Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Off 'til later tonight

I'm off to beer league softball. Tonight I'll be roaming at short stop for the first time since I was a younger man-we'll see if I still have the spring in my step for that position. In the mean time, make sure you head over to the Badger Blog Alliance. There's some fun going on over there now that NRO's K-Lo uncovered the plot to take over The Corner-and the world!

Deep Throat identified

Am I the only one who is finding this terribly anti-climatic?

'Deep Throat' Reportedly Comes Forward

Monday, May 30, 2005

More sad Memorial Day coincidence

This time, a woman shares a terrible bond in death with her father:
Petty Officer 3rd Class Shane Schmidt and her father share a unique, yet tragic bond — both survived their war experiences in the Navy only to be killed in car accidents back home. The 32-year-old soldier also was buried on the 32nd anniversary of her father's death.

Sad coincidence on Memorial Day

The father of a soldier who died in Iraq meets the woman who held his son as he died:
...he'd stopped by the memorial built for Vietnam nurses. He met a woman who looked at the button he was wearing that bore a picture of his son, and she recognized him. She told him that she was an Army nurse and had held his son, First Lieutenant Nainoa (ny-ee-NOH'-ah) Hoe, as he died in Iraq.

Too much Danica Patrick?

I'm not obsessed with Danica Patrick. Really. But after a weekend jam packed with Patrick web search traffic (including the odd search terms of "Danica Patick Kerry" and "Danica Patrick Bush"), I've noticed the first search term in the opposite direction-"too much Danica Patrick". Well, in honor of that search term, Jiblog is going Danica Patrick free. At least until she's interesting again, which may not be until Indy next year.

Memorial Day rememberance

Take a little time today for some quiet and solitude, and think back on all of those who have fought for the freedom on this nation. Think back on those who have paid the ultimate price with their lives, think about those who paid with their blood, and even send your thoughts out to those came through our nations wars having been fortunate enough to pay with sweat and tears.

If you find it difficult, start by thinking of those in your own family who have served. I personally do not know of anyone in my family who has died in battle for this country, but I do know of numerous family members who have served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. I start by thinking of a Grandfather who I never met (those of you who have met me may not see the resemblance :-) ), and I move through the uncles and cousin who have served.

After your moment of quiet reflection, enjoy the rest of your day. After all, that is in part what they fought for, and still do.

The folly of the legalize drugs movement

There is one political movement today that cuts across political dividing lines, and that is the legalize drugs movement. You will find conservatives and liberals alike who lambaste the war on drugs as an expensive failure, who claim that the only people punished by the anti-drug movement are the victims of drugs, and who claim that the legislation of illicit drugs is an invasion of personal freedoms. According to their rosey outlook, we can solve all of this by legalizing drugs and regulating and taxing them. But does that belief reflect market realities?

First, it is especially humorous to see otherwise free market conservatives endorsing this idea of legalize, regulate, and tax. Think about this for a moment. Let's say we do legalize drugs. Government has two options. They can regulate and tax similarly to the way they regulate and tax alcohol right now. Is that going to go anywhere in reducing the negative impact drugs make on society? Not likely. If anything, that course of action is going to take drugs and move them from what is right now essentially a niche market and turn them into a mass market product. The threshold for addiction to most illegal drugs is much lower than the threshold for alcohol or nicotine, and with the legitimate money of corporations behind the marketing efforts, this is going to lead to a mushrooming of drug related problems in society. Even more people are going to become addicted, even more people are going to spend every last dime they have on drugs, and even more people are going to be destitute and violently seek out their next high.

Okay, now let's say we go with option two and we legalize the drugs and heavily regulate and heavily tax them. What have we solved? Any time there is a market for a product, and we have to admit that there will always be a market for drugs, and government steps in and heavily taxes and heavily regulates them, a black market in that product is inevitable. The black market leaves buyers and sellers extremely vulnerable to extortion, blackmail, and violence. Additionally, while the product is cheaper and more easily available, it is also of lower quality and occasionally extremely dangerous. The heavy regulation and tax route is going to do two things. It is going to create one legitimate market that is difficult to participate in except for the wealthy, and it is going to create a black market that is even more dangerous than the one we currently face.

I'm going to refrain from tarring and feathering all of those out their that support the legalization of drugs. Some truly believe that this is the solution to the problem. I think many more are trying to put a legitimate face on this, though, for purely selfish reasons-they want legal access to a product that they themselves use or want to use. The more and more I read on the legalization, regulation, and taxation of drugs, the more I see similarities between that other farcical movement, the medical marijuana movement. Neither movement really seems to be concerned about the good of society, but rather the selfish wants of the few.

(Disclaimer: I would support marijuana as a legitimate pharmaceutical product. I do not support medical marijuana laws that allow individuals to cultivate their own product, much as I would not support laws that allow people to manufacture their own codeine, morphine, or vicodin.)

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Good stuff Maynard

It's funny how some sayings have such staying power in your mind, yet for the life of you ya just can't remember what they came from. Good stuff Maynard is an example. I say that damn near every time I feed our cat. Last night as the lovely Mrs. Jib and I laid our heads down on our pillows, I became a little obsessed with trying to remember where that saying came from (it was an 80's era Malt-o-meal commercial). I'd be curious to hear from all of you the tag lines and sayings that you use in your every day lives with out even really noticing it half the time.

French reject EU constitution

Well, my gut was wrong. The French today rejected the EU constitution. Get ready to watch a new dance, the Brussels two step. European beaurocrats are going to shove this constitution down the throats of Europeans one way or another. After all, they've been crafting what is less a constitution and more a beaurocratic reason for being for years now. These enlightened leaders of Europe are not going to let something as inconsequential as the voice of the people stand in their way of doing what Napolean, Hitler, and Stalin all failed at-bringing the whole of Europe under one umbrella. Don't believe me? Listen to Jacques Chirac:
"France has expressed itself democratically," Chirac said. "It is your sovereign decision, and I take note."
The key words in that quote are "your" and "...and I take note." That's politico for, "You've spoken, and I'm going to pay lip service to listening to you, but I'm going to ignore your decision."

Flower Power Photo Blogging, part 1

More roses from this edition of flower power photo blogging.

Flower Power Photo Blogging, part 2

The lovely Mrs. Jib is a huge fan of roses.

Flower Power Photo Blogging, part 3

All the water droplets on the photo were man made; I watered the plants prior to digging out the camera.

Flower Power Photo Blogging, part 4

More flower power photo blogging.

Flower Power Photo Blogging, part 5

A little boredom is setting in this Memorial Day weekend Sunday, so I went out and played with my aging digital camera. Enjoy the flower power photo blogging.

Open wheel racing v. stock car racing

As I watch this year's Indy 500, I'm noticing some of the reasons why NASCAR has become the most popular form of racing in the United States and open wheel racing has suffered.
  1. Open wheel racing is not as TV-friendly as stock car racing. As I watch this race as a casual viewer, I'm reminded of how difficult it is to identify these cars. The announcers even have some difficulty. The stock cars have larger surfaces which allow for large numbers and distinctive paint schemes, making the cars easily identifiable for the casual fan. The larger surface of stock cars also allow for high visibility of corporate sponsorships, which also helps the casual viewer get into a race. It also means more money for the stock car teams.
  2. No bumping and grinding. Americans are a bit of a rough and tumble lot. Part of the excitement of stock car racing is that the cars are much more forgiving of bump and grind racing. In open wheel racing, bumping and grinding is fatal. This leads to passes in open wheel racing that are completed very quickly. Stock car passes take a little longer and have a little more drama to them.
  3. Engine sound. During the muscle car era, Americans fell in love with the throaty roar of an engine. Stock cars provide that throaty rumble in spades. The engines in the open wheel vehicles have much more of whine, a sound that many Americans scoff at. Don't believe me? Take a look at America's relationship with motorcycles. The throaty Harley is a much loved sound. The whine of crotch rockets is routinely scoffed.
  4. IRL's current lack of household names. If you are an ardent fan of either stock car racing or open wheel racing, you are going to know the names of the drivers, so this doesn't matter. Casual fans are where the ratings are at, though, and with casual fans IRL comes up noticeably lacking in personalities. Again, this partially goes back to corporate sponsorship. People know NASCAR drivers because their corporate sponsors help make them stars. Take Tony Stewart as an example. Race fans knew who Tony Stewart was when he was an open wheel racer, but the larger population did not. Slap Stewart together with Home Depot, and the name Tony Stewart ends up on many more people's radars. Now this is a catch 22 for IRL. The mainstream corporations got involved with NASCAR not necessarily because the vehicles were more visible (although that helps), but because that is where the eyes are. IRL may be lure more mainstream corporations if a buzz starts to form around IRL, ratings start to come back, and the sponsorships prove to be less expensive than NASCAR, but that will be a very long term change.

David Corn, winner of the Red Forman Dumbass award

Yes, it has been a little while since I've broken out the Jiblog "Red Forman Dumbass Award." Today, David Corn wins with a post over at the H-Bomb. Corn claims that President has admitted to flinging propaganda at the American Public:
Speaking at one of his Orwellian, faux townhall meetings on Social Security in Greece, New York on May 24, Bush said

See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.

I'm no historian of the presidency. but I'm guessing this is the first time in the history of the Republic that a president has publicly acknowledged he was catapulting propaganda at the American public.

Hey, dumbass. Try re-reading Bush's quote a couple of time. He is saying that he has to repeat what he saying (i.e. the truth) in order to catapault over the propaganda out there. He isn't saying that he's catapaulting BS at the American public.

Congratulations, David Corn. You are Jiblog's current Red Forman Dumbass Award Winner.

I fear that this award could end up getting over awarded to H-Bomb posters, so I may need to take a look at the award process down the road.

Robby Gordon v. Danica Patrick

Robby Gordon, perennial NASCAR idiot and occasional Indy 500 participant, has come out to say that he will not compete in the Indy 500 again unless IRL "evens the playing field". Why even the playing field? Because Gordon believes that Danica Patrick has an advantage over the rest of the field due to her 100 lb weight. Sayeth Gordon:
"The lighter the car, the faster it goes," Gordon said. "Do the math. Put her in the car at her weight, then put me or Tony Stewart in the car at 200 pounds and our car is at least 100 pounds heavier.

"I won't race against her until the IRL does something to take that advantage away."

Well, well Robby. That stinks of chauvanism. Why, you might say. After all, it is a fact that a lighter car will go faster. Two reasons. First, why is Gordon choosing Patrick as his target on this? After all, by that logic, Robby Gordon is giving away 50 pounds to 155 pound Jeff Gordon every week on the NASCAR circuit. Does that mean Jeff Gordon has an unfair advantage because he's smaller and his car goes just a little bit faster? Why isn't Robby Gordon asking that Jeff Gordon go out with a 50 pound weight in his car?

Second, what about the strength advantage Gordon and his fellow 200 pounders have over the 100 pound Patrick? Believe it or not, it does take some upper body strength and endurance to control these cars for 500 miles. Granted, there is more of it required in NASCAR than IRL, but just watch their hands when they have the in-cockpit camera views today, and watch how much movement there is to control these 1500 pound vehicles at 230 mph. Gordon is ignoring this obvious advantage he has over lighter drivers.

The lovely Mrs. Jib had this to say on the topic, "That p***y! He's just afraid of being beat by a girl." Although I haven't said it as eloquently as she, I agree with her. After all, Gordon never complained about racing against the less competitive, 120 pound Sarah Fisher in past races. Robby, if you are so afraid of the weight disadvantage, lose some weight, tubby.

Drat! I've been fisked. Wendy from Boots & Sabers and the Badger Blog Alliance corrects me in the comments. NASCAR does add weight to Jeff Gordon's car to make up for the weight difference. I still stand by my Sarah Fisher comparison, though. Good catch, Wendy.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Memorial Day weekends past and present

This weekend is the first Memorial Day weekend in five years that I haven't gone up north and roughed it with a few friends and their family. I must say, I miss the hours of fruitless fishing, the grilling of steaks for dinner, the beer and bloody buddies in the evening, and the crappy coffee and headaches in the mornings. Just the same, I'm tired of driving 4 hours to freeze and get soaking wet, so I don't mind taking the year off as much.

So this year I am going to partake in an older tradition of mine. On Sunday, I'm going to hunker down for a marathon of racing. Then on Monday I'm going to hunker down again for a day full of war movies. I did a check of AMC and Turner Classic Movies to see what they are playing on Monday, and I was disappointed. No Stalag 17. No The Great Escape. No John Wayne. No Dirty Dozen. The lack of some of my favorite war movies may drive me back to the North Woods next year.

Unintended consequences

It is not uncommon for people to do what they think is the right thing, only to be smacked in between the eyes with the unintended consequences of that action. I've been thinking a lot about that lately, especially as it relates to embryotic stem cell research and the bird flu. Odd paring, yes, but here me out on this.

The goal, however realistic or unrealistic it may be, of embryotic stem cell research is to prolong the life of those humans who are walking on this planet right now. Setting aside the moral issues, it would seem to be a good idea, right? Nature has a funny way of making sure we humans don't over extend our stay though. So, stripping away the moral questions, what could be the unintended consequences of helping millions upon millions of us live longer through treatments developed from embryotic stem cells (or adult stem cells for that matter)?

Well, despite the fact that we have done a good job of bottling up former mass killers like the plague, small pox, and typhoid, to name a few, there are still many other illnesses out there that are capable of killing large numbers of people during pandemic infections. What happens when you rapidly increase the number of people who are most vulnerable to communicable diseases? You invite outbreaks of those diseases, and the outbreaks would logically spread beyond those vulnerable populations to the healthier populations.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't investigate ways to prolong human life, and I'm not saying we shouldn't look at the ways adult stem cells can help prolong life. What I am saying is that we may be setting ourselves up for an era of pandemics. This is really a time where we should be looking two steps ahead to in order to try to prevent the unintended consequences of our actions. I don't believe we are doing that right now, and despite my protestations over the bird flu scare stories, I think we are woefully unprepared for pandemic illnesses.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Not one dime?

Eh. I'm not joining the not one dime effort. As angry as I was over the compromise, I'm still a realist. Congress will never have a fully conservative or fully liberal set of members. Some Democrats and some Republicans will always walk a different path, even if we withhold our money from those candidates. Not supporting those few candidates who walk to the beat of a different drummer in general elections is to ensure your party will be in the minority and only capable of being the obstructionists, not the obstructed. As frustrating as it is, I'd rather be the obstructed.

Not one dimers, I support your movement when it comes to primaries. In general elections, though, that movement isn't going to help conservatism one bit.

EU v. Jimmy Carter

Man, who do you cheer for when you have Europe criticizing Jimmy Carter? It's like watching the Bears play the Vikings-you wish there was some way both could lose.

Bob Wolfley: Too Much Hope on Danica Patrick's Shoulders

Bob Wolfley brings up a good point in regards to Danica Patrick and the Indy Racing League-putting the resurrection of the Indy Racing League on her shoulders is asking a little too much of her:
If you check her résumé, you won't find an entry that reads: "Can raise great American sports tradition from the dead."

And in case you've been away on an extended vacation to a galaxy far, far away, the Indianapolis 500 has long since stopped being the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Even though I jumped on the "Danica as IRL marketing juggernaut" band wagon, he is exactly right. IRL needs more than just Danica Patrick. And he's right in saying that she will not single handedly bring the Indy 500 back to its former heights this year. But he's wrong in declaring it dead, and I think he is underestimating her potential long term affect on making open wheeled racing competitive again.

Open wheeled racing has been on life support for some time now. Open wheeled racing can blame that partially on Dale Earnhardt and ESPN, but it has to place some of the blame on itself as well. The CART-IRL break was the ultimate self inflicted bullet wound. Now, with teams migrating from CART and back to Indy, the IRL itself starting to resemble the old CART a little with the addition of road courses, and a rising star who, if she is as talented as her hype leads us to believe, has a chance to transcend the sport. These could be the beginnings of open wheeled racing as a Phoenix. The skyrocketing cost of involvement in NASCAR just may give IRL the opening it needs. I guess it is only appropriate that IRL's future star resides in the city of Phoenix.

Saudi King Fahd Hospitalized

This is a story worth watching because Saudi Arabia can hardly be considered a stable state, and any kind of uprising that may occur if/when King Fahd dies could have serious implications on oil prices and Middle East geopolitics. I think the royal family would be able to maintain control if there were unrest in the event of Fahd's death, but it is one those situations where you have to at least be prepared for the worst. So I wouldn't be surprised if Fox News' TV coverage is correct and security is being ramped up in Suadi Arabia.

Interestingly, the AP runs with a piece that reads like an obituary.

Update 8/1/05
I noticed that I'm one of a few sites that come up on a search for "King Fahd Dies Video", even though this post is quite dated now. As a service, here is a link to video on the news of King Fahd's death.

Zarqawi's Owie okay?

Well, the latest report is that Zarqawi is okay and that he is still running the insurgency. Donald Rumsfeld this morning compared Zarqawi to Hitler in his bunker. I have another analogy. This stinks of the old Soviet news cycle. It would leak out that a Soviet leader was gravely ill. Then we'd be told by the Soviets, "Nyet, nyet, our comrade is in perfect health." And that would be the public story until a new leader would be chosen, at which time we'd be informed of the former leader's sudden death and of his chosen successor.

Al Qaeda is no USSR, but I wouldn't be surprised if Zarqawi were already dead.

Hat Tip
I nearly forgot to add this-I owe Wigderson Library & Pub a royalty for the use of 'Zarqawi's owie.'

Viagra, Cialis, Levitra may cause blindness

The latest bad medicine story is about how Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra may cause blindness. Apparently, the increased blood flow facillitated by these two medications actually leads to a pinching of the optic nerve in the eye.

These leads to an obvious, if harsh, question: Is it the increased blood flow that causes these medicines to work, or the decreased vision?

I kid, I kid.

Hillary Clinton at 53%

I was listening to Jeff Wagner discuss the latest USA Today-Gallup-CNN Poll, which shows that 53% of those polled would vote for Hillary Clinton. In the remainder of this post, I am going to work off of the assumption that there are no methodology problems with this poll and that it is statistically accurate.

So, with Hillary at 53%, should the right be concerned? Yes. The American public is forever willing to give politicians a second chance. I'm not talking about card carrying members of the Republican and Democratic parties. I'm talking about those individuals who vote in presidential elections, but just don't follow politics particularly closely, people who make up probably a third or more of the electorate every election. They are willing to vote for politicians who have revolted them in the past if that politician has seemed to change their ways. Hillary has been posturing herself to get their vote since the day she join the Senate. If she wins re-election to her seat, she will have 7 years of a moderated Democratic record in the Senate to offset her controversial White House years, and I suspect there are a number of people willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Are Republicans underestimating her electiblility? Yes, and I don't think many realize they are doing it. I think most people on the right are concerned about Clinton running in '08, but it seems most are just so sure that she is unelectable that they are not taking her chances as seriously as they should. I'd like to remind my fellow members of the right that this is exactly what the left did in 2000. They felt Bush was unelectable. They took him seriously, but they were so sure that the American public would not make him president that I don't think they ever brought their 'A' game. My fear right now is that as seriously as everyone is taking a Clinton run in '08, they are still taking it for granted that there will be a huge grass roots movement against her.

What should the right be doing about it? Well, two things. First, Republican politicians should be engaging her constantly. Clinton has already started playing her Presidential chess match. Right now, nobody seems to be playing against her. Hell, Newt Gingrich seems to playing on her side right now. Republicans are allowing Hillary to play the political field right now, and no one is trying to force her to defend her moderate credentials. Second, and for all I know this may be occuring, party leadership needs to be laying out a Clinton strategy for the next 3 years.

Who in the Republican party would best be able to defeat Clinton? Well, Condoleeza Rice is the odds on favorite because she mitigates the advantage Democrats would have among women, and she would also make serious inroads with the black vote. Rice is an unknown quantity, though, as she has never run for an office before. We really wouldn't know what kind of a politician Rice would be until the primaries. Who else, then? Well, if it seems that Clinton is the odds on favorite for the Democratic nomination, then I think Jeb Bush would be the other logical option. Jeb against almost anyone else in the Democratic party would not be a good match up for Republicans because I just don't think that Americans would extend a 'Bush Dynasty'. Hillary is another matter, though. Americans would be forced to choose between two political dynasties, and I think it is a match up Jeb Bush could conceivably win.

We are a long way out from 2008, and I'll be interested to see how this all plays out. I'm concerned at this point, though. Just saying that America wouldn't elect Hillary isn't enough. In fact, it is a losing strategy.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Ugh. Another government apology

Why do governments do this? I've never understood it, and even now that it may be applicable to me in the smallest of ways, I still don't get it. Who cares if a government body today apologizes for another government body whose members are long dead. Does anybody ever really sleep better at night as a result of these? I mean, besides the government officials who wear themselves out with pats on the back afterwards? And who wastes time and resources seeking these apologies out? What a waste.

Lost video of F5 tornado found

This is pretty cool. A TV station in Oklahoma found lost footage of an F5 tornado in 1999.

Syrian intelligence agent caught in Iaq?

Maybe. This is one worth keeping an eye on.

Chicken little says the sky is falling, part 2

Let me start by saying that there is no doubt that the bird flu has dangerous pandemic potential. I talked about this flu months ago, and it really is in our best interests to prepare for it. I'm getting more and more irritated by the scare tactics being used to publicize it, though. Take this fictional blog of a pandemic outbreak by Nature magazine, for example. It seems that its main goal is to blame an outbreak on the United States. It's secondary goal would seem to be to scare up funds. For example:
Pandemics move faster than governments or international bureaucracies, and the cost is hundreds of billions of dollars more than it would have been had we tackled avian flu in Asia in the first place, and invested in flu research. For millions of families, the cost isn't measured in dollars.

Watching all that military hardware on the streets made me think. We imagined we could encourage pharmaceutical companies to develop innovative vaccines and drugs by offering 'incentives' or modest subsidies. When the military knows it needs a fighter aircraft, it doesn't offer incentives to Lockheed Martin or Boeing. It pays them through procurement to develop the weapon to the specifications it wants.

I'm getting disgusted on several levels. First, if half as much effort went into preperation for the bird flu as is going into scaring people, we'd have nothing to worry about. Second of, this is smelling more and more like a heavy handed fund raising effort all of the time. Third, if there is a pandemic, the public panic could become a self fulfilling prophecy with these organizations and media outlets planting the seeds of panic.

Cold medicine/crystal meth update

A couple of weeks ago, I began to wonder if too much was being made of the crystal meth-cold medicine link. Thanks to Channel 3000, I think I have an answer to that. No. And yes.

First, cold medicine certainly is being used to produce the stuff. Take it from former user and meth cooker Dana Beise:
Beise said a teenage girl either bought or stole Sudafed and similar products from pharmacies and supermarkets and then brought it to her and her boyfriend to make the drug.

"She went everywhere -- to North Dakota even, to Iowa," Beise said. "They would just take road trips and come back literally with garbage bags full."

But that isn't the biggest source of meth. It's Mexico, as I hinted at in that earlier post:

Beise said she thinks the soon-to-be law will help shut down the labs in Wisconsin, but the problem is 80 percent of the drug supply is coming from so-called superlabs in Mexico.
So what does that say about legislation in Wisconsin restricting the sale of certain cold medicines? Well, moving it behind the counter is probably a good thing, as is a per purchase limit. Requiring an ID and tracking the sales, while disturbing to those of us who are law abiding citizens, will show patterns of purchase from people willing to travel far and wide to acquire the cold medicine. Logic would dictate that it may concentrate meth labs in border areas, though, if Illinois, Iowa, or Minnesota have looser laws than Wisconsin.

The Mexico connection creates another interesting thing to contemplate, though. If crystal meth is the new crack cocaine, and an estimated 80% of the supply is coming from Mexico, isn't this just another reason we should clamp down on illegal traffic over the U.S.-Mexico border?

Mike points us to this well written piece on this topic by Jeff Wagner. I don't disagree with what Wagner says. In fact, I've allowed my opinion on this topic to evolve as I've learned more and more. There is one unique aspect to the manufacture of crystal meth, though. It is possible for the masses to engage in making this stuff, unlike most other drugs (marijuana being the exception). That creates additional problems that drug enforcement does not need to worry about when it comes to drugs like cocaine and heroin. The chief concern is how do you stop the 'professional' stuff from Mexico. The additional concerns are how do you keep the amateur stuff off the market? How do you keep the amateurs from killing themselves while making it? How do you keep the amateurs from putting out a bad batch and poisoning several people. How do you keep the amateurs from poisoning their own families while making the stuff? If 80% is coming from Mexico, 20% is still coming from somewhere else, and that's no small amount. Yes, the big busts are going to come from those getting caught with the Mexican crystal meth. Yes, some amateurs are going to have a way to get a hold of ephedrine from Mexico. Most amateurs are going to be trying to score the ephedrine-pseudophedrine from sources readily available to them, though, and most are going to be dealing with small batches and still making good ching off of it. The state has minimal control over anything that is coming from Mexico, but they can try to snuff out that which they can control-that especially dangerous local amateur crystal meth manufacturer.

I'm not squarely on the side of the state on this issue yet, I'm just leaning their way. And I started on the other side of this issue.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Congrats to Carrie Underwood

Congratulations to American Idol winner Carrie Underwood. More important, congratulations to me for predicting this 55 days ago!

Chicken little says the sky is falling

And I'm getting tired of hearing it. Health officials and scientists have been squawking about how the bird flu is going to kill 20 million people and rival the 1918 Spanish flu. Okay. Fine. We get it. Stop scaring us and start telling us how you plan to prevent it, limit it, and eradicate it. Instead all we get is proposal this, proposal that. If they continue to sound the klaxon without providing any solutions, I can't help but begin to think this is little more than a tactic to scare up more funds for NGOs, government health agencies, and researchers.

Son, father fight over ownership of Pope John Paul II's car

The man who owns the only car Pope John Paul II ever owned wants to auction it, but his father claims that the car belongs to him since he secured his son's business loans. The case is now in court. It seems to me that there is only one solution that the judge can present, one presented by King Solomon in slightly different situation many years ago. Cut the dang thing in half and give half to each of them. We'd see who the car really means more to then.

Parting note for the evening

I had to check my site stats before bed. My search engine hits are creating increased traffic for me, and for which I am thankful. But one of my goals is to keep my average visit length over 2 minutes. Well, all these searches for Danica Patrick, duck billed platypus, and how to put on a condom (?) have driven a once respectable visit length down to 32 seconds. It's a little disappoining, but I guess beggars can't be choosers.

Good night, all. See you in the morning.

Speaking of the H-bomb

It is always nice to see the left pining away for Laura Bush. They so desperately wish she were a Democrat-liberal-progressive.

The H-Bomb crap I expected

This is the kind of subtle self congratulatory/pity crap I expected from the H-Bomb.

Milwaukee Bucks win NBA draft lottery!

I had the pleasure of breaking this news to my softball team tonight, and everyone was rightly excited. Still, I can't help myself. I want to be very positive about this draft pick, but I just can't. I believe the AWOL Col. Ollie and I have discussed this before-NBA teams just don't build through the draft the way they used to. Instead you build through a mix of proven vets. There is no 'can't miss' pick in this draft, and I'm afraid that the Bucks are going to find a way to squander this meager opportunity.

Please, Arizona! Get rid of McCain already!

John McCain has to get his nose into everything, and in doing so he's costing all of us our money and our freedoms. Now he is moving towards having the U.S. Anti Doping Agency (USADA) test professional athletes from the major sports for steroids. Guess who will pay for it if he continues on this arc? Not the players. Not the owners. Not even the fans. Every tax payer will subsidize this with their taxes.

I'm the first guy on the 'steroids are bad' band wagon. I'm even steamed at how steroids have probably sullied baseball's record books. Government should not be doing the testing, though. There are plenty of ways Congress can apply pressure on the leagues to enforce this on their own. I DON'T WANT TO SUBSIDIZE TESTING ANY PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE'S URINE. It's bad enough that a few times a year I drop big ching to go see these people play games that high schoolers often play with more heart for free. In these tight fiscal times, I sure as hell don't want any percentage of my taxes to go towards testing them. McCain needs to butt his nose out of professional athletes privates. Apply pressure, yes. Get government involved, hell no. The only place government has in this issue is the enforcement of law, not in testing.

Firings will ultimately be good for the Milwaukee Police Dept.

It is tough to say that anything can good can come out of the Frank Jude case, but there is a small silver lining. The 8 individuals Nan Hegerty fired today are a disgrace to the profession and to clean cops everywhere. The Milwaukee Police Department can only become a better organization without them.


In my trusty Netscape 7.2 (I'm alternating between it and 8.0 right now), I had open six tabs on topics I had wanted to discuss before my softball game tonight, but I didn't have the time. I got home and chilled for a while, and then when I sat down to start writing, I sat on my mouse. Not only was it uncomfortable, it closed my browser. So before I hit the sack, I'm going to try to get out at least a couple of posts on my lost topics. This is a classic "don't ya hate it when..."

First, the inconsequencial stuff

Tuesday is softball night for me. It is also the night you all get the post you'd just as soon skip over-the Jib season stat post.

Tonight, the Waterbuffaloes lost again. o-3 on the year. Personally, I was 2-4 (or as Javon Walker would say, Jib was 2-4, and Jib was pleased). A double, a triple, 2 RBI, and a nifty play at third. For the season, I'm 4 for 10 (.400) with a single, a double, 2 triples, and 3 RBI. I'm slowly working my way towards my goal of a .600 season batting average.

And so ends another mind numbing Jib meme.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Words that numb the conscience

I know that I'm not breaking any new ground here, but I just watched ABC News's coverage of the House of Representatives decision to ease restrictions on stem cell usage today, and I couldn't help but notice the language that is used when supporters of possibly immoral actions talk. Scientific and technical jargon truly are the anesthetic of moral outrage.


I thought Leno would sink the prosecution in the case of which we shall not speak. Turns out his testimony was as odd as everything else in this case.

Reflecting on opinions of the compromise

There is something striking about opinions on the fillibuster compromise-they are all over the map. There are small little clusters of similar opinions, but both Democrats and Republicans both like the compromise and abhor it. I'd like to say something profound about the scatter shot of opinions out there, but I'm not sure there is anything profound to say about it. There is no real consensus on how this going to play out. We're all just going to have to sit back and watch how events develop coming out of the compromise.

Was the filibuster compromise just a power grab by 14 Senators?

I'll leave that up to you. (Hat tip The Corner for the quote.):
Hemmer: "There was one other outstanding issue on this though. This ‘extraordinary circumstances’ clause that could come back again. I dunno, maybe in weeks, maybe in months. Ultimately, is that where this debate is headed again?"

Senator John McCain: "No, because, I think that we’re talking about 14 people now, not 100. It’s up to us, the 14 to decide what’s extraordinary circumstances. We trust one another. We’ll know it. It’s like child pornography, you’ll know it when you see it. And I hope that the President will send over more nominees who are acceptable and at the same time in keeping with his philosophy. And I am confident that at least the seven Democrats we are dealing with will not use the judicial filibuster except in most extreme circumstances. I’m confident that this agreement will hold."
Emphasis mine.

EU constitution votes

With stories abounding about the possibility the French and the Dutch may reject the EU constitution, I get this bad feeling we are all being set up for some sort of miraculous comeback story for the yeses. I'm sure I'm wrong, but my gut says otherwise.

Sorry boys, she's taken

Google has been absolutely in love with Jiblog of late, and my number one search hit in that time has been for Danica Patrick. There is a lot of low level buzz about Danica as we get closer and closer to the Indy 500. Due to that, I'd like to make a public service announcement: Sorry boys, but the 5'2" 100 lb Patrick is engaged.

Going beyond that, though, and beyond the gender issue as well, doesn't it blow your mind a little that a 5'2", 100 lb person is able to command a vehicle going 230 mph?

I think that I'm going to watch the Indy 500 for the first time in many, many years. My curiosity to watch Patrick's racing is the reason why. If she does well, the IRL should really line up a marketing effort with her as the face.

Nota Bene

I should note that my opposition to the compromise sits entirely in the fact that I firmly believe the Democrats will eliminate the judicial fillibuster when they regain power. Before I came to that conclusion, I was actually quite squishy on the nuclear/constitutional option. But once I did come to that conclusion, compromise became a losing proposition.

The Purple 7, or-More consequences of the compromise

Want more consequences that will come out of this fillibuster compromise? The Democrats have just helped crack the Republican majority. They've learned that they can chisel away 7 Republicans on many issues and put the Republicans, oddly, into the minority. Yesterday, those 7 were John McCain, Linsey Graham, Olympia Snowe, Lincoln Chafee, John Warner, Susan Collins, and Mike Dewine. Next time, it may be Arlen Specter, Chuck Hagel or George Voinovich that replace one or two or three of those seven. Regardless, they've discovered that they can succesfully pry away a purple 7 from the Republicans to get their way.

Conservatism and the compromise

Professor Bainbridge is mildly rebuking the conservative blogosphere for reacting angrily to last night's fillibuster compromise in the Senate, saying, "I find these reactions not only short-sighted but also surprisingly unconservative." I disagree. I think Bainbridge is being unconservative and short sighted here.

Bainbridge starts out with a little Russel Kirk to try to show us why we aren't being conservative. I'm going to use those same grafs to show why we are.
Conservatives are champions of custom, convention, and continuity because they prefer the devil they know to the devil they don’t know. ... Burke’s reminder of the necessity for prudent change is in the mind of the conservative. But necessary change, conservatives argue, ought to he gradual and discriminatory, never unfixing old interests at once.
Here's the devil I know in this fillibuster deal-the Democratic party. And here's what I do and do not know. I do not know that, when they next take power again, that the Democrats won't scuttle judicial fillibusters themselves. After all, legislating through the judicial is a fine art of the Democrats. Here's what I do know. The first time Republicans attempt a judicial fillibuster, they'll scream that it is mean spirited payback on the part of Republicans, and rule change will be back on the table. Given the Democratic affinity for the judicial branch, logic tells me that rule will get changed. Therefore, killing the filibuster now is a prudent change.
... In politics we do well to abide by precedent and precept and even prejudice, for the great mysterious incorporation of the human race has acquired a prescriptive wisdom far greater than any man’s petty private rationality.
Precedent. Precedent is a strong, strong thing. If you want precedent, just look at how old Bob Byrd has flip flopped on the filibuster over his career. Does anyone actually believe the Democrats won't flip flop on judicial fillibusters when they regain power? Precedence tells me the weapon the Democrats yield today will not be available to Republicans tomorrow. So if you can take away that weapon yourself, you should do so. Bainbridge is apparently of the opinion that those of us who are angry are just displaying "petty private rationality."

Here's the money quote.
... Any public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity. Liberals and radicals, the conservative says, are imprudent: for they dash at their objectives without giving much heed to the risk of new abuses worse than the evils they hope to sweep away. As John Randolph of Roanoke put it, Providence moves slowly, but the devil always hurries.
It is Bainbridge and the like who are being short sighted here. Can they actually tell me that they think the Democrats won't pull the rug out from under Republicans on judicial fillibusters? That is the long term consequence of this compromise. McCain, Graham, et al, have just made sure that the Democrats can obstruct Bush's first nomination to the Supreme Court until they get someone who meets their litmus tests. Once they regain power, they will then remove Republicans' ability to block their nominations in return by killing the judicial fillibuster. I'd put money on it. Being a conservative does not mean sitting back and never changing anything in political realm, especially when the other guys are changing the rules to fit their present needs. The conservative thing in this case is to go back to the time when judicial nominations were debated and voted on, not fillibustered and held to a super majority.

Bainbridge the attempts to play the slippery slope card. If Bainbridge thinks this is a slippery slope issue, then I hope he realizes that we are already standing on avalanche ready snow. The Democrats will change this rule when it suits them. They've learned that they ultimately control the game when they control the judiciary. They are not going to allow Republicans to keep them from doing so now that they've taken the radical step of using the fillibuster against Republican judicial nominees.

If anybody is out their standing athwart history and yelling stop right now, it is those of us who are trying to prevent judicial appoints becoming subject to a super majority vote. Bainbridge can tell me otherwise until he's blue in the face. He can even call me a "numbnuts". He isn't going to change my mind on that, though.

The "compromise" and Presidential ambitions

A couple of players in the filibuster fight have been rumored to have presidential ambitions in 2008, Bill Frist and John McCain. They've both seen their chances of making it through the primaries to become the Repupublican nominee vanish.

For Bill Frist, he needed to score some sort of a victory on this issue. His leadership in the Senate has not exactly been what most of us expected of him. By having many moderate RINO's leave the fold of the party and strike a compromise, Frist sees his leadership compromised even further. He's fairly young, so if he wants to be President, he'll need time to repair the damage that has been done. He may need to wait until 2012 or 2016.

As for John McCain, he doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of making it out of the primaries. Primary voters are much more partisan than general election voters, and McCain is making a career out of pissing off party loyalists. Does he have himself position well in front of the general electorate? Possibly. But if the party won't nominate you, it doesn't matter.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Madison referenda

Nearly everyone enjoys complaining about how high taxes are, or how out of control government spending is. But when they have the chance to actually vote on spending, turnouts are usually quite low. Madison is expecting a 20% turnout tomorrow for its school referenda. On top of that, Madison's referenda has been made easily manipulated by errors on absentee ballots. This should have people screaming at the top of their lungs, but it is oddly silent out there. I am not a resident of Madison, so all I can do sit back and watch. I hope Madison residents get the results they want tomorrow, be it a yes or a no on each referendum. I can't help but think they are sitting idly by while they get fleeced, though. If so, I'm not sure I'll have much future patience for Madisonians who complain about local government spending or their high property tax rates.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Ground swell to rebuild the Twin Towers?

I guess I don't really know the answer to that question. My sense is that there may be a growing movement in that direction though. Take this Blogs for Bush post as an example. I'm sure the families of some 9-11 victims would do everything in their power to prevent those two skyscrapers from going back up, but there seems to be a growing public support for it. Donald Trump didn't become rich for nothing, and I think he may have tapped into something that most of us don't even realize yet-that the Freedom Tower concept is not all that attractive, and that the sight of those two towers is comforting and oddly attractive.

Saddam's tighty whitey photos

So, a couple of days ago The Sun decided to run a photo of Saddam in his tighty whities. In the resulting uproar, several other newspapers ran with the photo. Maybe it is time someone started looking at the possible Geneva Convention violations of these newspapers. They seem to feel free to toss around the war crimes label. Maybe it is time they tasted a little of their own mud.

2 ways to give the Secret Service a collective ulcer

The President and Mrs. Bush must give the Secret Service a collective ulcer. First, the President makes a statement by visiting Georgia, a rather unstable nation. While there, a live grenade is found withing 100 feet of the President. Now the First Lady gets into the act, making a very public appearance in Israel, where protestors mobbed the first lady, leaving security in a vulnerable position where they had to ring the First Lady to get through the protestors. I'm sure Mr. and Mrs. Bush are doing things they believe have to be done, but I'd be willing to bet that the Secret Service is of the opinion that they are taking unnecessary risks. And if they are of that opinion, I'd agree with them.


I'm sitting here watching Johan Sebastien mow through the Milwaukee Brewers, no hitting and striking out 9 through 5 innings, and it leads me to one of my pet peaves about the big league game-the lack of bunting. In a game like this, where the opposing pitcher is dominating, someone has to lay down a bunt during the 4th, 5th, or 6th inning. Sometimes just getting one baserunner and getting that pitcher into his stretch is enough break something loose for you. Once you get into the 7th, sportsmanship kind of takes the bunt off the menu if you are still getting no hit. I'll be interested to see if anyone tries to make something happen in the 6th here with a bunt, or if everyone is just content to strike out and sit down on the bench.

Of course, home runs by your lead off guy will work, too. :-)

Saturday, May 21, 2005

MSM, naive in the ways of politics

You have to laugh and shake you head at the mainstream media. They will swallow a story hook line and sinker when it fits their world view, but they'll never stop to dig a little deeper into the story, to see what actually may lay just below the surface. And you know what, that just might be a good thing.

Take this story for example. The media, while stopping to call Afghan leader Hamid Karzai a U.S. puppet, jump all over the fact that Karzai is being mildly critical of the U.S. right. Karzai has made a statement looking for more control over the actions of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the release of all Afghan prisoners to Afghanistan. But how serious is Karzai?

He is probably at least a little serious, and we will probably make at least some concessions to him. But is all what it seems? Did anyone in the mainstream media stop to think about the recent Newsweek Koran-flushing controversy which lead to riots in Afghanistan? Politically, Karzai had to do something to condemn the U.S. while all the while not alienating the U.S. So he makes a statement that mildly rebukes the U.S., allows us some room to make concessions, and he is able to politically maneuver in way that allows him to maintain support at home. But I don't see anyone reflecting on this possibility. Instead, the sources I've read so far clap their hands together like a little child who just received something it wanted. "Yay! We got what we wanted. Karzai condemns U.S. Yay!" No deep analyses. And our wonderful mainstream media wonder why their readers and viewers are dwindling.

Sunshine prevents cancer

I'm highly skeptical of most "new studies," so I'm not putting a lot of weight into this yet, but several studies are showing that vitamin D, the vitamin your skin creates when exposed to sunshine, helps prevent and treat cancer. Early studies are never strong enough to bet your life on, but at the same time, I love it when arrogant scientists are forced to admit that they were wrong, and I'd love it if this were one of those instances. After all, we've been told that the sun is terrible for us for years; as it turns out, we may need some of that exposure to the sun.

I guess it just goes to prove that old adage, everything in moderation.

Madison referendum questions

To view what I believe are the correct Madison referendum questions, go here.

Madison referendum ballot problems favor Yes supporters

Madison has a major problem with the ballots for Tuesday's referendum on whether the school district can permanently exceed spending caps. The ballots were printed incorrectly, and they are hustling to print correct ballots for the city voting locations. The problem is absentee ballots will be cast with the old, incorrect ballots. 2200 of them, in fact. Because of this, the "yes" supporters have every advantage to get their way.

If the vote ends up a 'Yes' by less than 2200 votes, the yes supporters are going to say the differences in the ballots are so small as to be insignificant. The vote will be thrown into the courts, and given that this is Dane county we're talking about, the yeses will probably have a sympathetic judge. If this ends up as a no by less than 2200 votes, this vote will be in the courts so fast it'll make your head spin. Given the funny timing of all this falling on weekend, which is a dead news period, I'd be surprised if the 'Yes' supporters don't already have lawyers working on it. Should they go to court on a No vote, they will claim that the absentee ballots caused this vote to flip to a no.

So, it seems to me that there is only one solution. Reschedule this election. This referendum cannot take place fairly, so the entire thing should be postponed. This would likely require a court order, and I'll be curious to see if anyone tries to contest this on Monday.

If bleeding hearts in Madison really care at all about preventing the disenfrachisement of the elderly and the poor, they will be the ones in front of the Court on Monday. If they go forward with this, they disenfranchise every single person holding an absentee ballot, regardless of the outcome.

(cross posted at BBA)

Friday, May 20, 2005

Serious Madison referendum problems!

Heads up to those of you in Madison. Random 10 is clueing us into an NBC 15 report that the ballots for Tuesday's school referendum in Madison were misprinted. Officials are claiming that the ballots at the voting places will be corrected in time, but information more information at sketchy at this point. This referendum, if given the tumbs up, would allow the Madison school district to permanently exceed spending caps. Madisonians, you will need to perform extreme dilligence on Tuesday to make sure that you don't get played into writing the school board a blank check in perpetuity.The timing of this discovery, the Friday before the referendum, is highly suspicious. If there was ever a time for a Wisconsin blog swarm, this is probably it.

Absentee ballots is where the potential problem will lay. A close vote will probably take the decision out of the people's hands and put it into the courts.

(cross posted at BBA)


I would be shocked if Blogebrity were a real publication that will actually launch. Is their really a market for that sort of thing?

In a side note, I wouldn't be surprised if, down the road, a website were to launch which was dedicated to finding out the identities of annonymous bloggers.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Netscape 8.0

A big thanks to RPM for giving me the heads up on Netscape 8.0's release. I am giving it a test run on my work computer right now, and so far I'm giving it a thumbs up. I don't really expect this version of Firefox will persuade any of you contrarians who call yourselves Firefox users to switch browsers, but it may be able to sway some IE users who aren't completely tied into Outlook. I'll be giving reviewing Netscape 8.0 more fully here once I've had the chance to really road test it for a few days.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Coldplay uncomfortable with capitalism

The American Mind takes a look Coldplay's discomfort with being "a slave to shareholders" and that fact that their album sales have an impact on EMI's stock price. I won't rehash Sean's look at this topic, but I will add one thing. Does this mean that Coldplay would be cool with it if just one person bought their new album, and the rest of us download it for free off of peer to peer networks? And as for their concerts, how about we just all chip in and buy one ticket for someone with a Verizon wireless card, and that person live stream the concert via webcam for the rest of us. Well, don't try either of those things. I somehow suspect that Coldplay enjoys their profits from this ugly slave economy we have and would be more than happy to sue you for damages.

11 year old girl tosses perfect game

I need to figure out a way to trade for this young lady:
She threw a perfect game for the Dodgers in an 11-0 victory over the Yankees.

How dominant was she? She struck out all 18 batters she faced in the six-inning victory. She never got to a three-ball count on any of them.
I don't think that my merry band of Little League pitchers had less than a three ball count on any hitter.

Earthquake forecasts or Duh!

The US Geological Survey is launching a website tomorrow that will "forecast" earthquakes. Sounds pretty useful, right? Not really:
The forecast maps, updated hourly, would be most useful after a temblor strong enough to break windows and crack plaster, according to U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Matthew Gerstenberger, who developed the site.
Now I'm not a Californian, but are earthquakes that are strong enough to lightly damage a home usually followed up by aftershocks? Why do people need a website to tell them this? This seems to be a giant waste of money. And really dumb.

Lutefisk and uff da humor

Heh. If you are of Norwegian descent, know a Norwegian, or have ever heard of Ole & Lena, check out Iowa Hawk's latest. Good stuff der hey.

President Cheney

It now appears that we came within a whisker of that while President Bush was in Georgia. The grenade found on the grounds about 100 feet from the President was live after all. And that begs the question, what exactly was the Secret Service and Georgian security doing that caused them to miss something as big as this?

Space arms-Jib says boo-yeah!

Apparently, th Air Force is rquesting approval for space arms. I say "hell yeah" to that. To assume that space will remain a political/power free zone is naive. At least with space arms equilibrium, we would be able to avoid having our critical satellites shot out of the atmosphere by future enemies.

Northwestern potential parents-read this!

Potential Nothwestern parents, read this:
Two or three times a quarter, female Northwestern students studying at University Library, Evanston Public Library, Borders Books & Music or Barnes & Noble look up to see unknown men masturbating near them. Most of these men do it just for the thrill of being seen, said an NU psychiatry professor.
Uh, interesting, at my alma matter, something like that had the po-po loooking for you.


There is only so much new info that can be added to Newseek's serious faux paux about the flushing of a Koran at Gitmo. All I have to add is this-there is a reason I subscribe to U.S. News and World Report, but wouldn't pay a cent for Newsweek to save my life.

Good job Newsweek. Maybe you can charge for your commentary like the New York Times and reduce your vulnerability to bloggers-if only just for a while-while reducing your total exposure to potential customers.

Blog concern

Okay, how much of an echo chamber is the blogospher? I ask for one reason. Since the snow melted, I've been buku busy. My main sources have been Yahoo News, Drudge, and my RSS reader, which is almost exclusively made up of blogs. Since my sources have become less diverse, my scope of material from which to write has as well. As blog readers, do we need to examine trhe total number of different sources bloggers use? After all, if a blogger relies on half a dozen sources, how correct can their information be?

Hakuna Moqtada

Moqtada al Sadr came out of the closet this week and (gasp) demanded the U.S. pull out of Iraq. Moqtada al Sadr is a fool. To wit:
"The occupier is trying to make up a sectarian war between the Sunnis and Shiites," al-Sadr said. "It is not acceptable to direct the allegations of ugly acts committed by the occupier against the Shiites, to the Sunnis, we also condemn and denounce all the terrorist acts."
Wha?! Umm, this schlub must actually think now is the time to get back into the limelight. After all, charges against him may very well be dropped for the assasination of Abdul Majid al-Khoei. His claims are frankly out there, though, and I doubt this is going to score him much in the way of points with the Iraqi people when there frustration lay with the Syrian and/or Saudi terrorists mounting the attacks againt the Iraqi people.

Meanwhile, al-Sistani, the true clerical power in Iraq, calls for unity amongst Shia and Sunni. Sistani wields great power and could easily be our worst nightmare; so far, though, he is taken a very moderate line. Because of this, al-Sadr will probably never be anything more than a fringe player.


Between the Little League team and my softball team, I'm 0-3 for the summer. I've been on a lot of losing teams over the years, but not for a while, so this is frustrating. For the second straight week, the softball team lost in the bottom of the 7th. There is some talent there, but it hasn't melded yet. We'll be making a run at the second half title. Tonight could be considered a moral victory, though. We nearly pulled out the win against a MSM team that kicked our heinies for the league title last year. This game was much closer than any from last year.

Jib stats year to date (not that anyone cares): .333 batting average, 1 single, 1 triple, 1 RBI, 1 sac fly. Not impressive, but I did work out a kink in my swing tonight.

And so ends a post nobody really gives a rat's patuity about but me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Mitch Albom

I'm a little bit stunned by the Mitch Albom controversy at the Detroit Free Press. I've done some business in Detroit, and I was struck by what a demi-god this guy is in the Detroit area. My parents love his books, and I have a passing familiarity with him via his column and TV work, but when I got to Detroit, he was on an all different level. And ya know what, I found myself really liking the guy. As I stood in line an insane amount of time to get a book signed by him for my parents, I saw him show up late, apologize to the crowd, and announce that he'd stay well beyond his announced ending time in order to sign everyones' books. I also watched up close as he graciously granted one young woman's request for him to talk to her mom on her cell phone.

But...even though I found myself really liking the guy, there is really no excuse for his habit of not correctly attributing the sources of his quotes and of writing stories before the events occured. He has made excuses on this, saying that the columnists are/should be held to a different standard. No Mitch, they shouldn't be. If you lift a quote from someone else's work, attribute it. If you can't witness an event you want to write about as if you are there, don't file a column on it. I'm not really sure of what to make of Albom now. I had begun to really respect him, but I don't respect the way that he is responding to all of this. Next time I'm in Detroit, I'll be interested to see if the community responds differently to him than it did in my last visit.

EPA announces huge penalties against Pele

The EPA announced today that it was imposing huge penalties against Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess who resides at Kilauea.

After a new study by the Hawaiian chapter of the American Lung Association found that Kilauea was the nations number one sulfur dioxide polluter. The study also found that Kilauea dumps dangerous hydrochloric acid into the Pacific Ocean.

The EPA announced it will fine Pele $10 million a day until she either ceases and desists the emissions at Kilauea or until she installs scrubbers and filters on the volcano, which is the major contributor to Hawaiian vog (volcanic smog). They will also force Pele to pay for and carry out the environmental clean up program.

Pele could not be reached for comment on the article.

(This satire was full of hot air)

Toyota General Motors?

First their was Daimler Chrysler. Could Toyota General Motors be next? I don't think that anyone is really giving serious thought to that possibility, and I'm not even sure it is a possibility. After looking at the big picture, though, I'm beginning to wonder.

First, let me apologize for the lack of links on the circumstancial evidence I'm going to present. If I get the chance, I'll update this post with them. Okay, now Toyota has been working very hard to "Americanize" their operation for the U.S. market. They've opened plants in the U.S., and they've been very sensitive to the loyalty Americans have towards Detroit. A few weeks ago, around the time of GM's announcement of their huge quarterly loss, the CEO of Toyota mused that perhaps it was time that they help GM and Ford by raising their own prices and by working more cooperatively with them. He wouldn't do this out of the goodness of his heart, but because helping GM and Ford would alleviate any future American backlash towards Toyota. Then, a little while after that, it was announced that GM and Toyota are going to be working together on fuel cell technology.

Those two things, along with the GM stock acquisition by Kirk Kerkorian, that have me thinking about this. Toyota is very dedicated to be being the top foreign car manufacturer in the U.S., but their strategy actually seems to be turning Toyota into a very domestic auto manufacturer. But still, no matter what they do, they will always be the outsider here. Unless, of course, they can wiggle in on an exisiting U.S. automaker. Daimler Chrysler and SAB-Miller are two recent examples of this strategy. If you want to be a domestic company, you buy into it. It could also help solve GM's 24 karat gold benefits program, which may be the biggest reason GM is struggling along so. With any merger, those agreements with the auto workers union are going to become breakable in a way they cannot be if GM remains out their on its own. So their is benefit in both directions with such a merger.

It would be a high risk maneuver for Toyota. They would be taking over a company they have been grabbing market share from for a while now. They would also be assuming quite a bit of risk with bloated GM. But it would make them a "U.S." automaker, an advantage they can lord over all of their other competitors but Ford and Daimler Chrysler.

Toyota fears U.S. backlash as General Motors struggles
General Motors, Toyota hold talks on cooperation

In graf 2, hybrid has been corrected to read fuel cells.

Monday, May 16, 2005


That's the score my merry band of Little Leaguers lost by this evening. All in all, I'm thankful. They finally managed to put a hit on the board in the fifth inning. Their play was not in an of itself terrible. The problem was we walked about 12 guys. And our guys walked once.

So, I'm thinking of changing my name to Buttermaker. How does Buttermakerlog sound?

But for the grace of God go I

Okay, that may be a touch melodramatic, but I'm off to coach my merry band of Little Leaguers as they open their season against the league power house. I'm pretty sure there will be tears and gnashing of teeth. And that'll just be us coaches. I'll be back later with plenty of bloggy wit and wisdom, or at least what passes for it around here.

Newsweek lied, people died

Newsweek deserves to be scorched for their story last week accusing soldiers at Gitmo of desecrating a Koran, a piece for which they are now apologizing. I'm not fond of hijacking the mindless slogans of the neo-hippies and communists who protest everything the government does. Let's give this slogan a rest, and filet Newsweek with a little more thoughtfulness. Newsweek has blood on its hands, and this little slogan is so cliche with the anti-war crowd that it actually doesn't convey that fact very well.

Take this post, for example. Much better thought than a mindless slogan, even though I'm not sure that a lawsuit is a very good precedent to set.

Cancer break through

Doctors have apparently found a drug that treats some kinds of cancers known as MDS. It is a small break through in the grand scheme of things, but a break through none the less.

Danica Patrick

A couple of posts below, I mused as to whether Danica Patrick could be IRL's savior. As a 23 year old rookie, it is way to early to bestow that on her. She looks promising, though, as the rookie qualified 4th for the Indy 500. It should be noted that Danica is from Beloit, Wisconsin. Wisconsin has been filling out the Nascar ranks with drivers for a while. It's good to see a Wisconsin driver making good in open wheel racing as well. Good luck, Danica.

Danica fans, I have more commentary here, here and here.


In case you didn't notice, and judging by the traffic, you haven't, I was gone for the weekend. After visiting the land of Leinie's and cheese for the weekend, I'm back in the saddle and reading to blog. Thanks for your patience.

Friday, May 13, 2005

IRL's savior a woman?

I know next to nothing about open wheel racing. I gave up on it as a kid and turned to stock cars. So I offer this caveat-I know nothing about Danica Patrick. The 23 year old right now has the fastest lap at Indianapolis, though, and if she is the real deal, I think IRL may have itself a marketing juggernaut in the near future.

How political correctness coarsens society

I am going to give a very small example from my own experience. Yesterday I had to run to the local big box retailer during lunch. As I walked up to the store, I noticed a woman in a big box retailer-provided wheel chair struggle to get the thing to roll across the parking lot. I walked in her direction to help, but along the way I changed my mind. Why did I change my mind when I was perfectly willing to help this person out? Because I didn't particularly feel like getting chewed out. I have no idea if this disabled woman would have chewed me out, but I've been chewed out before. I also was concerned about the wheel chair. It was rickety, and I didn't want something to happen that would end up finding me as the defendent in a lawsuit.

Am I a bad person for walking by? In that instance, I probably was. I certainly felt like a bad person. No one needs to hit me in the head with a bat to teach me being helpful can cause you endless headaches sometimes. The instinct of self preservation led me in this example to not dare tempt the PC god's though, and because of that, I contributed my little piece to a coarser society.

German Holocaust Memorial to become vandal central?

Well, this didn't take long. The new German Holocaust Memorial has already been vandalized, and it just opened up. Germany could probably go a long way towards identifying a lot of its crazy Neo-Nazis just by keeping an eye on who's desecrating that memorial.

Newt & Hillary, or Politics makes strange bedfellows

I'll be the first to admit that I've been a little out of the loop this past week, but this really caught me off guard. Newt and Hillary getting politically cozy. If Newt is doing this for political reasons, I hope he knows he's going to get burned by playing with a Clinton.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Is the cold medicine/crystal meth scare a myth?

I offer this up as a post for thought. I really don't have the time to research and stake out a definitive position to that effect right now. I'm listening to Jeff Wagner discuss this topic on the radio right, and combining that with a little logic, it seems that the cold medicine-crystal meth link is very small compared to the hype it is receiving. Two reasons. One, buying the cold medicine and reprocessing does not seem cost effective, given that it takes something like 1000 pills to create an ounce of crystal meth. Second, it also seems that the major source of ephedrine comes from smuggled supplies via Mexico. Is this cold medicine scare just that, a scare?

In regards to the financial viability of producing crystal meth from cold medicine, it is very viable. If 1000 cold medicine pills is the magic number for 1 ounce of meth, it would take 14 packages of the Sudafed PE Maximum Strength, 72 count, at a cost of approximately $202. An ounce of crystal meth goes for about $7000. Also, in a city the size of Janesville (60,000), a person could easily get 14 packages of this medicine without raising any suspicions-with or without restrictions. A prospective meth cooker could buy two packages at Walmart, Shopko, Kmart, Target, Walgreens #1, Walgreens #2, and any one grocery store and have enough for an ounce of meth.

I am still disturbed by the lack of hard facts that I'm (not) coming up with to tie cold medicine to the manufacture of crystal meth, but the financial part of the equation seems to work.

The problem with the Dennis Miller Show

The Dennis Miller Show on CNBC has been cancelled, and there is plenty of talk around the blogosphere as to what was wrong with the show. Here's what was wrong with the show-it was on CNBC. I liked the show, but after it first came on, I found myself watching it less and less. CNBC is an afterthought of a cable station. Once I missed a few episodes, it didn't take much for me to forget Miller was even on. In fact, whenever CNBC makes a little news, the first thing that always pops into my mind is, "CNBC is still up and running?" Miller had no lead in over there, and his show had to be a destination point for people. Unfortunately, that'll kill you're ratings.

PETA kills

Michelle Malkin today points us to a website that exposes PETA's little secret-the number of dogs it kills each year. I somehow doubt that this charge of hypocrisy is going to dent PETA very much. In today's culture of moral relativism, euthanasia is considered an 'ethical treatment' for animals, and increasingly, humans. After all, we are told over and over that an unwanted life is a terrible thing, at least for those who don't want those lives in their lives. For the creatures and children who possess those lives, eh, tough cookies for them.

Random observation

After a couple of peaks at the Huffington watchamacallit, I noticed that they throw the four letter words around pretty freely. I'm the last guy to be offended by course language, but this trend of right of center blogs using cleaner language than left of center blogs is interesting to me. I mean, if you really think your views are right, wouldn't you want to convince people of that through eloquent useage of the English language? An f-bomb in an otherwise thoughtful post usually drops its credibility in my book. There is a time and a place for using those words. In most lefty blogs though, it seems more like a juvenile attempt at being cool and is usually a sign of the selfishness of the writer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Ed Garvey, Chi-com

I ask that you all bear with me on this post. I jotted some things down this afternoon on this Ed Garvey article, and I want to share those thoughts even though I won't be succiciently linking.

Today, Ed Garvey had this piece in the Capital Times. Here are the excerpts to which I objected:
Students are mobilizing. They are sick of higher tuition, fewer courses and lower state support. They are demanding a tuition freeze, as well they should. And the absurd lock-'em-up-and-throw-away-the-key policies of the past 20 years are now open to question as legislators and the governor find the education budget is bare because Corrections has such a huge appetite. Yes, we are beginning to hear about alternatives to incarceration, sensible parole policies and even a call to review so-called truth in sentencing.
Students deserve this? I’m all for some subsidization of in state tuition, but WI students already have a pretty sweet deal comparatively. And our cupboard is bare? What are we, the sixth biggest per capita spender, and the highest ranked high school we have is number 213?
The Center for Democratic Action held a conference last Saturday where participants made it clear they are no longer willing to be fed pap by local TV and radio stations. They will challenge holders of FCC licenses if stations do not present a diversity of views. Through underground magazines, blogs, newsletters, Free Speech TV, WORT and community TV, alternative sources of news are springing up everywhere. More and more people visit progressive Web sites and listen to Amy Goodman. Something is stirring.
Diversity of views=more of his, none of ours.
The realities of our budget problems are becoming too obvious for people to swallow the simplistic formulas of the two right-wingers seeking the Republican nomination for governor. They are out of step with the people as they compete for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce dollars and endorsements from the likes of Milwaukee radio host Charlie Sykes. The public knows we cannot expand services to a growing population without raising taxes or eliminating loopholes. We aren't stupid. You can't keep building and filling prisons and increase support for education and health care.
A growing population means a growing tax base. That isn’t why we are facing budget problems. Our budget problems are the result of our representatives spending money like drunken sailors.
Even the plight of the poor is coming into focus. The bumper sticker solutions of Tommy Thompson's time, from bride-fare to W-2, cannot withstand the light. W-2 had no chance of reducing poverty. It was a diversion. And a costly one designed to make chest-thumping politicians look good.
Let’s see a third option then, Eddie, because the old welfare system only encouraged poverty.
In Wisconsin, 400,000 people do not have health insurance. Our wages are stuck in place. That is unacceptable to the good people of this state and they are being heard at the People's Legislature sessions.
Does he intentionally make his organization sound like the Chi-coms and the Politburo?

What did Jib do Tuesday night?

Well, I can say I'd have been better off blogging. I played my first softball game of the year. And it was my fault we lost. I went 0-3 with a sac fly, and in the field I had several nifty plays at third, but on the niftiest in the bottom of the 6th, I botched the throw which lead to the game tying and winnning runs to score. I guess tomorrow when my little leaguers toss a ball halfway down the right field line, I can't really yell at them.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Heh. I should watch Dennis Miller more than I do. To wit, I give you Kathy Seip v. Lawrence O'Donnell. They feuded over teachers, with O'Donnell pretty much whoring himself out for teachers. I'm willing to give the good teachers all the love they deserve. I know some good ones, and their jobs aren't easy. At the same time, I don't see how anyone can sell themselves out to the teachers as O'Donnell apparently does. I went to a university that pumps out a lot of teachers. The very good ones I know, I met at that school. One has to face up to reality, though. For every one good teacher I met, there were three who failed at every other program they enrolled in. Teaching was the only thing they couldn't fail out of school at. My problem with teachers comes from the fact that my experience tells me the bad ones out number the good ones. Then when you figure into that number of teachers who become ungrounded by unquestioning involvement in their unions, the number of good, independent teachers becomes frighteningly small.

120 shots, no one dead

Los Angeles has been pretty quiet of late-we've had very few police excess stories. Until now. An amateur videotaped police in Compton firing between 90 and 120 shots into a vehicle they had been in a high speed chase with. The implication is that police exercised excessive force, and you know what, 120 shots leave them very vulnerable to that charge. But one has to ask one question-were these officers extremely responsible, extremely incompetent, or extremely lucky? Any time 120 shots are fired in a short time and in a concentrated area, you have to expect high casualities and fatalities. In this case, a deputy and the suspect were wounded, and no one died. I'm not prepared to exonerate these officers yet, because 120 shots fired is a lot, but it seems that they concentrated their fire on the vehicle, otherwise there would have been many more vicitims in this urban area. It would seem that they were over reacted but responsible with their actions, and I have sympathy with that-police officers want to go home at the end of the day as much as you and I, only they face more danger than most of us. If they were not responsible, then one has to assume that they are keystone cops who couldn't hit the broadside of a barn in target practice or extremely lucky. And no one is that lucky to fill a tight area with 120 shots and not end up with more casualities.

Overture Center web page disappoints

Mrs. Jib and I occasionally get all artsy and attend things like plays, operas, and the like. In the last week, I've read several positive reviews of "Dirty Blonde," which is playing at the Overture Center in Madison. I was hoping that I could surprise Mrs. Jib with tickets to it, but I had to try to find a date that would work for us. So I go to the Overture Center's web site. What a disappointment. Madison has this beautiful center of arts on State Street, but it has a third rate web site that isn't all that user friendly. The first thing I did was click on Event Calendar-->Monthly Calendar. Handy, if you are planning for a date in October or later. I also did not see any way to purchase tickets online. As of this moment, I'm not sure if I'll be getting those tickets to Dirty Blonde, and it is all because the Overture Center doesn't do much to cater to those of us who are web-centric.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Intellectual t-ball

I'm loathe to promote this, but The Huffington Post debuts today. After reading the early posts, it seems that bloggers on the right side of the political spectrum should have a field day with this. Each post is like a baseball placed on tee for right leaning bloggers to smack out of the park. The problem is who wants to debase themselves by addressing this stuff? When a blogger goes after, say, Harry Reid, there is some feeling of accomplishment. Going after Mr. and Mrs. Julia Louis-Dreyfus feels like you are smacking around a paraplegic 8 year old with downs syndrome, though.

And that leads me to another question. David Frum, what the hell were you thinking? You look like the fox in the henhouse, but unlike the fox, the hens in this henhouse are going to try to peck your eyeballs out. Even if you succeed, all the other hens are going to cackle about how they got the better of you.

Dog angry over lost meal

After 'saving' an abandoned baby in Kenya, a local stray dog met with media today, expressing outrage over the meal that was stolen from her and her puppies.

"I go out every single day looking to feed my litter in this God forsaken country, and when I find a fresh feast for my family, people swoop and and take it from me. What's a bitch to do?"

News services from around the world have hailed the stray as a hero for lugging the 7 lb child through barbed wire and over a busy road to safety. The stray told media that someone owes her.

"Great, I'm famous now. Everyone wants to scratch my head. Petting doesn't fill the belly, folks. I damn well better get some snausages for this. That was my baby that was taken from me. I expect some compensation, here. I've had mange for a while. Some meds would be nice, too."

The stray, who still has not released her name to the public, also told a sad story of love lost.

"I met the father of my puppies in a back ally where we were both searching through a dumpster. He smelled my butt, I smelled his, and I just knew we would be together forever. After he knocked me up, he goes and runs off with a poodle. Now I'm stuck taking care of these little brats all by myself. It's all because the Bush administration in the United States isn't spending enough on doggy condoms in Africa."

Rob Reiner immediately issued a statement condemning the Bush administration for not promoting safe doggy style sex and urging the Bush Administration to give up it's efforts to promote abstinance in dogs through spaying and neutering. Reiner is recovering in a Cailfornia hospital after a first rate butt whooping from Bob Barker.

(This was satire. I shouldn't even have to tell you that.)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day!

Stately Jib Manor is awash in the scent of lilacs right now. I offer up a lilac to all mothers out there, and bouquet of them to my own mom. Happy Mother's Day, ladies. I hope you are all enjoying the day.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Blog rebelliousness

Maybe it's just me, but I got into blogging because I have a bit of a rebellious streak. My parents were spared this rebelliousness during my teenage years, mostly because my Dad struck the fear of God into me, all the while still earning my respect. My rebelliousness merged nicely with my love for writing and my disgust with the mainstream media, though, and hence, Jiblog was born. I'll be the first to admit that I'd love to make a little extra cash with Jiblog, but as you can see, there are no ads here yet, and there won't be until I think Jiblog is at the point where the ads won't be more of a distraction than a reader service. I'll also say that I wouldn't mind, like Lance Burri, writing a regular column one day. Even given that, though, I still have a serious rebellious streak, and that has me re-thinking the future of the blogosphere.

Not too long ago, I thought I had the future of the blogosphere all figured out. There was a critical mass developing, and I was positive that MSM web sites were going to start incorporating bloggers, and I was positive that big blogs were going to start taking on corporate identities and start losing their original voices. I don't think that I'm wrong about that. In fact, the buzz this week seems to be of hidden internet booms via the blogosphere and collaberative efforts like Pajama Media. I even emailed Pajama Media to see what their venture was all about. I was uncomfortable with it, but I also began to wonder "what's in it for me?" Then I clicked over to Moxie's web site, and a few things began to click into place.

I've pretty much always been of the opinion that in a few years we won't even recognize blogs as we know them today. But my ultimate view of the future of blogs has changed. I do believe that many, many bloggers will sell out. I also believe they will fail. Just read back through the last year's archives of the biggest blogs out there. Many have become down right arrogant. A year ago, they pumped out some interesting content and they linked to some genuinely interesting posts of smaller bloggers. Today, many of them regurgitate more and more from fewer and fewer sources. They've begun to taste fame and rake in (small) fortunes, and with that, they've begun to forget what made them popular in the first place. Many of the big blogs are becoming more and more like the MSM they've earned their traffic criticizing. Pajama Media is a perfect example. Here we have a business venture created by some of the biggest, most well known names out their. They want to place ads on your site and my site, and they want to syndicate our material. But after reading their agreements and thinking on this, I've become more and more convinced that this venture benefits them much, much more than it benefits mid and small sized blogs that participate. Much more. I'm all for those taking the biggest risks receiving the biggest rewards. In the example of Pajama Media, though, I think almost all of the reward goes to the big guys, with the little guys just playing the part of the "long tail" from which the big guys can profit. I'm also increasingly concerned that these ventures will start to sterilize the voice of the blogosphere. After all, if it is all about the money, then you naturally start to shut your mouth when opening it risks the money.

Part of the blogosphere's charm in the last two years has been that people said whatever they damn well pleased. If they were wrong, people told them. More often than not, they weren't wrong though, and the freedom they had allowed them to go after those who mislead the public because they weren't beholden to the almighty dollar. That irreverance is starting to fade, and with it, so too will the influence of blogs fade. People who have searched out blogs for that irreverance and that freedom will turn their backs on it. They'll turn their backs on it because it is not longer what they are looking for. And these larger collaberative efforts will fail because they'll have more expenses to cover, but people will be more and more disenchanted with what they have to say.

If you can make a buck with your site, I say bully for you, do it and capitalize on it. Whoring out your site and your content to a few big bloggers won't get you there, though. In fact, it may even alienate your old audience. I'm going to keep on keeping on, and I may never be succesful at it, but at least once I've failed, and only three people a day come to read my insight, I'll be able to say that I never gave up my voice, and I never sold my voice and my influence to someone else.

The "mainstreaming" of blogs seems to make sense on the surface. In the long run, it will destroy a lot of blogs. By 2008, don't expect to recognize the blogosphere. Little guys will still be around, but people will have a tougher time finding them. As for the big guys, they'll make a big splash and then their group ventures, built on profit models, will begin to fail. A great shake out is about to begin in the blogosphere; prepare yourself for it.