do it, it’s not with the empiricist’s joy of learning new things, it’s with grumbling through gnashed teeth and amidst much caterwauling about liberal “sellouts” and political opportunism. For more than three decades, liberals swore there was no evidence that there was anything wrong with welfare reform until even the public knew they were lying.

Lastly there’s Chait’s solipsism. His version of reality cannot explain liberals who disagree with him. Are liberals who oppose free trade simply morons who can’t do the math? Was Hillary Clinton less of a liberal because she opposed welfare reform? What about Marian Wright Edelman? Are the Europeans who’ve refused to recognize that the economic rot of their welfare states really conservatives because they can’t face facts? Are liberals in America who envy Europe’s economic model incapable of recognizing its flaws? How does Chait explain anybody to his left — either ideologically or simply in the next office over from him — who disagrees with him? If liberals always go where the facts take them — you in the back, stop laughing — how is it that liberals ever disagree? He might say that only conservatives operate in ideologically blinkered bad faith and God-defying false-consciousness. But I think the real answer is that in Chait’s formulation the facts can only be what he finds them to be. And one senses that he really thinks God should come down and tell everyone that’s the case.


On almost every significant area of public policy the Democrats are atrophied, rusty, and calcified. They're dependent upon old (condescending) notions about blacks, the patronage of teacher’s unions which care very little for the facts, and feminists who define liberation almost exclusively as the freedom to abort pregnancies despite all of the new, inconvenient facts science is bringing to bear. Liberals are not the “reality-based community,” they are the status-quo based community. They wish to stand athwart history yelling "Stop" — in some rare cases, even when history is advancing liberalism in tyrannical lands. The Buckleyite formulation of standing athwart history yelling "Stop" was aimed at a world where the rise of Communism abroad and soft-liberalism at home were seen as linked trends. Today, liberals yell "Stop" almost entirely because they don’t enjoy being in the backseat. If they cannot drive, no one can.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)
Help Me Out, Here « Rhetorical Questions »

Why do I tend to get the words "latent" and "lingering" confused when I'm trying to describe things?

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Posted by Nathan at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)
In Retrospect... « Blogging »

You know, my past comments of not being impressed with Michele Catalano's blogging were probably borne more out of jealousy.

My comments about Venomous Kate still stand, though. Luckily, she should not and does not give a Flying Rat's Butt about my opinion.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)
Western Washington Is Way Whack « Social Issues »

One school decided to invite some pro-war speakers, then ambushed them.

Students were playing the parts. That's the part that bothers me the most. Did they come up with the idea all on their own? Did no adult see any necessity of correcting their obvious misapprehensions about the reality in Iraq?

It is from such places that Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty "Idiot in Tennis Shoes" Murray* garner most of their votes. Little wonder.

Hat tip to Ms. Malkin.

UPDATE: Gotta find this bumper sticker mentioned in the article:
"Proud American, Embarrassed Washingtonian"

Read More "Western Washington Is Way Whack" »

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Posted by Nathan at 08:24 AM | Comments (1)
» Flopping Aces links with: Another Disgrace
Courtesy « Rhetorical Questions »

Why must people pull out in front of you if they have no desire whatsoever to go any faster than five miles below the limit?

You know, in good driving conditions, driving below the speed limit isn't all that safe.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:53 AM | Comments (0)
Great Moments in Journalism « Media Distortions »

HaHa! Aren't Those Red-State Rubes Amusing!

They even still have 5-student, one-room schoolhouses! What a riot! I wonder what other aspects of rural life we could highlight for the amusement of people who live in cities...?

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Posted by Nathan at 06:30 AM | Comments (1)
Where Our Society Is Heading? « Social Issues »

Doctors authorize abortion of 3rd-Trimester baby* because of a condition easily corrected by surgery. And the courts rule them not-guilty of murder.

A sarcastic "Woot!" goes out to the British Court System for their help in the march toward universal liberal values**. And this is the sort of legal progress Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, et al, prefer we use as a guide to interpreting our laws instead of using the good ol' US Constitution.

*(yeah, it's clearly human, clearly could survive outside the womb)

**i.e., "Convenience for the one who can speak for themselves trumps life for the one who can't in all circumstances." That may not be what is said, but the actions over time clearly establish that principle as an essential aspect of the liberal ideology taken as a whole. Another sarcastic "Woot!" for liberal values.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:28 AM | Comments (2)

March 16, 2005

History Lesson « Puns »

The image of General George Washington crossing the Delaware is a common one to Americans. He certainly looks dashing in the prow of the boat in that famous painting, doesn't he?

We are told that it was the surprise crossing of troops that allowed Washington to capture a sizable and unsuspecting British force without firing a shot. Like many embellishments of history, that one is not quite true.

Here's what really happened. A Brain Fertilizer Exclusive History Lesson, if you will:

Washington had his troops marshalled and ready to cross the Delaware. At the last minute, a group of concerned citizens rushed up. "You can't go looking like that!" They exlaimed. "You look like a ragtag band of ragamuffins in all that wrinkled clothing!"

"But what can we do?" President Washington asked, perplexed. "We have depleted all our funds for uniforms. We have no choice but to attack with the condition of clothing we have right now."

But the civilians would not hear of it. "We'll do it for you gratis," they insisted.

The British were well-trained and battle-hardened. They would have been able to repel our troops easily...they saw them coming a mile away. But when they saw how crisp our uniforms were, and how shabby their own were...well, they were overcome with shame at their lack of discipline in grooming, and surrendered without firing a shot...

Read More "History Lesson" »

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Posted by Nathan at 11:28 AM | Comments (6)
What'S Going On With China? « China/Taiwan »

An article I could have written, but didn't.

Yes, yes, it's Derb. Don't let that faze you, nary a mention of math puzzles or homosexuality to be found. I respect the man, and for reasons like this article.

I've expressed many of the ideas before that he brings up; naturally, I think he's pretty much 100% correct on his assumptions. He has more experience in China and in life than me, and the depth of his knowledge and understanding shows in some things I probably would not have picked up on without this article.

Anyone wishing to have an intelligent discussion about China should be reading what Derb has to say about it. No one is 100% correct on anything, but he's got good reasons for the things he says.

Another frequent question, one much easier to answer, is: What does China want? The ordinary people of China of course want what ordinary people everywhere want: peace and prosperity. If that were all we had to consider, though, history would present a much more pleasant spectacle. What does the Chinese leadership want?

That, as I said, is easy. What they want is regional hegemony. They want to be in East Asia — perhaps in all of Eurasia — what the U.S.A. has been in the Americas this past couple of hundred years. In their dreams, Russia will be their Canada: huge, underpopulated, cold, and not very consequential. India will be their Brazil.** Laos (say) will be their Guatemala (say). There are some holes in the analogy. The U.S.A. never had to contend with an offshore nation a tenth as populous yet ten times wealthier than itself, as China has to keep Japan in mind. Nor do the Indians look to be slipping quietly into their assigned role as providers of coffee, nuts, and salacious dances to the new superpower. Still, it is plain from their visible diplomatic strategy that the Chinese think they can pull it off.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)
Senate Bill 929 « Link O' Admiration »

One of the things I think is true about blogging is that if you do real work, real journalism, or provide something unique, you will get noticed.

To back up my belief, I'm going to highlight some good work going on. It's mostly political activism, but also could be considered grass-roots lobbying, and has the potential to transform into true journalism, if the situation warrants it and it is handled right.

Whatever you want to call what she's doing, the proprietor of "Oregon Racing" is tracking the responses to a letter-writing campaign initiated to determine (and hopefully shore up) support for Oregon Senate Bill 929. If you don't feel like following that link, the aim is to provide some relief to the parimutual industry by eliminating a rather arbitrary and onerous restriction regarding bets on simul-casts of races.

You may not care about horse racing...but this is intimately involved with the issue of slot machines, lotteries, casinos, and scratch-offs that many states are turning to for revenue. You may not be from Oregon, but other state legislatures will consider their own decisions based on how this turns out.

The blog proprietor is taking some pretty impressive steps. Please do me the favor of linking or otherwise supporting her efforts.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)
A Badly-Done Moment of Unabashed Pragmatic Theft of Jeff G.'s Blog-Memes « Meme Stolen from Jeff G. » why can't you eat it, too, that's what I'm wondering. But I will have my pie and eat it, too, because I AM A CITIZEN JOURNALIST, AND I DEMAND PIE...or Martha Stewart will slide a shiv between someone's ribs for me. Of course, the shiv will be fashioned from materials left over from the Big House's Thanksgiving celebration, which is a good thing. You know?


Me: There's no reason it couldn't be an apple pie, if you get my drift...


Deadbeat Neighbor: If you're done ranting at that apple, can I borrow it for my mid-morning snack?


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Posted by Nathan at 08:13 AM | Comments (1)
An Attractive Woman « Stuff Important to Me »

For no particular reason, below the fold you will find a picture of an attractive woman.

I'll probably delete the post after my conscience kicks in.

Read More "An Attractive Woman" »

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Posted by Nathan at 06:12 AM | Comments (2)
I'm the Karate Champ « Stuff Important to Me »

At 11:44pm last night, I was the winning bidder as the auction closed for a Karate Champ stand-up arcade game in excellent working condition.


You don't remember which game that is? Well, here are some pictures:


Hey, does this make me a culture blog now? Like these guys...? So that's what it feels like...I feel so...soiled.

More below the fold...

Read More "I'm the Karate Champ" »

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Posted by Nathan at 06:07 AM | Comments (1)
The Latest "Asia By Blog" Is Up « Link O' Admiration »

Good stuff there today. What am I saying? There's always good stuff in Asia By Blog!

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Posted by Nathan at 05:56 AM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2005

Interesting Test « Stuff Important to Me »

Saw this via Anywhere But Here (Gradualdazzle).

I was:

Linguistic 38

Mathematics 43

Visual/Spatial 29

Body/Kinesthetic 32

Naturalistic 31

Music 49

Interpersonal 33

Intrapersonal 34

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Posted by Nathan at 11:27 PM | Comments (2)
» Jeremy-Gilby-dot-com links with: Learning Inventory
Hey, Y'all « Blogging »

Please note: I have a new tag-line. Perhaps "Sub-Masthead is a more appropriate term.

Hat Tip to Sen. John Kerry for the appellation.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)
Scalia Is Absolutely Correct « Link O' Admiration »

Via Q and O Blog comes this excellent point by Justice Scalia:

Scalia said increased politics on the court will create a bitter nomination fight for the next Supreme Court appointee, since judges are now more concerned with promoting their personal policy preferences rather than interpreting the law.

"If we're picking people to draw out of their own conscience and experience a 'new' Constitution, we should not look principally for good lawyers. We should look to people who agree with us," he said, explaining that's why senators increasingly probe nominees for their personal views on positions such as abortion.

"When we are in that mode, you realize we have rendered the Constitution useless," Scalia said.

McQ echoes that point with his own words, worth repeating:

The future battle for the replacement of retiring justices obviously looms large. In my opinion the placing of anymore justices such as Anthony Kennedy, who feels the use of foreign precedent is acceptable and sees it as the court's job to decide on "notions of evolving decency" ( "It is proper that we acknowledge the overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty.") instead of strict Constitutional relevancy will spell the death knell of our Constitutional way of life. It will open an era of activist courts from which we might never be able to recover and it would cement in place the tyranny of the minority .... the black clad coterie of jurists who would decide what is "decent" and what isn't.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)
Too Funny To Not Link « Link O' Admiration »

I found this through Michelle Malkin, so I'm sure Teflon's getting a deluge of hits from here. In comparison, a BrainStorm from me isn't going to be more than a light drizzle. Still, I think it's pretty cool, so I'm still going to link his piece on the highly-edited PC Bible.

Including his take on a modern version of the 10 Commandments:

1. I am the cool mack daddy of the dope hype flow. Give me props and mad respect.
2. Don't be kneeling for some bling bling.
3. Don't be throwing my name around, be it J. Hovah or Yah Diddy.
4. Yo, Sunday is "funday", ya dig?
5. Respect your moms, your pops, or whoever it was raised you, unless they whack.
6. Thou shalt not bust a cap in someone's ass.
7. Don't be running around on people like they don't know.
8. No five-finger discounts.
9. Don't front.
10. If your neighbor's got a fly crib or a pimped-out set of wheels, that's they bidness, not yours

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Posted by Nathan at 08:31 AM | Comments (1)
A Case For the Bankruptcy Bill « Social Issues »

The most interesting aspect of this article is in the very first paragraph:

For eight years, Congress has attempted to enact comprehensive bankruptcy-reform legislation, but has been frustrated by extraneous issues and procedural difficulties. Last week, by a vote of 74-25, the United States Senate passed the legislation. It will now move to the House, where swift approval is expected (prior versions routinely garnered over 300 votes), and then to President George W. Bush, who has indicated that he will sign it.

What I find interesting is that the House of Representatives routinely gets strong, bi-partisan majorities to pass the bill, but it keeps getting hung up in the Senate. For eight years.

The purpose of the House of Representatives is to provide a form of representation that, in theory, is more responsive to the people. They have to be re-elected every two years, and the Representatives don't have near the stability and tenure of Senators. I can see how that might make them a less tempting target for lobbyists...after all, the guy you buy off might not be in Congress in less than two years; a Senator is a much better buy. Then again, I could see that the potentially brief career of a Representative might make them more susceptible to the wiles of lobbyists, as they attempt to cash in as much as possible before their tenure is possibly cut short at the next election. Thoughts?

But the point is that we've missed chances to improve a pretty lousy bankruptcy system for eight years because the Senate could not come up with Bill that a majority could agree on...before now.

For that reason alone I am leaning toward supporting it, since it would be short-sighted, if not downright stupid, to squander the best chance we have to make a substantial improvement to the bankruptcy system just because it doesn't address all the problems. If it can solve 2-3 of the 5 biggest problems, that's worth it to me. Let it run for a few years, and then pass another Bill into Law to tweak it and shore up a few other weaknesses, and we could have a vastly improved system 8 years from now, instead of continuing to limp along for an unknown number of years waiting for a better Bill. Apparently, Sen. Schumer is "an enemy of the good" just as much as "perfection" is!

In any case, Mr. Zywicki says:

The legislation addresses two problem areas of modern bankruptcy law: the consumer-bankruptcy crisis and the problem of small-business bankruptcies.

He concludes with:

I can’t see any reason why I or anyone else should have to pay higher interest rates or get worse service at the doctor’s office in order to preserve the “right” of some guy making $80,000 or $100,000 per year to walk away from debts that he could pay but does not want to. Yet that’s the way it is under current law. Those who are hurt the most are low-income and young borrowers who have the fewest credit options and can least afford to pay more for credit and goods because of the hidden “bankruptcy tax.” For all you critics out there — is there someplace where I can send you my part of the bill so that you can allow bankruptcy fraud and abuse to keep going unchecked?

The stuff in between is pretty good reading. I'm not sure I trust all his assertions, since he doesn't quote much or provide many links...but the assertions are compelling nonetheless. At the very least, it provides some issues to watch for in articles addressing the bankruptcy issue.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)
Descriptions of Libertarians « Politics As Usual »

Humorous, but doesn't really describe any libertarians I know...

Still, I'm sure there's some truth to descriptions like these:

a Democrat who wants to own a gun, or a Republican who wants to smoke pot...Republicans who can't admit it yet, but who don't want to be as noncommittal and bogus-sounding as "independent,"...hedonism combined with the desire to not be made to take account for the needs of others. It's a person who thinks about the public commonweal in terms of how much he has to pay to support it. It's 'I don't give a sh--, and I'm not paying for sh--.'...

There is a general dissatisfaction with both Republican and Democrat parties right now, and it makes sense that many people would find something different to nominally align themselves with.

The biggest problem with libertarianism that I can see is that Independence and Personal Viewpoint are an inherently large part of the self-definition...and thus it is very difficult to find 3 libertarians who agree on any one issue or platform. Which, I assume, is why they tend to find reasons to either vote Republican or Democrat (or not vote at all) rather than attempting to express their will through the designated Libertarian party.

Is it the beginning of a groundswell movement, or will it turn out to be merely a droll side branch in our national political history? Either way, it will be interesting to watch.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:39 AM | Comments (0)
Ecology and Conservation « Stuff Important to Me »

One thing the MSM has a hard time wrapping its mind around is that quite a number of conservatives do care about the environment as much or more than most liberals.

Sure, we don't set fire to SUVs or anything, but when you think about it, it makes sense:
Liberals tend to live in cities, and so are separated from nature; many are extremely wealthy (limousine liberals), fly jets (extremely wasteful on fossil fuels) and have big houses that they heat and cool at great expense, etc, etc.
Whereas many Conservatives tend to live in rural areas (the famed Red State/County distribution), the gun nuts love to go hunting, and conservatives just plain hate wasting money, especially on gas and heating/cooling.

Okay, that's admittedly not a very rigorous set of arguments. There are probably more exceptions than rules in that mess of garbage. So let me start again:

I like nature, hate waste, and want to make sure the world doesn't get ruined by pollution and man's interference.

The Kyoto Pact is ridiculous on so many levels. It doesn't even begin to do what it says it will do (reduce greenhouse emissions) because it puts no restrictions on developing nations. Its real goal is to hamstring the wealthy nations...that would actually result in the world being dirtier, because manufacturing would move even more rapidly into places like China, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia, where the emission standards would be lax. What motivation would the US then have to develop cleaner manufacturing processes?
The biggest source of man-made greenhouse gasses is already the developing nation, including places like China...have you ever visited any of their population centers? They all have horrible pollution. Most Chinese people never see a sunset, because pollution hides the sun before it can approach the horizon! Indonesia is covered with soot and smog most of the year because they are burning of acres and acres of forests, and their cooking fires are pretty bad, too, from what I hear. Ocean navigation near Indonesia has actually gotten hazardous at times, the smog drifting out over the littoral areas has gotten so bad.
That doesn't even begin to address that volcanoes pump so much "pollutive" and greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere that all man-made sources nearly merge in with the baseline in comparison.

Read More "Ecology and Conservation" »

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Posted by Nathan at 06:07 AM | Comments (1)
Cuteness « Kidblogging »

On the way home from work yesterday, my daughter started asking me something about her Little Mermaid doll...I think her question regarding Ariel's bikini top, but I wasn't sure because my focus was on driving.

But then my son tried to help, asking me:

"Daddy? What do you call the clothes that hold the...the... Mommy's things that...that we drunk from... when we were babies? What's that called?"

It was hard to answer him, I was chuckling so hard.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:46 AM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2005

Yeah, That's Been My Experience « Aphorisms »
After the last of 16 mounting screws has been removed from an access cover, it will be discovered that the wrong access cover has been removed. -- Unknown {Category: Success and Failure}

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Posted by Nathan at 05:58 PM | Comments (0)
Protest Babes « Humor »

Since so many other people are using succulent female flesh to attract hits, I thought I needed to get in on the act, lest I be left behind.

I gotta tell ya, it wasn't easy to find something unique. But I finally found a pic of two hot chicks pulling up their shirts to flash the camera. It's below the fold:

Read More "Protest Babes" »

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Posted by Nathan at 04:11 PM | Comments (2)
A Good Summary of Why I Always Loathed Bill Romanowski « Stuff Important to Me »

He was always a selfish, spoiled jerk.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)
Monday Mini-Link-Fest « Link O' Admiration »

A good post on what led a liberal to change his opinion on abortion.

Nobody expects the Law of Unintended Consequences!

(Related) maybe we do need a Federal Marriage Amendment after all? Their assurances of "letting the States decide" might have been deliberate misrepresentations? Perish the thought!

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Posted by Nathan at 03:48 PM | Comments (0)
Dark Energy « New Thinking »

I've been down on Dark Matter recently, making fun of it in a discussion with Jay and Andy over at Zombyboy's.

Well, I was wrong. Sort of:

Dark Matter is just non-lumenescent matter. There is some semi-ambiguous evidence for its existence in the form of gravitational influence...which sounds pretty significant. Except that there are several other theories that explain the vector anomolies just as well.

But what I was remembering as absolutely ridiculous is a closely related concept called Dark Energy You might understand why I used the wrong term, since they are so similar in nomenclature.

Anyway, read the whole thing for yourself, and see if you can suppress the chuckles when they start saying things like, "No evidence of quintessence is yet available, but it cannot be ruled out."

Yeah, real rigorous burden of proof, there.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)
Just Don't Imply I'm Stupid « Stuff Important to Me »

Don't ask, just don't do it.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)
China Passes New Anti-Secession Law « China/Taiwan »

Various takes on China's new Anti-Secession Law

This article seems to be one of the best and most balanced.

I find it disturbing that China passed a law authorizing the use of force to prevent Taiwan from declaring independence. Then again, if Taiwan President Chen Shuibian hadn't decided to base his political career on brinkmanship regarding independence, China wouldn't feel forced toward this course of action.

I'm wondering if the lesson China took from the US invasion of Iraq is that a nation may use military force in defiance of the UN in order to secure its own national interest. There is now that plausible precedent. We could argue that the terrorist attacks on 9/11 created a unique situation for the United States that resulted in the invasion of Iraq, but they could always counter that we had resolved that issue with our invasion of Afghanistan. I'm also fairly certain Taiwan is covertly pursuing a nuclear weapon for deterrence purposes (much like Israel is assumed to have done), so if China had any evidence of that (or could fabricate some), they could claim "ensuring Taiwan isn't preparing WMD" as a pretext.

This is getting a little scary, to tell the truth.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:06 AM | Comments (2)
Good News From Iraq « GWOT »

I've never linked one of Chrenkoff's pieces before...but why not start now?

I like the intro the best:

The problem is not that journalists can't get their facts straight: They can and usually do. Nor is it that the facts are obscure: Often, the most essential facts are also the most obvious ones. The problem is that journalists have a difficult time distinguishing significant facts--facts with consequences--from insignificant ones. That, in turn, comes from not thinking very hard about just which stories are most worth telling.

Other stories I like:

The back alleys and dense apartment buildings of Baghdad's Haifa Street once were all the protection that Saad Jameel needed after he lobbed grenades at Iraqi policemen or fired machine-gun rounds at American convoys.
He'd strike at will, dip into a warren of bullet-pocked storefronts and hide among neighbors he's known all his life. Confident and safe, Jameel sometimes chuckled as the troops he had just ambushed fired blindly at an attacker who was long gone.

One day last month, however, Jameel's name turned up on a most-wanted list broadcast on al-Iraqiya, Iraq's state-run television channel. He was amazed at how much the authorities knew about him: his leadership of an insurgent cell on Haifa Street, his involvement in a string of attacks on Iraqi security forces, even his aliases.

Jameel's safe zone crumbled as the U.S. and Iraqi forces he'd battled went on the offensive with patrols, mass arrests and a hotline for informants. He fled his neighborhood, his cell was paralyzed, and half his men were taken into custody.

For the first time, Jameel conceded in an interview earlier this week, insurgents along Baghdad's meanest street are feeling squeezed.

The Army and Marines have dramatically improved their ability to electronically jam remotely detonated roadside bombs.

The military is getting better intelligence on the insurgents. "We have had a lot more intelligence tips since the election," said Gen. John Abizaid, who commands all U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Abizaid also said the insurgents were able to field only an estimated 3,500 attackers during nationwide elections Jan. 30. Prior estimates had put the number of insurgents at roughly 20,000.

He is, even by Iraqi standards, an unlikely leader--a dentist from Manchester [England] whose only previous cause was supporting Liverpool FC [a soccer team]. Yet Abdallah Al Jibouri, 45, an exiled Iraqi who spent more than 20 years in Stockport, has turned his back on drilling and filling to become the reluctant saviour of one of the Sunni Triangle's most violence-prone troublespots. He had originally planned merely to check up on his elderly mother when he visited his home town of Muqtadiyah, 60 miles north of Baghdad, shortly after Saddam Hussein's fall. His Mancunian-accented English, however, ensured that he was pressed into service as unofficial negotiator between American troops and Iraqis, who elected him mayor.

Much to his astonishment--and, he says, to the dismay of his British wife, Sharon--he also became governor of the province of Diyala, whose population is 1.8 million.

Local insurgents have paid his leadership the ultimate backhanded compliment: they have tried to kill him 14 times, and have put a $10,000 bounty on his head. "I came for a visit two weeks after the liberation because I have got my mum and other family here," said Mr Al Jibouri. "I just wanted to make sure that they were all right. But I found the whole place was really a mess, with weapons everywhere, even little kids with machine guns.

"I began talking to the local sheiks and the US army and we hired some police. I thought I'd go home then but they said, 'No, you've got to stay and help us.' Of course it's dangerous, and the wife back in Manchester worries, but there are a lot of good people out here and they are worth it."

You'll have to actually visit the article to get the links for these stories.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)
Synergy « New Thinking »

Hard on the heels of the two related discussions going on at Zomby's is this brief article on the efficacy of common sense. He doesn't go into it nearly deeply enough, I think, but it does make this extremely, well, sensible assertion:

With such a large amount of information being accumulated by so many people, there is a good chance that many truths will be found. Naturally, some of these will be difficult to prove in strictly logical terms, because so much information and reasoning is necessary to the formation of an explicit logical argument for each of them. We know these truths through experience and intuition, as our brains work faster than even the brightest among us can explicitly reason. Thus these are perfectly legitimate ways of obtaining knowledge.

Hence, before discarding any proposition that involves no clear contradictions of known facts or internal logic, it is important that we first try to find some explanation of why the principle is believed to be true. Of course, we should always be willing to test all things, and must be quick to discard those that prove untrue. That is only common sense.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)
What Blogging Has Done For (To?) Me « Blogging »

The other day my friend sent me an article excerpt about the Bankruptcy Bill, mainly just a quote from Sen. Schumer. I really don't like the guy for a number of reasons, and he is one of the people who I don't trust to make a simple statement of fact when politics are involved.

I admitted I didn't know much about the subject, but that my initial reaction was that it wasn't as simple as Sen. Schumer was saying: that Republicans passed the bill to stick it to the little guy and let the rich off the hook.

After returning home, I started researching, and found that the truth behind the bill was actually pretty bad, just not the aspect my friend was upset about (in my opinion). I went to Google News and was able to get a good idea of the issues involved just by reading the headlines and the first few lines of the article Google always includes. From those, I saw that while the Bill made it harder to file for bankruptcy, it did nothing to address the way credit companies make it easy to get too far into debt. It did alot to reduce the supply of bankruptcy for individuals, but nothing to reduce the need for it in the first place.

Then I saw several other bloggers address the issue; some were people I respect, some I'd never heard of. But without even having to turn on a TV, I was able to gather facts, commentary, and opinion about an issue that really hadn't had much coverage on the national stage until last Tuesday.

The left side of the blogosphere accuses the right side of being an 'echo chamber' and 'taking marching orders from the RNC fax machine'. The right says the same thing about the left...interestingly, the only actual evidence I've seen is that the DNC does send out faxes...and it is also true that there are more singular/ultimate opinion leaders on the left side (Kos, Atrios on top, with a number of second-tier opinionists like Drum, Yglesias, O-dub, Pendagan (sp?), Kausfiles) than on the right side (where we have independent opinionists like Bill Whittle, Dean Esmay, Charles Johnson, Ace O' Spades, Allah Pundit, Bill INDC, the Llama Butchers, Glenn Reynolds, Wizbang Blog, Kim and Connie du Toit, Baldilocks, Michele Catalano (when she's feeling political), Vodka Pundit, Rather Biased, Blogs for Bush, JawaReport, Q and O Blog...and I'm sure I'm missing a dozen that are equally as big and important. None stand out as the place to get information, except for Glenn Reynolds perhaps (and he does less opinion and more linking. All of the people on the right side can and have become the focal point of the blogosphere when they hit on something important or newsworthy.

But I digress.

The point is that within a few minutes, I can scan and get diverse opinions from an extremely wide range of viewpoints. I can check out the extreme conservative, the classicly liberal, the religious conservative, the libertarian, the social moderate, and the straight conservative viewpoint and what they think of the issue and feel very confident that I have a good idea of what issues are at stake. I don't have to adopt any specific viewpoint, and rarely do. Even apart from a possible/probable liberal bias in print and broadcast news media, I could never get such a range of opinion and reaction in the old media. But the scope and range I can cover in just a few minutes means that it is very difficult for me to get caught up in one just erroneous opinion.

This applies to all sorts of issues. I can see that Kansas City signed a Safety away from Miami, and over the next few days I can hear what the sportscasters think of the guy and his prospects for improving the defense. I can more easily remain a Kansas City Chiefs' fan no matter where I live. Sure, that's the internet...but what cements my status as a fan is that I can talk about the Chiefs with other Chiefs fans around the whole world, no matter where I am.

And when I encounter some issue or news item that elicits a strong reaction from me, I can research it and expand my understanding, without fear of mistakenly swallowing misinformation.

Blogging has absolutely revolutionized the way I get information and news about the world I live in.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:15 AM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2005

The Latest on Daw* Aung San Suu Kyi « Aung San Suu Kyi »

I admit, I hadn't really checked up on her for quite some time.

But the latest was from the 4th of March:

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is still under house arrest at her lakeside home in Rangoon and the country’s military junta, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) recently extended her detention to another year.

Here's Part 1 and Part 2 of an interview done with her almost exactly a year ago.

Someone remind me: For what purpose was the UN formed, again?

Read More "The Latest on Daw* Aung San Suu Kyi" »

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Posted by Nathan at 08:03 PM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2005

Good Friends « Aphorisms »
Good friends stab you in the front.

-- Unknown (from the movie Can't Hardly Wait; sometimes attributed to Oscar Wilde)

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Posted by Nathan at 06:19 PM | Comments (1)
Rant Vamp « The Brain Fertilizer Way »

In reaction to Ann's comment on this post

At one point in my life, I was $16,000 in debt. Not that much, except that my various debts added up to about $800/month in payments, and my take-home pay was about $1000/month. Rather than trying to consolidate my debt, I chose to pay between $900-950 every month to pay down the smallest debt ($500), then once that was paid down to zero, I used that money to pay down the next smallest debt...
...I probably could have chosen the one with the highest interest rate...
But it worked out pretty well. I was completely out of debt within 3 years. If the math doesn't add up, well, I did sometimes do things like buy a car for $500, buy a plane ticket, etc, after saving up a little.
That's where I learned to live within my means, and a big key to that was anytime I wanted to make a purchase, I waited. The bigger the purchase, the longer I waited. I learned this because once or twice I blew $40 or so on a big purchase that I later wished I didn't. Nearly an entire months' discretionary spending on one item I didn't even like!!! So the bigger the purchase, the longer I wait.

The first two years of paying down the debt were not fun. About the time I got to the 3rd year, I got a new roommate. He had borrowed $10,000 from his mother-in-law to start a business, and the business failed. Then he and his wife divorced. He made a few payments, then "just got tired of not having any money" (paying about $500 a month out of the same $1000 after-tax income toward his debt), and declared bankruptcy. After declaring bankruptcy, he sold the equipment from his business and was able to keep the money, as I recall (although I could be wrong). 3 months later he bought a 2-year-old Nissan Pathfinder on credit.

Now, I guess he pretty much learned his lesson. He didn't overspend, and to the best of my knowledge never came close to bankruptcy again.

But I remember being bitterly disappointed, not that I didn't declare bankruptcy, but that all my sacrifice to do the right thing earned me pretty much nothing. One loan that I had had gone into default while I was at basic training, but I made arrangements and paid back every dime and all the penalties...but due to the wording of the student loan company, for the next 5 years, every time I tried to get credit I had to answer questions about why I had applied for bankruptcy, even though it was obvious I had never declared.
Now, they *did* always extend credit, and after 7 years, I was able to buy a new car and a house...
But I still feel very keenly that it just seemed irritating and frustrating that all my sacrifice earned me nothing...He could buy new computers, computer games, a fairly-new car, CDs, new clothes, everything...and I had to be careful and plan ahead getting to eat out at McDonald's, and drove a car that the passenger side floor had rusted through so you could see the road through it.

So I have some touchy emotions about bankruptcy.

I do think I learned more from my experience. I think my experience refined my character quite a bit, and the effect on my soul/spirit/character was certainly a benefit I wasn't considering at the time. I do feel it was better to do it my way than his.

This experience is one of the reasons I'm a conservative. Hard work and self-reliance are better. He stuck it to his mother-in-law because he could. His pain was eased...but what pain did he force on her against her will?

When someone gets "help" from the government, it always comes from other people. Sure, maybe Bob Roe's welfare only costs me some fraction of a penny per year....but there are tens of thousands of "Bob Roe"s, and they are taking money from literally millions and millions of the rest of us. For no good reason, other than most of the "Bob Roe"s think work is too hard, or think 'fast food' is beneath them. They have a choice of trying to work hard (or risk themselves to overcome a disability), or just take my money. We don't have the choice whether we give it or not. ...except that enough people vote for liberals who raise taxes and increase programs that I have no choice (although I can, and do, vote to try and change it). But the idea of liberal "compassion" rings hollow when you consider the amount of force involved in conjunction with the lack of self-sacrifice demonstrated by those who vote for more welfare programs.

Bankruptcy is pretty much another form of welfare, these days. Not in all cases, obviously. There are people who do break, and bankruptcy can help them rebuild their life. I just get angry that all my expenses are greater (interest rates, prices, etc) as businesses try to recoup the losses incurred by the type of person Ann describes.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2005

Simply Mind-Boggling (UPDATED) « GWOM »

A man tries to send an email to complain about the subjects being taught to high schoolers, and his email get rejected because of "adult content!"

That's right, folks: the terms and subjects many liberals (groups like Planned Parenthood and the like) are saying we need to use in teaching our teenagers, are deemed inappropriate for adults to have to hear/see!

So, exactly how were they going to teach this course? Have a teenager teach it?

Sooner or later, liberal ideology always twists itself into a hypocritical pretzel.

UPDATE: Andy points out the article if hard to find. Apparently Townhall's C-Log "permalink" really doesn't work. Even if you link the specific entry, it still brings you to the most recent post, so you have to scroll down quite a bit to find it. The title is Smut for thee, but not for me

You can find a summary/reaction in Friday's Best of the Web. Scroll down to the entry entitled, "Dispatch from the Porn Belt".

I've also included the complete text of the original Townhall post in the extended entry.

Read More "Simply Mind-Boggling (UPDATED)" »

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Posted by Nathan at 03:08 PM | Comments (3)
More On Bankruptcy Bill « Politics As Usual »

I still like the idea that the Bankruptcy Bill before Congress right now tightens up the rules to make it harder to declare bankruptcy, and makes the penalties a little stiffer.

But the more I read, the more I am convinced that since it doesn't address at all the responsibility (or lack thereof) of credit companies in the equation, it really isn't adequate, or worthwhile to pass.

Here's Glenn Reynolds:

I'm deeply skeptical of the bankruptcy bill in front of Congress now, and this report on credit-card industry practices goes a long way toward explaining why. Credit extended to people who can't handle it, absurd hidden fees, high interest rates, etc.: There's a lot of scamming here. The argument, of course, is that people who sign up for credit card accounts ought to know what they're getting into. But shouldn't the companies that extend credit to people who obviously can't handle it be held to the same standard?


I oppose the Bill. I want another, better one that actually addresses both the supply and demand aspects.

Thanks to Jo for bringing it to my attention.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)
Moving Tribute to 3/11 « Link O' Admiration »

I had never heard the story of the cellphones.

FAD usually makes me laugh out loud. He's got me choked up and moved to tears, this time.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:39 AM | Comments (0)
Garnering Traffic « Blogging »

It looks like I'm getting a Nilou Motamed-alanche! Woot!

Brain Fertilizer: Your source for All Things Nilou Motamed. I'll have to post some bio data on her soon, I guess...

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Posted by Nathan at 06:09 AM | Comments (0)
New Condominium « Stuff Important to Me »

Well, it looks like I got my second choice:


The owner accepted my bid; now all I gotta do is get final approval for financing. It shouldn't be a problem, but I'll admit I won't rest easy until we've made it through a few more steps, including a professional inspection!

The location is great in a lot of ways: near to my work (within 3 miles), a few blocks from great restaurants and what I consider the best mall + shopping center in Hawaii.

The complex is both nice and safe, with good security patrol and a recreation area and pool in good condition. The buildings seem well-maintained, and I think I can fix up the condo to look pretty nice.

It's pretty tiny, though, at just 850+ square feet. Yikes! But that's Hawaii...

In many ways, unless the inspection reveals some significant problems, I think the property was underpriced.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:06 AM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2005

Nilou Motamed Is Very Beautiful...Now I Have the Proof « Blogging »

Although I admit the picture below the fold doesn't really do her justice. She's one of the women who is most beautiful, I think, when she speaks and smiles, her eyes flashing and her spirit revealed in every graceful motion.

Or maybe a professional photographer with more time could bring it out better.

No matter. I hope someday she "googles" her own name and sees these posts and writes me to say, "WTF, over?" and I get all embarassed and try to insist I'm not stalking her, although I will then accidentally admit that she looked very nice in the brown sleeveless dress and really should have gone with that over the blue wrap-around she eventually went with that night...

...or did I say too much?

Read More "Nilou Motamed Is Very Beautiful...Now I Have the Proof" »

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Posted by Nathan at 10:29 PM | Comments (3)
To: Military Readers Currently Deployed « Militaria »
LOOKING FOR EXTRAORDINARY HOMECOMING STORIES A TLC show is looking for stories of military personnel who will be going home between now early May. We are looking to film compelling and unique reunions back in the USA with families, friends, or fellow platoon friends sent home early for medical reasons. The show is not about politics or the atrocities of war. It's a positive documentary show that hopes to evoke smiles, tears and empathy from the American audience. We are really looking for AMAZING stories. We have already shot a few including: a father who has never met his newborn child; a family that left up the Christmas tree until the whole family could celebrate together. We are now looking for more AMAZING UNIQUE stories. Please get in touch if you are about to head home and would like to be part of the project or let me know if you know of someone else's story. Contact: (Meri)

See Mudville Gazette for more

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Posted by Nathan at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)
Religion and Politics (UPDATED) « Politics As Usual »

I've said this before, and no doubt I'll have to repeat it again, many times, but here's today's iteration:

My religious beliefs and faith do not dictate my political views. Rather, my religious beliefs form the basis of my understanding of human nature. That understanding fuels many of my political views.

And so I try to expand on that by pointing out: Religion and faith deal with the afterlife, and personal conduct within this life. Politics, on the other hand, deals with the interactions of people within a society when religion cannot apply. I cannot be upset with an atheist who covets my wife, because that rule is for me, not for me to apply to others; I can, however, ensure that there are laws against rape, or even attempt to overturn the 'no-fault' divorce laws that are currently the norm (so he won't attempt to seduce my wife).

I do not kill, and I attempt to not hurt others because of the 10 Commandments; but I would not depend on those same 10 Commandments to prevent someone else from killing me, and so I support laws, and police, and even the death penalty as a deterrent or ultimate solution for those who have come to enjoy murdering the undeserving.

And so I find people arguing about whether Jesus is a Republican or Democrat to be tiresome. I find people arguing that Jesus would or wouldn't support a specific political agenda to be dead wrong.

Please understand this: This world, this life is largely unimportant. It's only importance is as the precursor to eternal life. There is no pain or misery in this world that is not worth going through to gain eternal life. Conversely, there is no pleasure or comfort or happiness in this life that is worth losing eternal life in paradise.

Jesus didn't even seem to care about whether someone was rich or poor. He certainly didn't advocate governmental wealth distribution. In fact, personal giving to the poor was described as one of the many ways for a Christian to let his faith bear fruit, but the way it is worded, it has always seemed clear that the point was the effect that charitable giving has on the heart of the giver, not on the state of the person who received it.

So I don't really think Jesus would have weighed in progressive vs. regressive taxes. In fact, the last time someone tried to play "Rope A Dope" with Jesus on the issue of taxation, Jesus replied (as found in Luke 20:25), "And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's." And while Jesus hung out with the social outcasts of his day, he demanded they turn away from their sin...last time I checked, liberals howl as if tortured when someone asks that homosexuals "turn away from their sin"; heck, liberals scream indignantly if someone even calls the behavior "sin". Jesus made it clear that the actions were wrong, and he was there to speak to the people who were willing to listen and turn away from their wrong behavior.

It's gotta be humiliating to cite Jesus as a source of your political ideology and do so in a manner that makes it clear you have no idea who Jesus really was. (is)

UPDATE: Rae provides a link to a story of other Christians messing up religion and politics. Which is one of the reason I don't really consider myself a member of the Religious Right, even though I'm quite religious and quite conservative. I just see my views represented more by the folks at National Review Online, rather than Falwell and his ilk.

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Posted by Nathan at 02:28 PM | Comments (7)
Impromptu Impromptus « Link O' Admiration »

More from today's Impromptus.

There are some people who would rather homosexuals be stoned to death than that they be liberated by George W. Bush and the "Right."

Our liberals were crabby about the eastern Europeans' freedom, and the collapse of the Soviet Union — that might credit the despised Gipper. And they're crabby about the possibilities of freedom for Middle Easterners. This does not say something very nice about human beings.

--or is it really more just about liberals?

Much analysis has been done concerning the Supreme Court's recent death-penalty decision — that lawless disgrace — and I can add little. But I would like to say this: Doesn't 18 seem to you blatantly random? I mean, why not 19? Why not 18 and a half? Why not 20? Why not 17? Should not these things be judged case by case? But the fivesome's conscience can't allow it. Besides, Americans in Europe are so sick of being hectored about our barbaric practice of executing vicious killers.
But one must not spoil the martyrology of the likes of Martha Burk.
First, what is the "international community," or "world community"? Do Biden, Kerry, and the others mean the world's governments? The world's governments are diverse: There's Kim Jong Il; and then there's the Czech Republic. They probably mean the French, the Belgians, and Kofi Annan. Quite possibly Hugo Chávez (even Castro?).

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Posted by Nathan at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)
» links with: http://mp
J on W « Politics As Usual »
We conservatives do our fair share of griping about George W. Bush. In truth, I think we do more than our fair share. But there will soon come a day when we deeply lament the absence of a president who would do such things as send John Bolton to the United Nations.


From today's Impromptus.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)
Elitists « Quotes You Can Steal »

It's becoming more clear to me that the reason so many liberals are "elitists" is its the best way they can pretend they actually are "elite".

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Posted by Nathan at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)
Et Tu, Hillary? (UPDATED) « GWOM »

I expect to see complete outrage on the part of liberals and libertarians now that a prominent liberal Democrat is speaking out against sex and violence in entertainment.

Including cute phrases like, "Keep the Democrats out of my entertainment, and the Republicans out of my wallet!"


Surprisingly, (or maybe not so surprisingly) Yes.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)
Bankruptcy Reform « Politics As Usual »

I was surprised with this issue while on my house-hunting trip.

I see Chris Muir of Day By Day addressed the issue. I've seen it mentioned on a few other blogs, too (can't remember where right now...). It was the subject of the editorial cartoon in my newspaper this morning, too. Here's a Google news search that would help you understand all aspects of the issue.

Here's the thing. I remember nothing about bankruptcy reform in the recent election campaign, on the federal or state level. If this was such an important, vital issue, why did it not get more press beforehand? In fact, this bill was introduced five years ago! How could it sudenly become a huge issue in the 36 hours I wasn't paying attention to the news?!?!?

Granted, the bankruptcy bill that was passed in the Senate apparently does not fix a problem: people are capable of sheltering huge amounts of wealth from creditors. I suppose the passage of the bill without amendments to fix that aspect could result in outrage.

And, sure: I agree that it is wrong for someone to be in bankruptcy and retain wealth. Bankruptcy should be difficult, it should be painful, and it should be an extremely black mark on your record that takes you a few years to rehabilitate.*

At least one report seems to indicate that the new Bankruptcy Bill does take steps in that direction.

So which is a bigger problem? The rich avoiding penalties, or people going bankrupt 6-7 times in a decade because there is no penalty? I guess it depends on the numbers involved. Democrats seem jealousy-based: regardless of what the actual impact is on banks and the national economy, Democrats want to stick it to the rich and protect the little guy...ignoring the fact that (to pull numbers out of a hat), $1 trillion in little-guy bankruptcy funds written off hurt the rest of us little-guys far more than $1 billion in rich-guy bankruptcy funds written off.**

Obviously, Sen. Schumer feels the most important thing is to manage to stick it to wealthy. But in fact, I'm not convinced that Sen. Schumer's amendment would have even done that. I am about 80% convinced that Sen. Schumer's amendment was nothing better than a political ploy so he can claim Republicans don't care about the little guy***, rather than actually trying to make an effective amendment. The best evidence is that while all the Democrats supported the amendment, and one Republican joined in, they weren't able to get Sen. Olympia Snowe to vote for their amendment. If you can't get Sen. Snowe to vote against her fellow Republicans, you don't have a decent Democrat/liberal proposal. It's just that simple.

In all my research on this after the fact, I think I'm in most agreement with this op-ed piece.

First, it describes the proposed amendments as "poison pill". Considering who proposed it and who refused to vote for it, I consider that an accurate assessment. But the article goes on to say:

Few would argue that deadbeats who pile up credit they know they can't pay and then qualify to abandon those debts by filing under Chapter 7 provisions of bankruptcy law need to be made more accountable. But nowhere are there parallel provisions that make credit lenders accept greater responsibility for giving credit cards and loans to just about anyone. Consumers are bombarded with applications for credit cards and easy loans, whether or not they have the means to pay. Credit card companies openly solicit students on college campuses and tell high risk borrowers "no problem" to more credit.
The second problem with the bill is its one-size-fits-all treatment for those filing bankruptcy. The bill's provisions draw no distinction between deadbeats and those unfortunate enough to get caught in financial hell because of catastrophic medical bills or other life-changing events.
Like so many other bills, this one comes down hard on consumers with a lopsided solution to an economic problem that has two sides and needs two solutions. Creditors need to accept some culpability for bad debt from risky loans and credit. We're waiting on that bill.

To summarize: the current Bankruptcy Bill is better than nothing, because it makes bankruptcy a little more difficult than before, rather than an easy out. It is important to get this bill passed without amendments or adjustments because the political will to pass it is present; any attempt to mess with it risks having it languish on the table for another five years. But this bill is only a minor fix. Our bankruptcy laws need to be adjusted so that credit companies are held more accountable for their practices, so that distinctions between deliberate deadbeats and people truly facing impossible circumstances are more easily drawn, and so wealthy people are not able to shield assets from the bankruptcy proceedings.

Write your congressman now!

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Posted by Nathan at 10:47 AM | Comments (3)
Don't Be That Guy! « Aphorisms »
A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.

-- Gilbert K. Chesterton

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Posted by Nathan at 05:58 AM | Comments (0)
Howdy, Ya'll! I'm Back! « Stuff Important to Me »

I was out of town. I didn't give you a warning, because...well, I just didn't.

I went to Hawaii for about 34 hours to look at condominiums. I think I found a decent one I can live with for a price I can afford. Now we'll see if this bid is accepted.

The other one fell through, obviously. The frustrating part is that it had no offers for 40+ days. The day I put in an offer, so does someone else. If I'd put in my offer a week earlier, they wouldn't have had another choice to consider. And it wasn't the amount of the offer that made the difference. It's that the other buyer had a down payment, and I have to do 100% financing. I'm pre-qualified for much higher than the house I want to buy, so there's little risk that the loan wouldn't be approved...but the seller didn't want to even take that small risk.

There's no other offer on this condominium, so I'm hoping it won't get similarly scuttled.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:57 AM | Comments (1)

March 07, 2005

Why Are Democrats Having PR Problems? « GWOM »

Here's one explanation:

One of the Democratic Party's problems is that it doesn't have enough contact with its rank and file. Right-wing people in this country have a place to meet and talk politics--their churches, increasingly the megachurches in the exurbs. There's not a meeting place like that for liberals and for Democrats.

I think in this case, the bigotry expressed by the speaker is more of a problem for Democrats than anything contained in his explanation.

From Today's Best of the Web.

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Posted by Nathan at 02:02 PM | Comments (5)
Eager Jimmy Reviews Fellowship of the Ring, Part II « Link O' Admiration »

Got it right here

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Posted by Nathan at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)
"Public" Broadcasting and Biased Mainstream Media « GWOM »
The message of this piece is even less unmistakeable than that of Rosin's, and it is: "Only a cranky bigot could possibly object to using taxpayer funds to propagandize small children in favor of same-sex marriage."


Even when confronted with affirmative evidence that there is rather more to the Buster story, Montgomery contrived not to notice it. "Pieper [one of the women featured in the Buster Vermont episode] said the producers had been looking for two-mom families and settled on hers after another option fell through. They liked how Emma and her siblings and moms interacted." In other words, this is not a case of some over-active imagination over-interpreting Tinky Winky's handbag. Buster's producers consciously intended to use their position of trust as publicly funded broadcasters of children's programming to advance a highly controversial agenda of their own. For them to act shocked, shocked, shocked that anybody might object is highly disingenuous. And for a reporter to feign shock along with them is doubly disingenuous.

By David Frum.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:21 AM | Comments (2)
Ouch! --But Probably True « Kansas City Chiefs »
Lesson #4: Drafting and developing defensive talent is the best way to go and it’s the major reason the Chiefs are having problems on that side of the ball.

Of the 21 players who made a significant contribution to the Chiefs defense in 2004, 15 came through the draft. In the last five drafts, the Chiefs have not ignored defense, selecting 37 players overall, with 19 defensive players.

But the evaluation process and/or developmental process remain flawed. The Chiefs missed badly on second round picks like DL Eddie Freeman and LB Kawika Mitchell, and third round choices like DT Eric Downing and CB Julian Battle. Freeman and Downing are already gone after contributing very little on the field. The Chiefs are working the free agent market right now for players at linebacker and corner, making Mitchell and Battle’s futures very uncertain. Both Carl Peterson and Dick Vermeil have said that DT Ryan Sims has not played like the sixth pick in the draft and a player the team gave up three choices to select.

That’s five premium defensive draft choices (first day) that have not gotten it done. Imagine the difference in the Chiefs defense if those five players had lived up to their evaluations on draft day.

LBs Monty Beisel (fourth-round) and Scott Fujita (fifth) have been found wanting; as evidenced by the team’s search for linebackers. Vermeil has been quoted as saying the team needs help at safety as well, which doesn’t speak well to draft picks over the last five years like Greg Wesley (third), Shaunard Harts (seventh) and Willie Pile (seventh.)

The Chiefs found a fourth-round gem last year in DE Jared Allen. He must come back and show it was no fluke. DT Junior Siavii needs a strong off-season of work and improvement to justify the Chiefs selecting him in the second round last year.

No matter what moves the team makes in free agency, next month’s NFL Draft is a huge one for the future of the Chiefs. Ultimately, that’s how they will rebuild their defense.

Emphasis mine, the entire article here.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:01 AM | Comments (1)
Clinton Shows Respect for Elder Bush « Social Issues »

On second thought, that might be an unfortunate title. President Clinton elects to sleep on the floor to allow the former President Bush to sleep in the plane's only bed.

That's a pretty classy move. Good on ya, Bill!

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Posted by Nathan at 05:53 AM | Comments (1)

March 06, 2005

Have You Ever Noticed...? « GWOM »

Interesting, is it not? ...that you can buy pornography on eBay, but not firearms?

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Posted by Nathan at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)
Public Service Announcement « Blogging »

I suck and am not worth your time.

However, I do appreciate your generosity and kindness in continuing to stop by here and read my drivel. Thank you.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:15 AM | Comments (7)
Don'tcha Think? « Rhetorical Questions »

Isn't Beauty and the Beast just about the most egregious case of Stockholm Syndrome that you've ever heard of?

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Posted by Nathan at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2005

I'm Still Irritated « GWOM »

Okay, absent Sen. Stevens' remark, I wouldn't be starting some crusade to clean up cable TV. And I'm not really trying to start one now.*

But I would like to point out, that except for a minor quibble about the current law, no one, not one person has come up with a single explanation of why keeping cursing and nudity on Cable TV should be considered one of the great freedoms of the United States' experiment in democracy. Not even the venerable Lileks himself.

Okay, if a majority of people want to leave Cable TV alone (and I'm sure it is a majority, currently), no problem: I'm not going to try to argue a minority opinion has more right to determine the issue.

But everyone is acting like extending broadcast standards to Cable TV would violate the US Constitution or something. That the very suggestion of such a thing is beyond the pale. That Sen. Stevens idea reveals him as an out-of-touch prude, or maybe even an idiot.

I'm a little tired of that.

Any person who attempts tp put forward the argument that Obscenity/Profanity on Cable is a Cornerstone of Liberty should address the following facts:
-There are numerous places in the United States that one cannot get broadcast TV without cable.
-There are literally millions of households in which cable TV is not paid for by the resident, but comes automatically with the rent or housing association dues.
-Broadcast standards were established because of underage viewers; there are literally millions of underage viewers watching cable TV now.
-Holding cable TV to broadcast TV standards does not mean the imposition of standards where none now exist. It would only mean tightening cable TV standards by an increment of some scope.

It's perfectly fine if your only answer is: "Because that's the way it is, and I like it to stay that way." But if so, please get off your high horse: you aren't any Defender of American Freedom or anything, you are just trying to make us more like Canada and Europe. Thanks heaps.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:20 PM | Comments (11)
Waitasecond! « Media Distortions »

Unemployment went up to 5.4%?

You mean the unemployment was a mere 5.3% just recently? That's a darn good unemployment rate, about as close to full employment as you can get.

How come the MSM wasn't all over this? The last I heard any mention of the unemployment rate was when unemployment was "remaining steady at 5.6%, and likely to rise if President Bush is re-elected".

For that matter, where were all the retractions from leading Democrats that President Bush did do what they insisted was impossible and helped create enough jobs that he didn't have a net job-loss number in his first term? Which initial spate of job losses should probably be attributed to the double-whammy of the dot-com bubble economy bursting along with the general economy-depressing effect of the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:31 PM | Comments (2)
More Oxymorons « Politics As Usual »

Democrat Thinking:

"I think [Alan Greenspan]'s one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington," Reid said on CNN's "Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics.

Nothing like that old Sen. Reid charm to help win friends and influence opponents, eh?

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Posted by Nathan at 08:36 AM | Comments (1)
Not Exactly a "Tiger in Your Tank" « Stuff Important to Me »

But rather, a Cat on a Hot (Tin) Roof?.

She had driven about 10 miles with the cat on top of the car, and didn't even notice the feline when she stopped for gas.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)
The Supreme Court and The 10 Commandments « GWOM »
The Texas case is dicier, since the display isn't quite so clearly part of a historical statement. Expect tangled 5-4 decisions in the two cases that do little to clarify anything. The Ten Commandments are one of Western culture's great symbols of law. In its arbitrary and erratic jurisprudence, the U.S. Supreme Court has become a symbol of the opposite.

Rich Lowry

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Posted by Nathan at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)
Mm-hmm, Sure « Kansas City Chiefs »

This* is just a negotiating ploy:

Hartwell was also headed for a visit with an undisclosed team. His agent, Harold Lewis, indicated Hartwell had decided he wanted to play for the Chiefs.

If he had really decided to play for the Chiefs already, he would have cancelled further visits. But if a team believes that Hartwell will sacrifice a million dollars or so to "play for the Chiefs, who he really wants", then they might be persuaded to ante up more like five million dollars to convince Hartwell he'd rather play for someone else besides the Chiefs.

In other news, we've lost Blaylock. Which is sad, but I think we'll get some compensation because he was a restricted Free Agent, which is good for us. We've actually had a little too much depth at running back the last year or so. I say "too" much, because we've had a startling lack of "topth" at cornerback and linebacker, to say nothing of "depth". So if the compensation I think we get for losing Blaylock helps us get another good defender, I guess I'm all for it, since we still have Larry Johnson to get breakaway TD runs and Priest Holmes for Red Zone TD runs.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:17 AM | Comments (0)
New Car, New House... « Stuff Important to Me »

I've currently opened negotiations to purchase this townhome in Hawaii.

Hey, ya'll, I don't know who thought it was cute to outbid me on the last one, but the owner actually fell for "Amanda Huggenkiss" and rejected my bid, so please don't play any jokes like that this time, okay?

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Posted by Nathan at 06:11 AM | Comments (0)
Cool Stuff « Stuff Important to Me »


I'm a little frustrated, though, because I wanted to do a "Rock, Paper, Scissors" thing, but I can't seem to get a URL for the specific article. So, look at the one about concrete, then there's one about a guy who makes houses out of paper, and I guess all of 'em are pretty cool...

...except that I'm sure a few weeks or months from now they won't even have this ad up, or they will have changed to make the "Rock" appellation completely obselete...

I gotta tell ya, the choices we bloggers face in trying to give you a good product are grueling. You should hit my tip jar to say thanks, you know.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:42 AM | Comments (1)

March 03, 2005

So To Speak « Quotes You Can Steal »

Some people are born great; some people become great; some people have greatness thrust upon them...and some incompetent fools catch the favor of someone with power and ride coattails to significantly high everyone's dismay and detriment.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:06 AM | Comments (1)
"Asia By Blog" Is Up « Link O' Admiration »

Go see Simon.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:35 AM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2005

The Best Movie Review Ever « Humor »


He put it back up again.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)
They Say It Like It's A Bad Thing « GWOM »

I guess I'm Heteronormative.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:05 PM | Comments (0)
Bostages! « Blogging »

How does one delete trackback ping spam?

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Posted by Nathan at 02:32 PM | Comments (3)
Update on these Morality Threads « Blogging »

I seem to be in total disagreement with nearly all the people I normally agree with on socio-political issues.

Is it that I have kids and most of them do not? Possible, but I'm not sure.

In any case, do you think I'm going to get linked by Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, or any of the really big bloggers for my principled stand and (hopefully) plausible support for my views?

Nah, me either. But thanks for stopping by and reading, and commenting, faithful readers!

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Posted by Nathan at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)
» Steve's Two Cents links with: Blogger Voices Discovered
Turning It Off « GWOM »

Appropriateness is one of the aspects we are arguing here. And Social Environment.

Like it or not, we are society of a great diversity. Although a limited and immature viewpoint might think so, we aren't just composed of 22-year-old males who like scatalogical humor. There are children around all the time. We all have mothers, and Great Aunt Sadies. Religious folk rub elbows with atheists.

One of the most necessary social skills is to know when to "Turn it off". I love humor. I've got a ton of jokes that I love. I sometimes enjoy dirty jokes. I do enjoy a racy movie. I admit it: I like boobies.

But the context is of utmost importance. The military environment in which I work places a high emphasis on self-control and professionalism. But if you are always formal, you suffer from a lack of esprit-de-corps. One of the things I've learned long ago is to know when you can relax and be "people", and when you need to stand on formality. I know who I can tease, and who I can't. When I'm speaking to a superior officer, you will always hear proper addresses of respect coming out of my mouth. But when I'm with my own subordinates, the working situation is much closer, and I allow them to relax quite a bit. I don't allow them to call me by my first name, no, but they can joke around and even tease me.

But if another officer is around, or another enlisted, I demand that they tighten up and show me proper respect and courtesies and such. It's not that I deserve it, or need my ego fed, but the military lives and dies on its formality, and ability to follow the proper customs. That's how you can order men to charge the machine-gun nest, and they'll do it, even knowing that most of them will die.

Please note: I set the standard with my subordinates. My superiors set the standard with me. When the superiors are around, their standard is default over mine.

It should be the same way with profanity/obscenity/sexuality. If someone lives their lives watching TV shows with F-bombs when they aren't necessary to the storyline, what language might they use when they get irritated with the salesperson at Target?

When my daughter belches loudly, I don't spank her, of course. But I remind her that she should try to do it quietly, and say "excuse me" if she can't or makes a mistake. But if the TV show or movie has belches and farts as humor, it makes it that much harder to teach her proper manners.

When someone steeps themself in profantiy and obscenity, they begin to think that's the default. When there are no children around in 90% of their life, and they are used to acting like that, and everyone they watch on TV and movies acts like that, are they going to stop and check to make sure no children are around before they let loose with a string of profanity? Somehow, I doubt it.

But what if the standard were Family Friendly? There are always ways to get less-family-friendly fare. Rent movies, go see movies, pay-per-view, purchase CDs, stream audio/video over the web, wait until after 10pm on HBO (that was the old standard...I'm fairly certain it doesn't hold true anymore, but I haven't watched HBO in more than a decade, so I could be wrong). Still, these things could all emphasize that in our society, you assume there are kids around and act accordingly.

Right now, they don't.

I can tell a string of dirty jokes if I want to. I even think some of 'em are funny. But I can also tell a string of funny clean jokes. And most of them are far funnier. Can you?

The word on the street is that Chris Rock just isn't funny without the F-bomb. Bill Cosby touched on the same issues with greater depth and sensitivity, with more humorous results. Isn't it sad that Chris Rock (and other modern comedians) can't do that anymore?

Ellen Degeneres reportedly could read the alphabet and make it funny. But she had to learn to be funny under pretty stringent standards, didn't she? Compare that to the next generation of comedienne: Jeneane Garafalo. No comparison.

And when Ellen stopped being a comedienne and started being an "alternative lifestyle" pioneer, she stopped being funny right along with it. That may not really prove any points, but it is interesting, I think.

The point is, adults should set the standard for mature behavior for children to properly model. Then, in adult settings with no children around, go ahead and bring out the juvenile humor and sexualizations, etc. But cable TV is ubuquitous enough that it can no longer be considered an adult setting.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)
Follow-On to Social Standards « GWOM »

My Miriam-Webster Word O' the Day is: "Misanthrope" Woot!

And while people are up in arms about Sen. Stevens using the legislative process to see if standards can be applied to cable TV, I find this to be more disturbing, more upsetting, and more worthy of debate and outrage.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:34 AM | Comments (4)
Art « GWOM »

As a musician, one thing I understood a long time ago is that Art occurs through creativity within limits.

The best music often had the most restrictive limitations. The worst has almost none.

Free-form jazz is nearly unbearable to all but the most-sophisticated jazz aficiandos, because the limits are so fluid that most people can't even see them. When any note is just as good as any other, where's the beauty of finding the right one?

When anything is permissible, where is creativity in trying to find ways to imply?

The most horrible and moving thing I've ever seen was something I never saw. Remember the movie The Hitcher. At one point, Tommy Howell is eating French Fries and bites into a finger. Gross, but not all that bad, because you saw it.

No, the worst was when Tommy's love interest was chained between a diesel tractor and its trailer. And Tommy has the chance to shoot Rutger Hauer...if he does, she dies; but if he doesn't, Rutger lets go the clutch and she dies. He freezes, and they show Rutger letting go the clutch...

That scene was riveting and moving and disturbing and only possible because of the limitations and standards placed on movies at that time. Nowadays, they would probably show her getting pulled apart (Computer-Generated Images, dontchaknow?) and the movie would be the worse for it.

Can anyone honestly say that the story and impact of Starship Troopers was enhanced by nude shower scenes?

Something I pointed out to my friends, although they didn't seem to get play a video game that has a fake-looking sexy girl in it. You want to see her naked. Why? There's a trillion pictures of naked boobies on the web, why would you want to see this one? Because you care about the character, and because you can't see 'em. Anyone who understands that it is far more sexy to conceal than reveal understands what I'm saying.

You don't have to eliminate sexuality and sexiness by not allowing excessive skin. In fact, you enhance it. But by doing so, by concealing overt sexuality, you put it into a context that adults can understand and appreciate but will go right over kids' heads without affecting them in the slightest.


I know I'm not, but sometimes I feel like I'm the only one fighting the battle for quality against smut. Because, yes, I do believe the two are mutually exclusive.

If you don't understand that, you don't. No amount of trying to point out examples is going to get through. And maybe I'm wrong...but I really don't think so.

Just thinking aloud on this part:
I really want one person to explain why a$$ and f--- are okay on cable TV during primetime, but not on broadcast TV at all...without resorting to "that's the way it is", or "that's what I like". I want a logical explanation that is internally consistent on why it is better for society to have this (i.e. the current standard) rather than Sen. Stevens' or "All Porn, All The Time!" as the allowable standard. I don't think it can be done.

But you know what? Don't even try. Your thought process will satisfy you, but not me, and we'll get in an argument and both of us will get mad and nothing will get resolved.

But if you drop an F-bomb in front of my kids out in public, you have no right to complain or sue when I punch you in the nose. If you say I have the right and responsibility to control what my kids see and hear in an adult-default environment, you have no right to complain about how I do it. Deal?

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Posted by Nathan at 08:30 AM | Comments (6)
Decency Standards « GWOM »

One of the problems with having a default "Adult" setting for entertainment that parents must preview and/or restrict access to for their children is simply that we get a separate "Kid-Friendly" entertainment.

When I was a kid, I watched The Magnificent Seven and Rio Lobo and A Bridge Too Far and Kelly's Heroes and M.A.S.H. and The Walton's and The Carol Burnett Show and Star Wars. These were all made for adults, but were family-friendly.

Got that? Made for adults, but without graphic sex and profanity and violence. So there was no need to come up with anything else for the kids.

What was the greatest travesty foisted on an unsuspecting public in recent years? It's probably a toss-up between Caillou and George Lucas' kid-oriented Star Wars prequels.*

Point being, when you set out to make something for kids, you get lots of fart jokes and a fear of showing people use guns. And everything works out as long as people share. And no one gets a spanking, even if they really need one.

But if the adult entertainment remained suitable for an entire family, then you wouldn't need to come up with a secondary category for kids, and you wouldn't end up with dumbed-down entertainment. One of the best things about Pixar (which stands in stark contrast to anything else put out by Hollywood) is that it writes stories for adults, but puts it in a medium that kids will enjoy just for itself, even if they don't get all the jokes and the subtext and deeper meanings.

Heck, a thought just occurred to me: I grew up before dumbed-down children's entertainment became a big thing. I didn't have to suffer through Scrappy-Doo and Care Bears and GI Joe (where millions of kilotons of ordnance are set off weekly and no one ever gets even a splinter of injury). Is my taste deeper and more mature because I wasn't raised on crap? Do we actually teach our children better taste, better humor, more complex issues of life, and so forth, when we don't have Children's Programming, i.e., when the stuff adults watch is okay for kids, even if not aimed at them?

Don't get me started on why putting the tag "Adult" on the front of entertainment usually means "gratuitous at the level a 14-year-old appreciates most".

Again, this is all rant and emotion against the people who condescendingly refuse to acknowledge that they aren't actually advocating a lack of censorship, they just want it to be automatically set at their desired level of immaturity. Their logic isn't internally consistent: if you can always turn off stuff you don't like, and it is the job of parents to control their kids viewing, than there truly is no reason not to broadcast XXX sex shows and snuff films on broadcast television.

I want the default setting to be "child friendly" while still aimed at entertaining adults. Sexual and Violent situations can still be addressed and included, but not during primetime on broadcast or cable, I say. There are good and logical reasons for that view that should be obvious.

Read More "Decency Standards" »

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Posted by Nathan at 08:13 AM | Comments (5)
Counter Proposal « GWOM »

Tell you what: let's censor the crap out of cable TV, and if you don't like it, you can always turn it off. No one forces you to order Cable TV, either.*

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Posted by Nathan at 07:55 AM | Comments (0)
More on Censorship « GWOM »

Digger's Realm has more on the issue I weighed in on here.

I'm going to use that as a pretext to continue ranting.

I'm also going to clarify once more, I don't support Sen. Stevens. But I'm growing ever-more incensed at the reaction to it.

Does Sen. Stevens not have the right to let his ideas be put in a public forum to be voted on? Some of you people are acting like he's trying to tear up the US Constitution.

We're getting lots of witty sayings out of this, like, "Keep the Democrats out of my wallet, and the Republicans out of my entertainment industry -- Stephen Green." Yeah, that sounds cute, but like that old saw says, a clever saying doesn't constitute an argument.

Hollywood is strongly aligned to the left. You know what you get with that? Marxism, socialism, PETA, ELF, anti-gun attitudes, anti-religion attitudes.

So Republicans would want to keep curse words out of entertainment. Does that make the entertainment worse? Only if you think gratuitous use of obscenities is funny in and of itself.

Leaving entertainment in the hands of Democrats (which Mr. Green and his supporters apparently have no problem with) means that The Passion of the Christ would never have been made. I guess you guys care nothing about that sort of censorship, eh? It went on to be one of the highest grossing movies ever, because when given a choice, people will watch better stuff than Hollywood wants to give us. But the "Democrat"* standards which are supposedly so free, in reality are only free to reach the lowest common denominator.

It means that Fahrenheit 9/11 is held up as a shining example of "truth". It means that Culture of Death movies are made without concern, perhaps in a conscious attempt to shape opinion, like Million Dollar Baby.

People, if we leave entertainment to Hollywood, we get Caillou.

Let's look at some of the things that "Republican" Standards brought us:
-Star Wars
-The original Star Trek
-The Honeymooners
-Scooby Doo
-The Flintstones
-Marilyn Monroe
-Speed Racer

Excellent stuff there, no? Would any of those been improved with the addition of boobies and cusswords? What do more relaxed standards bring us? A live-action remake of Scooby-Doo, complete with Scrappy Doo urinating on Daphne. Nice job, there, guys. I don't see how the addition of Sen. Stevens' standards wouldn't have made that better by subtraction. Or another example: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure was a most excellent movie. Was it improved by the contrived scene of having Napolean fall down and say "Merde!" with the expletive appearing in subtitles, just so it wouldn't get a G rating? When Hollywood adds profanity and obscenity to get a PG rating, how are we served? Sure, it might make a few adolescents giggle...but the vast bulk of our society does not consist of adolescents. I see no reason why we simply must set our standards on the basis of adolescent attitude.

Let me restate my premise, if it has gotten lost in my ranting:
Entertainment was better 30 years ago. It is not because they had more restrictive standards, necessarily, but the looser standards become, the more crap they offer us. "Lowest Common Denominator" entertainment seems to invariably be worse. If (and only if) imposing Sen. Stevens standards would result in better entertainment, I would be all for it. But since that's an impossible proposition, I'll fail to give my support and just complain about all you people who think using the word "a$$" 10 times in half an hour is funny in and of itself.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:04 AM | Comments (2)

March 01, 2005

Aphorism Of The Day « Aphorisms »
Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time. -- Stephen Wright

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Posted by Nathan at 07:21 PM | Comments (0)
Conservative Censorship? (UPDATED) « Social Issues »

You know what? I could care less about what Sen. Stephens wants to try to do. The market can sidestep conservative controls more easily than liberal indoctrination.

My response to Mr. Green was:

Well, considering the lifeless, banal crap coming out of Hollywood these days (i.e., do we really need another remake of a 70s TV show?) along with the left-leaning activism, can we keep the Democrats out of our entertainment, too? I can see boobies anytime I want on the internet, I don't need it to distract me from the complete lack of plot or compelling characters in today's "entertainment".

I didn't spell it out, but if imposing a few more family values means people actually put a little effort into better plotlines, is that a bad thing? Not that I support the imposition of censorship, but Hollywood's way sure isn't working.

Need an example? "Titanic". Very nice boobies, very lousy story. Final analysis? Not worth seeing for either one.

UPDATE: I'm not trying to argue For the Children (tm) or anything...but in a society populated with people from age 2 to 92, why does the default *have* to be for the Beavis and Butthead level of maturity? Why do 22-year-olds (and people who might technically be chronologically older...) seem to think the world exists for them? Oh, yeah: that's what it means to be 22, I guess.

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Nick Smith Explains His Distaste for Condescension « Meme Stolen from Jeff G. »
It's a tiny bit arrogant of people to go around worrying about those less fortunate.
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Posted by Nathan at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)
Why I Talk About "Hits", not "Readers" « Blogging »

Michelle Malkin does some figuring on the back of her virtual napkin and comes up with some plausible numbers.

So only about 25,000 unique individuals visit Instapundit in a day, eh? I'm not as far behind as I thought. Only 24,700 (or so) to go!*

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Posted by Nathan at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)
Prayer Request « Stuff Important to Me »

Please remember my friend and regular socio-political sparring partner, Jo, in your prayers. She's having some medical difficulties and has spent the last two nights in urgent care.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)
Eager Jimmy Reviews Fellowship of the Ring (UPDATED) « Stuff Important to Me »

The best review ever. Ever.

UPDATE: Well, the Artist Formely Known as Juan Gato (now Farm Accident Digest) apparently pulled the post. Which is too bad, because it was funny. He said it would only be up for 30 minutes, but I assumed he meant the link from his main page, not the actual review itself. So I didn't copy the text, as I should have. Alas!

Here's the link to the main Eager Jimmy page of movie reviews.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:22 AM | Comments (1)
This Just In « Aphorisms »

"My cat's breath smells like cat food..."

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Posted by Nathan at 08:19 AM | Comments (2)
Some of the Positive Results of American "Hubris" « GWOT »

Up over at Wizbang.

My favorite:

5) Iraq. There's plenty of news around about Iraq, so I'm not going to repeat it here. I'm just going to bring up one point.

In the recent elections in Iraq, there was no clear winner. All three factions had good showings, with the Shiites doing the best -- but none of them has the numbers to put together a government on their own. So they're trying to settle the matter and assemble a government.

And they're doing it by TALKING. No military coups, no assassinations, no attempts to rally the mobs. They're NEGOTIATING the matter, like so many other democracies. That is old hat to the West, but completely unprecented in the Arab/Muslim world.

(emphasis mine)

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Posted by Nathan at 08:14 AM | Comments (1)
Please Help « GWOT »

Anyone out there oppose the invasion of Iraq? What do you think now? Do you have good reason to deny the connection between the elections in Iraq brought about by President Bush and the US military invasion of Iraq and other developments in the Middle East, including:
-Libya giving up WMD
-Significant progress toward peace in the Levant
-Egypt will now allow an opposition candidate in the Presidential election
-Lebanon is going to kick Syria out
-Lebanon's puppet govt (controlled by Syria) resigned
-Saudi Arabia had municipal-level elections for the first time, ever
-UAE and Bahrain are mulling holding elections
If you see no connection, please explain what the cause is. Or explain how this could have come about without the invasion of Iraq, if you prefer.

In short: do you now think you were wrong about President Bush? If not, why not?

If anyone does respond, I will moderate the comments carefully and brutally smack-down anyone who gets personally derisive. I want to actually hear some thought processes and justifications, not engage in an argument.

(Full disclosure: I'm too lazy to wade through rhetorical sewage on sites like Oliver Willis and the Daily Kos to try and find the gems of actual thought I'm looking for)

If any person who supported the war has some insight into the opponent thought process, please feel free to share that, as well. Or links to well-written articles about either coming to realize President Bush was correct, or to those who still maintain there is no connection between President Bush's leadership and the progress we've seen in the last few weeks.

Basically, I want to hear some different ideas without having to filter out "McChimpy Bushitler is Selling Our Freedom for Oillllllllllllllllll!"

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Posted by Nathan at 07:44 AM | Comments (4)
Tragedy « Social Issues »

Stuff like this really upsets and angers me. My heart goes out to the Judge, and I will pray for her. If your heart is aligned that way, please join me.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:00 AM | Comments (1)