Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bush speech

I missed the Bush speech, and I'm kind of glad I did. The folks over at The Corner are going nuts about how poor it is. I'm a little disappointed that this is the conversation over there right now because Bush's speech doesn't mean a hill of beans, and it doesn't matter what we outside of the damage zone think about it. The only thing that matters right now is action and results, because it is clear that the New Orleans and Louisiana governments are incapable of dealing with this disaster. While I'm disappointed in the Corner, I'm not going to hold it against them. If you are a political pundit, it can be tough not to see the political angle of a Presidential speech, even if we are in a time where the politics are irrelevant.

The gas situation

People are starting get a little panicky about gasoline. That's not good, because the panicking is driving any supply issues out there right now. People know that gas prices are increasing daily, so everyone is rushing to the pumps to put gas in their cars before the next increase. On top of that, when they find a gas station where the price is lagging a bit compared to competitors, they are over running those stations, causing long lines and gas shortages at those particular stations. This is creating the perception of an acute gas shortage.

If we want to get out of this upward spiral, everyone needs to take their fingers off the panic button. Continue to gas your car up as you usually do. Don't hit the gas station every day. If there are lines at a "cheap" gas station, chalk it up as a loss and hit the gas station down the street that doesn't have anyone at the pumps.

Hurricane Katrina dealt a small blow to our energy supply, and we are going to be paying more for our petroleum products for a little while. We are beginning to create an unnecessary crisis by panicking, though. Take a deep breath, because we are going to be alright. Let's just hope that in the face of this perceived shortage, the human nature to hoard doesn't kick in. If people start hoarding gasoline, it is going to put a lot of pressure on supplies.

Trapped Katrina victims

This is disturbing:
State OES has learned that trapped victims on the Gulf Coast are calling family, friends, loved-ones, or anyone they can get a call out to in California asking for someone to rescue them. These requests need to go immediately to the US Coast Guard's Rescue Line at 800-323-7233 and immediate assistance will be sent.

Please distribute this information as widely as possible.

Why I love Che t-shirts

I know a lot of people on the right get irritated when they see ignorant college kids wearing Che apparel. I'm here to say don't hate it, embrace it. I can think of no better tribute to a brutal communist revolutionary than putting his likeness on t-shirts, selling them, and making a profit. Che must do a full revolution in his grave every time some dumb kid buys something with his likeness on it, creating a profit for somebody else. In fact, if we work to help market these items, I'm quite sure the volume will increase, and perhaps will be able to harness Che's spinning corpse to solve a number our energy problems.

I think after Castro dies, I'll start a line of Fidel baseball jerseys. That should get the old dictator spinning nicely.

My appreciation for Che shirts is recent, and I have a nagging feeling that I owe someone props for my change of heart. If it was you, please let me know so I can appropriately credit you for planting that seed in my brain.

Failure v. feelings

In Tuesday's Wisconsin State Journal, Susan Lampert Smith has a piece lamenting the loss of 'no cut' policies in Madison high school sports. She trots out the tired old rhetoric that kids are being hurt by the loss of these 'no cut' policies due to budget cuts. Frankly, Smith's concern about the feelings of high school kids is an example of her tremendous blind spot as to how people learn.

No cut policies have come about because of two reasons. One is that schools are afraid of litigation from parents whose children are cut. The far larger reason is that liberal empathy leaves school boards and administrations distraught over the fact that failure may ding the self esteem of kids. That mindset is a problem. There may be no better learning experience in life than a good case of failure. Failure burns. It hurts. But it also teaches you that you need to give your 100% best at all times. If failure comes after 100% effort, then you have nothing to be ashamed of, and you reflect upon your strengths and weaknesses and move onto something that you can succeed at. You learn what you didn't do right, and also how to not repeat those mistakes. Failure is also a huge source of motivation. Once you've felt the burn of failure, you do not want to repeat it, and you find new resources within yourself to make sure that it never happens again. The only thing no cut policies teach is that it is okay to be mediocre because someone else will always be protecting you feelings. That lesson will not serve most kids in the real world, because once kids finally end there life as students, they will enter a dog eat dog world that does not easily tolerate mediocrity.

I'm sure this article by Smith, which ended with the words, "Sometimes, there's no real way to know the true cost of saving money," is just another political jab from the Madison newspapers to create public support for increasing funding for Wisconsin schools. That is something I'll address at a later date (believe me, I'm all for well funded schools in this state-if done wisely & efficiently). I also think that Smith actually believes we need to protect kids from failure while they are in school. In truth, we should be giving students every opportunity to fail at something while they are in school. It is better that they learn the lessons of failure during high school and not later on when it will have a much more negative impact on their lives.

A time for rescue & recovery, and a time to rebuild and reflect

Currently, we are in the rescue and recovery phases of Hurricane Katrina. Soon, whether it be a few weeks or a couple of months, the nation will swing into the rebuilding mode. A disservice will be done to the people of New Orleans (and Mississippi) if there isn't a heavy dose of reflection to go along with it. The easy part of the reflection will be looking at and fixing what went wrong-the failure of so many people to evacuate, the return of some people too early, the broken levees and the failure in plugging them, etc, etc. There needs to be a deeper reflection on the why as well as the what, though. The fact is that much of the 20th century, or at least the second half of the century, was a fairly placid time here on the home front. Massive disasters were few and far between. Part of that was because we got better at preventing them, but part of that was because we were just plain lucky. Unfortunately for us, we've become more than a little arrogant about our ability to stave off these disasters, and when they come, we are caught off guard by our inability to do anything in the face of ruin. Part of the problem in this disaster, and possibly future disasters, is that many of the modern conveniences we've come to rely on cease to exist during these massive disasters, and that makes the aftermath even worse because confusion reigns. Perhaps we will learn from this, and we will develop at least limited communication networks that can remain up during disaster, create disaster relief plans that can rely on massive low tech solutions, and have in place public education plans that keep the public aware that there are occasionally disasters that we can do little to prevent, and thus public warnings need to be taken in complete and total seriousness.

San Francisco 1906

Perhaps the closest thing to Hurricane Katrina in American history may actually be the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. While both were caused by very different natural disasters, there are a number of similarities:
  • Large, vibrant metropolitan areas are the focus of both disasters, although severe damage from both are/were spread over large areas.
  • Both disasters were a product of people building major metropolitan areas in areas highly suceptible to disaster, in part due to their man made environment. In San Francisco, it was partly due to buildings built on loose fill. In New Orleans, it is due to building a city below sea level, protected only by levees and pumps.
  • While the initial disasters were bad, it was the aftermath that made them the disasters they are. In San Francisco, it was an uncontrollable fire. In New Orleans, it is flooding that came after the storm.
  • The severity of the disasters brought out the worst in people in both places. Both experienced looting and lawlessness. Both were placed under martial law. In San Francisco, a shoot to kill order was made against looting. Hopefully things will not got to that extent in New Orleans.
  • The human disaster in both is mind numbing. In both cities, large portions of the population will be left with little more than the shirts on their backs until rebuilding can begin.
  • Both cities will have seen re-engineering of the city to make it safer against future disasters. San Francisco came back bigger and stronger than ever. I believe that when all is said and done, New Orleans will as well. Both cities will forever be extremely vulnerable to these types of disasters, despite the best efforts of man to mitigate those risks.
For more information on the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, visit Wikipedia and the Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Fire dampened

Today is a tough day to blog. Once upon a time, Louisiana fell within my realm of responsibility at work, and I know a few people in the New Orleans area. What yesterday seemed like standard hurricane fare today looks like complete destruction. Blogging on the usual topics just doesn't seem all that important in the big picture when you consider that hundreds of thousands of people have had their world stood on end.

Laura at Dummocrats lives in the area being flooded by the broken levee. Read what she has to say about it-she says some things that I believe many of us are thinking but don't feel it is our place to say right now. And remember her and her family in your thoughts & prayers.

New Orleans

This morning at dawn it was apparent that Katrina had been particularly vengeful to Mississippi, but most of thought New Orleans had been spared the worst. Now that the city is basically a part of Lake Pontchartrain, it doesn't look that way any longer. It'll be interesting to see if history remembers that, for less than a day, it looked like New Orleans had dodged a bullet.

The Crazy Randomness of Samantha Burns

Looking through my Sitemeter last night, I noticed an incoming visitor referred to me by a site I'd never heard of before-The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns. Samantha has something called a "Random Blogroll," and Jiblog was listed in it. While I've only received one hit to date from it, I like the concept. I'm sure her goal is to increase traffic and links, and ya know what? It worked. I'm sending a little link love back in her direction. Check it out-it seems to be an interesting read.

Site updates

I am woefully behind on site updates both here and at the BBA. Over the course of the next week I am going to begin slowly updating both sites. There are a lot of great Wisconsin blogs that have either just begun in the last two months or which I've just discovered in the past couple of months, but my procrastination knows no bounds. Links will be the first updates I make, and I am still undecided about a couple of other goodies I'm thinking of adding.

A story that never gets 'old'

Just a small gripe to start off the day. I'm tired of World's Oldest Person/Couple stories. For instance, today we have the story of the oldest person in the world dying in the Netherlands. These stories continue to fascinate, but why? World's oldest person is not a title anyone holds for very long. Can something still be a curiosity if it occurs at least a couple of times a year?

Yep, they support the troops all right

In a little reported on story, CNSNews tells the story (via Sykes Writes)of anti-war protests at the Walter Reed Medical Center, where many wounded troops are being cared for. I was particularly apalled at this part of the story:
"We went by there one day and I drove by and [the anti-war protesters] had a bunch of flag-draped coffins laid out on the sidewalk. That, I thought, was probably the most distasteful thing I had ever seen. Ever," Pannell, a member of the Army's First Cavalry Division, told Cybercast News Service.

"You know that 95 percent of the guys in the hospital bed lost guys whenever they got hurt and survivors' guilt is the worst thing you can deal with," Pannell said, adding that other veterans recovering from wounds at Walter Reed share his resentment for the anti-war protesters."
Kevin Pannell, as the left would say, has "absolute moral authority" on this issue. After all, he himself lost both legs in a grenade attack and has had to deal with protests as a patient. Of course, a normal person should not need Pannell's opinion to see how gortesque and unsupportive of the troops these protests are.

Random hurricane thoughts

*Those who suffered losses from hurricane Katrina should be in all of our thoughts and prayers.

*The MSM (and some blogs, I might add), are simply morbid. The sensationalist reporting on this storm is enough to make a person gag. In fact, I have a term for it-environmental apocolypsism. Now that New Orleans has been spared from people sharing telephone poles with fire ants, it seems the media is moving on to type of sensationalism-economic apocolypsism.

*This would be a justified example of tapping the strategic oil reserves, but I'm still inclined not to do so. While another sharp increase in gasoline prices may be difficult for Americans to deal with economically and psychologically, it may also be the shock needed for the energy market to go through some necessary reorganization. I am betting that once this shock wears off, we'll see a strong and steady decrease in the price of a barrel of oil.

*It's nice to see reporters are still hungry to make their mark, but I will always question the judgement of an individual who stands in 140 mph hour winds to give a live report. This annoying little reporting formula will continue until a reporter gets impaled by debris during a live report.

*If I see one more Katrina and the Waves pun, I'm going to start going .38 Special on some media heinies.

I'm loosening up on my criticism of "apocolypsism" now that New Orleans is being inundated by the waters of Lake Ponchartrain. New Orleans may have been spared the worst case scenario, but it definitely isn't having things easy.

Look out Hasselhoff

David Hasselhoff has found himself an island of insani...err, superstardom in Germany over the years. He best start looking over his shoulder, though. Gangsta rap is about to brush him into the German dust pan of history.

Monday, August 29, 2005

CNN sensationalism

I knew some MSM outlet would go over board with their coverage of the potential disaster awaiting New Orleans from hurricane Katrina, and CNN didn't disappoint:
"So, imagine you're the poor person who decides not to evacuate: Your house will disintegrate around you. The best you'll be able to do is hang on to a light pole, and while you're hanging on, the fire ants from all the mounds -- of which there is two per yard on average -- will clamber up that same pole. And, eventually, the fire ants will win."
All I can do is roll my eyes. The story also says this could be America's "Asian Tsunami." A severe hurricane like this is scary enough without MSM outlets going off of the deep end.

EU protectionism leaves women unsupported


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Where I've been

In a first for Mrs. Jib and I, we spent back to back days at Miller Park. Doing so without getting a hotel room in the area is actually pretty tiring.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Will New Orleans dodge a bullet?

New Orleans is extremely vulnerable to hurricanes, particularly from the storm surge and heavy rains. Last fall, they dodged a bullet. Will they dodge another on Monday?

Hopefully the people of New Orleans have the good common sense to get the hell out of dodge this weekend. But from those I've talked with in the past, and from what I've read, there will be way to many people who try to ride out this storm. Given it's low altitude, that is extremely dangerous.

Stolen truckload of aviation fuel

Officials don't think that a stolen aviation fuel truck in Kentucky is terrorism related, but caution is warranted just the same. If it isn't terror related, beware of a rusty, beer can shedding 1967 Ford pick up truck hauling ass down Kentucky roads at 400 miles per hour (actually, the fuel is useless in vehicles).

Bulls & Boys

No comment.

Judged by the company you keep

When you are on the right side of the political aisle and you accuse someone on the far left of the spectrum of being a moonbat, partisanship is often used to block the moonbat charge. But what happens when the wingnuts join the moonbats in protest because what the moonbats are saying just makes so much sense to them? Well, as a sane conservative, you just sit back and enjoy the show.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Bill Richardson, tough on illegal immigration

Well, maybe not, but this little proposal would probably make him tougher on illegal immigration than the President:
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will use a meeting with his Chihuahuan counterpart this week to press for the demolition of Las Chepas, the semi-abandoned Mexican hamlet used as a staging area for hundreds of undocumented immigrants who cross daily into the United States west of Columbus.
At least he's doing something.


Jiblog is number 344 in the TTLB ecosystem today. I believe that is an all time high for this humble blog. Oddly, it is just higher than The American Mind, which tells me it is a product of Jiblog being on the Blogs for Bush or GOP Bloggers blogroll at just the right time. It also tells me that I'm in for quite a fall. I've consistently been a "Large Mammal" this year, but the specific ranking has been all over the map. At one point I had even dropped down as far as "Flappy Bird".

And this edition of "Posts nobody cares about" brought to you by AFLAC.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

War reporters are extinct

Long gone are the days of war reporters like Ernie Pyle. Fortunately there are bloggers like Michael Yon who are willing to pick up the flag and carry on.

HuffPo derails

Jim Lampley aside, this Paul Rieckhoff post is the most bizarre post I've seen written at HuffPo yet. I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I'm rather familiar with professional wrestling, but his comparison of George Bush to Vince McMahon is still baffling.

I don't think Rieckhoff's neurons fire the same way most of ours do.

"Resident smart person"

Speaking of Anheuser-Busch, they just settled a court case with the family of Roger Maris over defamation in regards to a beer distributor the family owns. But that's not what I found interesting about the article. It was this line:
"The resident smart person down at Anheuser finally said 'Enough,'" said Juli Niemann, an analyst with RT Jones in St. Louis. "It shouldn't have happened and now it has come to an end, so I'm sure they're all collectively breathing a sigh of relief."
What a peculiar sentence. Is resident genius too snarky? Did Juli get a thesaurus for Christmas? Is genius not PC? How odd.

Gasoline from coal

Interesting. I didn't know that gas could be created from coal, but Montana is looking to cash in on it.
Montana's governor wants to solve America's rising energy costs using a technology discovered in Germany 80 years ago that converts coal into gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel.

The Fischer-Tropsch technology, discovered by German researchers in 1923 and later used by the Nazis to convert coal into wartime fuels, was not economical as long as oil cost less than $30 a barrel.

Now, at what price does that water into wine thing become economical? And can we do it for beer? Wait, I guess Anheuser-Busch has been doing it with beer for years.

Hurricane bloggers get the love

Michelle Malkin is linking to Florida hurricane bloggers. Of course, there was no link love for a certain tornado blogger.

Okay, I admit it. I'm not jealous-this post was just an excuse to link to a picture of one of the Fort Atkinson tornados. And also to say that a coworker who lost his house in Stoughton has received two family pictures back from the Milwaukee area.

Alright, I'm done on this topic. I think.

Nope, not done. More pics here.

Feingold's guideline

After thinking on Russ Feingold's "guideline" deadline a little further, I have to give him credit. He's a player who knows how to play the game. The political game. He crafts his public persona around being your Senator, the maverick who listens to you. Behind that, though, Russ is a politician's politician. Before I get into this, a couple of quick notes. I will refer to December 31, 2006 as the guideline, even though guideline is just a softer word for what it really is-a deadline. Also, this post is not about whether Feingold's guideline is right or wrong, because I still think it is wrong. It is an analysis of the political strategy involved in it.

December 31, 2006 is Russ Feingold's guideline for Iraq, but make no mistake about it, he intends for it to be his launching pad. Stop to think about this a little bit. Under the very best circumstances, withdrawal by December 31st, 2006 is going to be extremely difficult. For the last 6 months of 2006, all we will hear out of the media will be about impending failure. As we get closer and closer to the guideline, Democrats are going to pick up that ball and run with it. They are going to fling accusations of failure and "losing the war" at Republicans at every opportunity. Now, what does that coincide with? Yep, the off-year congressional elections. It is possible that this strategy of pessimism could bring Democrats a net gain of seats in 2006. If that happens, Russ Feingold is going to be a very high profile and very popular Senator in his party. But even if it doesn't, Feingold will face a can't lose situation on New Year's Day, 2007. If we succeed, Feingold will be able to take the credit. If we fail to meet the guideline, Democrats will be able to tar Republicans with the word failure, but Russ will show his bi-partisan benevolence by extending the date. Either way, that puts Feingold in an envious position in 2007. He'll be a Senator with "Big Mo," which is important for a budding presidential prospect in the year before the primaries. He'll need 2007 to solidify his support, organize his campaign, and fundraise for his run, and with the guideline, he'll hit the ground running.

This guideline is almost a political "can't lose" for Feingold. That is, of course, if it gets passed. It is going to put Hillary Clinton in awkward position. She is going to have to either kill it or co-opt it, or else risk being out flanked by Feingold. Either way, it is a pretty cunning political maneuver. It is going to be interesting to see who takes what sides on this when Congress returns.

Bored with Sheehan? There's always Plame

Ugh. Can't the media find a new controversy to go all ga-ga over? Now that Cindy Sheehan's story is getting a little stale, it looks like we're going back to another serving of Plame. What's next? Sheehan again in 4 weeks? Plame for Halloween, and then Sheehan for Thanksgiving? Bleh.


The Carnival of the Badger, or as I like to call it, Cot-B, is up over at Wigderson Library & Pub. Check it out.

Medical marijuana

I think my position on medical marijuana has been pretty clear. Medical marijuana laws ar being pushed by the legalize marijuana crowd as a means to an end-total legalization of marijuana. This article by Bob Dohnal at the Wisconsin Conservative Digest is one of the best articles I've seen on the anti-medical marijuana side of the issue. To put his article succinctly, marijuana does not act as an analgesic, and the positive effects it can have are done better by other medications. Go read the whole thing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

"A stupid idea"

So says Fereidun Fesharaki at the East-West Center in Hawaii. The idea? A $2.74 price cap on wholesale gas prices in Hawaii. Hawaii seems full of bad ideas lately, and I agree with Fesharaki's assessment of this one. Once that $2.74 cap starts to eat into the margins of the refineries, they will have few good reasons to continue to refine gasoline for Hawaii. I'm sure the politicians in Hawaii used this cheap ploy to get good PR with citizens who distrust the entire petroleum industry right now, but the refineries have little control over the rising prices of their raw material. This will backfire on Hawaiian politicians if the price of oil continues to rise.

Emperor Norton I

San Francisco has reveled in the odd a lot longer than I thought. Take, for example, Emperor Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico. 10,000 people showed up at this slightly crazy man's funeral.

Iraq perspective

On Monday, Jessica McBride used casuality figures to give some perspective to our relative success in Iraq. I like that approach, but I did a little tweaking for this attempt to put the Iraq War in perspective. The numbers below represent just Iraq and Vietnam (since that is the war that most opponents want to compare it to), and they are U.S. military death numbers, not casuality numbers. I post them without comment.

U.S. Deaths in Iraq, 2003 to present (30 months):

U.S. Deaths in Vietnam, 1965 only (first full year after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution):

Total U.S. deaths in Vietnam:

Average number of U.S. Deaths in Iraq per month:

Number of years of war it would take for the Iraq War to equal the Vietnam War in total deaths:
77 years and 8 months

One cannot judge wars on deaths or casualities alone, but this is a pretty good indicator that the anti-war types are selling us a bad bill of goods with their Iraq-Vietnam comparisons.


This is one of my favorite pictures that I've taken. A few months after I got my Canon Rebel EOS, I went to the local ball diamond to practice with it. At one point I went beyond the centerfield fence to see what kind of a shot I could get. Last month, two plus years after I snapped this shot, I found the roll of film back and developed it. This is the result, and with it I am well pleased. The film picture is much better than the digitized image, but I'll spare you all the even duller story as to why.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Business blogging

Ever wonder how business views blogging? Backbonemedia has a white paper on just that topic.

The myopic Capital Times

The Capital Times is mildly criticizing Governor Doyle for endorsing the Zien-Wood proposal to eliminate minimum mark ups on gasoline. I'm left wondering if they are using criticism of Doyle to turn attention away from the bind Republicans have him in, or if they are just so blind that they can't see that the gas tax holiday proposal put Doyle in such an awkard position in regards to his budget that he had to support the repeal of the minimum markup.

Canadian might

The Canadians are defending a small arctic island, Hans Island, from the Danes with two "coastal defense vessels." That would be a fun little war to watch-Danish and Canadian ships lining up broadside so the sailors can shoot spitwads at each other.

Feingold's Folly

A quote to start (from HuffPo):
I said, "Off the record, your own view, would it help if we had a timeline to let the world know that we're not staying here forever?" And this is what he said, verbatim. He said, "Nothing would take the wind out of the sails of the insurgents more than having a timeline in place."
Okay, so we know where Feingold is coming from. The problem for Russ is that it is a flawed position.

Setting a deadline for withdrawal will not take the wind out of the sails of the insurgency. The only way it could take the wind out of their sails would be if they are only fighting because we are there. Our presence is only part of the equation. They want us gone not because we have boots on the ground in Iraq, but because those boots are currently standing between them and what they really want-power. If we announced a deadline for withdrawal, we might see a lull in activity, but that is only because they'll be gathering their resources for an assault on the current Iraqi government (and the Iraqi people), beginning the day after we leave. That is Feingold's folly-the belief that the United States is the center of the universe for Islamic terror, and by extension, the insurgency. We aren't. We're an obstacle they desperately want torn down. The center of their universe is power and glory. For some insurgents, that means an Islamic Empire. For those insurgents who benefited from the rule of Saddam, it means seizing control of the riches of Iraq again. Either way, it is the United States that stands between them and their goal.

The true national embarrassment of the Vietnam War is that we left the South Vietnamese dangling in the wind because we grew tired of it all. That is history that Feingold, in his misunderstanding of the Iraq insurgency, apparently wants us to repeat.

Punished for brand loyalty

All of the cool kids are (or aren't) talking about WISN's talk show host contest. And here I sit, the guy who's blindly loyal to WTMJ, unable to join in the reindeer games. Damn me and my obeisance to AM 620.

Tornado classroom

I've decided to bend my "no pictures of tornado damage" rule in order that people may learn a little about F1 tornados. Many people are foolish enough to chase storms. I should know, I'm one of them. The difference with me is I've made the effort to learn about thunderstorms and tornados first, which allows me (in most cases, anyway) to stay well out of harms way. That's not the case for many people who do this, though. So tonight I'm going to show every how even a "small" tornado can be deadly.

On August 18th, Wisconsin had a tornado outbreak. The tornado in Stoughton was large enough to scare most people from getting too close, but I've heard several accounts of people getting too close to the several F1 and F0 tornados. The tornado that struck Fort Atkinson that night was an F1 tornado-in the grand scheme of things, it was small. But it was still big enough to do harm.
This is a little difficult to see, but the tree on the right of this picture was a fairly nice sized tree. The winds had twisted the tree, and the torque placed on the trunk caused it to splinter and snap. Most amateur storm chasers aren't too afraid of downed trees, but the thing to remember is that splintered shards from that tree become little missiles traveling, in this case, about 100 mph.

This is a metal storage shed, the type you may rent to hold belongings in during a move. The tornado demolished a small portion of the shed. The damage done to this building is bad enough, but added to that is the fact that this small tornado flung large pieces of metal from this shed across a busy road. They came to rest about 75 yards away.
Again, structural damage is part of the curiosity factor that drives amateur storm chasers, so I am going to present the most convincing piece of evidence for why even small tornados should be accorded much respect. This is a hotel is approximately 60 yards from the metal storage shed shown above. The tornado took a small piece of metal debris and launched it into the hotel, where it embedded itself into the wall. If someone is outside and in the vicinity of a tornado, small pieces of debris such as this can be deadly. If someone's car is hit with a piece of debris such as this, the damage is going to be pretty bad, and if it were to hit the windshield or side window of the car, it can be deadly to the driver or passengers.

If you are going to go out and chase storms, know what you are doing. If you find yourself in the storm, give up the chase and take cover. When the tornado warning first went out for Jefferson County, I was going to go to a vantage point to view the incoming storm that was close to home, mostly because it seemed like the storm was going to track to our north. In the short amount of time I took to get ready, the storm changed track slightly, and I knew better than to try to view this one. I'll admit, I'm dumb for doing this sort of thing. But I knew when not to risk it.

Rumor has it that one person driving through town saw the tornado and followed it in their car, taking digital photos. I'll admit, I'm hoping that my friend of a friend can get a hold of those images so I can see them. Doing that was dumb, though, and that person is lucky they weren't hurt or killed, even by this small tornado.

Going wobbly?

Is it just me, or does "Vietnam syndrome" seem to be coming back with a vengeance this week? Portions of the right seem to be getting a little bit wobbly on Iraq. Bush is taking some of the blame for his muddled speeches, but speeches do not make a war, even a post-modern war. If the right loses its resolve on what we are doing in Iraq, we may as well take Russ Feingold up on his exit strategy, because the outcome will be the same either way.

We need iron clad resolve right now. I'm beginning to wonder if we have it in us.

AP-A Summer of Scandal for U.S. Politicians

Such is the Associated Press's latest claim. If so, this was also the summer of the most boring political scandals ever. Methinks 'scandals' was a little too harsh of a word.

Scientists find skull of Alec Baldwin

Wait, check that, I'm getting a new report in. Okay, correction-scientists find skull of Homo Erectus.

Why Iraq is not Vietnam

Okay, this going to be a simple lesson today, class. After two and a half years of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, the war was only just ramping up. After two and a half years of U.S. involvement in Iraq, we are slowly winding down. And don't try and fight me on the winding down part, because I'm right. No one in this administration is looking to send hundreds of thousands of additional troops to Iraq and expanding our role there (save your draft rumors for another sucker). In Vietnam, the Viet Cong and NVA were like a pack of wolves looking to attack us from its hiding spot. The Iraq insurgency is more like stray dogs nipping at our heels. The only thing similar between the two wars-a strain of American anti-Americanism that craves our defeat.

Canton girls are easy

The title is a little play off of Earth Girls are Easy (hey, give me a break-I was going to title this post "Canton halls have many wide receivers, few tight ends") But all jokes aside, Canton, Ohio is facing a huge teen pregnancy problem:
This may seem impossible to you, but it’s true.

Sixty-five — again, 65 — of Timken High School’s 490 girl students are pregnant.

That’s a number confirmed by Principal Kim Redmond, whose staff, in less than a week, will inherit a problem it had no part in causing.

That's 13% of the high school's girls that are pregnant-at one time. The article does not go into enough detail to really offer opinions on why this is occuring or possible solutions, but this high school is worth studying (and I loathe studies) in greater detail if we want to understand and reduce teen pregnancy. Teen pregnancy rates have been on a downward slide of late, but it is something I don't think we really have a firm grasp on yet.

China on the moon

The Canton Rep features an op-ed piece by James Pinkerton and the international competition that tends to drive manned space exploration. In his piece, he posits that we will get serious about manned space travel again as the Chinese leap ahead of us in manned space exploration. I don't doubt that he is right. In fact, this leads into one of my irritations with our national character. Instead maintaning our leads in various things, we have a tendency to let our leads slide until, *gasp*, somebody else threatens our national character by doing that particular thing better. Then nothing can stand in our way. With space travel, I get the feeling that we will not get back on the band wagon until we watch a Chinese astronaut removing the American flag from the moon and replace it with a Chinese flag. Once we see that, we'll be on Mars faster than you can say "Buzz Aldrin." I can't substantiate it, but it seems these leaps and bounds would cost us more than steady, dogged progress.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Will the dragon slayer become the dragon

Blog Business Summit has some interesting thoughts on the possibility blogs will become that which they lambaste:
Then there is the threat from within. As blogging gets successful — in sheer numbers of readers, in attracting the interest of big sponsors — it needs to organise itself, it needs to give some order to the massed ranks of its supporters. So now we’re seeing aggregated blogs, blogging communities where folk gather under one banner for purposes of gathering support, sponsors and critical mass. Nothing wrong with this, of course. But at what point do these ‘aggregate sites’, with their front pages, their sections, their advertising departments, start to act surprisingly like online publications? Or their writers start to think like journalists, or news photographers, working through agencies for anything newsworthy?
As much as I'd like to deny it, the free wheeling nature of the blogosphere will eventually be smothered as blogging becomes more institutionalized.

Paul Harvey, the radio pop up ad

I've listened to Paul Harvey since I was a child. As a pre-teen, I even read my dad's copy of The Rest of the Story. I used to find his news segment to be a quaint throw back to the old days of radio, a time where it was common for the sponsorships to be read by the host. I don't think that way anymore. Now I view The Paul Harvey Show as a web page I want to read, but which overwhelms me with pop-ads for the Bose Wave Radio and Citracal and Thera-gesic.

I have a 7 minute drive from work to home, and during that period of my lunch break, I used to be able to listen to the beginning of Jeff Wagner's show on AM 620 WTMJ. If he had a topic which interested me, which was almost always, I turned the radio on at home and listened during lunch. Now I have Paul Harvey riding with me during that drive, and half his show is stealth commercials for crap products I don't want. I think I've only remembered to turn on Wagner at home once since Paul Harvey's show started airing on WTMJ. That's not a good lead in, WTMJ manglement.

Say it ain't so, Joe! Scarborough edition

It looks like Joe Scarborough will not be challenging Katherine Harris in Florida. I know that disappoints some conservatives because Scarborough seems much more likely to actually get elected than Harris, but on the flip side, I'm not sure how effective Scarborough would have been if elected. If you read his book, you'll see that Joe burnt a lot of bridges, both in his time as a Representative, and also with the book.

Pork and you, revisted

Jacob Hornberger picks up on an idea near and dear to my heart-the fact that pork will only stop when the voters quit stepping up to the trough.
This is what democracy in America is now all about. Everyone in Washington knows that there is no better way for a member of the U.S. House or Senate to ingratiate himself with voters than by announcing, "Free federal pork for your community. Come and get it."
When will this moral perversity be brought to a halt? Only when the American people stop rewarding this corrupt practice with accolades, praise and gratitude, and instead greet political announcements of federal grants with the indignation, disdain and condemnation they deserve.
Amen. Pork only occurs because we voters reward it. The buck stops with us.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A non-hysterical post at HuffPo?

Yes. And beyond that, the post in question is pretty well reasoned. Congrats, Mark Joseph. Your post may be a first.

Presidential hopefuls

Want to know who is looking at running for president in 2008? Start searching for politicians spouting Iraq stategies. Pols who are talking about Iraq strategies are trying to feel out positions. They are leaving themselves plenty of wiggle room on those strategies right now, using them more to get a feel for the political climate. In one article from Reuters, we have Chuck Hagel, George Allen, Russ Feingold, and Bill Richardson all playing the game.

Hagel: "What I think the White House does not yet understand and some of my colleagues, is the dam has broken on this (Iraq) policy." "We are locked into a bogged down problem not unsimilar or dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam. The longer we stay the more problems we are going to have."

Allen: "It is absolutely essential that we win it. We cannot tuck tail and run (from Iraq). We have to prevail. We must win. If we lose, that will destabilize the Middle East."

Feingold: "The president is not telling us the time frame ... what's happening is that the American public is despairing of the situation," said Feingold. "I felt it was time to put on the table an idea and break the taboo."

Richardson: "The senator (Feingold) is understandably frustrated, like all America is. What we need in Iraq is either a strategy to win or a strategy to get out."

All potential candidates would be well advised not to do one thing-to become a one dimensional war (pro or con) candidate. To do so is to guarentee a loss.

Military strategists-better card players?

Bear with me on this rambling musing. Last night the lovely Mrs. Jib and I attended a bi-weekly social gathering of our friends. After dinner, we began to play Uecker. Most of the people there did not know how to play Uecker, so it was a bit of a training session that evolved into a game. At one point, two of us were advising Mrs. Jib, and we had her partner pick up the trump, as Mrs. Jib had both of the jacks. Problem was, she did not have any other trump, but she did have an off suit ace. She took the first trick with her jack, and then I advised her to play her ace instead of the other jack. The logic behind this was that she'd likely give up control of the table, but she wouldn't "steal" the trump card she had her partner pick up if it turned out to be his only trump, allowing him the opportunity to take the third trick. Everything worked out right, and she and her partner took 4 tricks. One of the players on the other team then jumped all over me for the advice, saying that she should have played the second jack right away, because "it is better to maintain control of the table".

Now, if you don't know how to play Uecker, I already lost you, but here's the point. I began to think about the strategy disagreement. The opponent was thinking the thing through from an individualistic, always moving forward type vantage point. I was thinking from more of a team, who's cards do what to who vantage point. Both of those points are kind of like military strategies. Given that, are military strategists and planners outstanding card players? After all, they are well versed in strategy and looking at how certain actions work better in certain scenarios, and how all of the actions interelate. It would seem that they would be able to translate this expertise to card games very easily. Has anyone ever heard anything to this effect?

Toasted epidermis

After spending ten hours in the sun over two days golfing (went poorly) and fishing (fish weren't biting), this blogger is a hurting unit. I'm as red as the ripening red jalapenos in my backyard. I am going to try to blog up a storm this afternoon, but we'll see how far I make it. The laptop is already turning the tops of my legs into fiery infernos.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The (police) force is strong with that one

Heh. Janesville police were called to the Ramada Inn for an armed robbery. Turned out to be a star trooper at a Star Wars Convention.

Chewbacca better look out for the dog catchers.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Light of Day

My office is located right at the heart of last night's tornado path here in Fort Atkinson. I checked out the area in the dark last night, and it looked bad enough then. By the light of day, it looks worse, but we have much to be thankful for here. Large trees, some of which were probably over 100 years old, were snapped in half. One street has trees snapped in half on nearly every property. Two tall metal balls lay near my office-they used to be some business's roof. Despite all of this, buildings withstood the onslaught very well. With the exception of some signs and one business's roof, most structural damage seemed to be cause by falling trees. I've heard of no reports of injury. Additionally, the area the tornado went through included the Fireside Dinner theater. Had the tornado been more severe, there would have been many injuries and possibly deaths in that area of town, as there is also a hotel, a Shopko, a bar, a restaurant, and a bowling alley in the path of the damage. We were very fortunate here yesterday. Very fortunate.

I am not going to be taking photographs of the damage. Crews are already working on clean up, and I also don't feel like taking "after" photos of what was somebody's fears last night.

All clear

Sorry to leave everyone hanging-I really have to learn how to finish a story. Lost power after that last post, and it just came back on. Long story short, we're quite thankful. It was hairy around here for a while, but we came through quite well. South side of town had it worse with a lot of trees snapped in half and some structural damage, but even that is something to be thankful for given what Stoughton got hit with. Because of that, I will resist my urge to complain too much about how bad the weather was here.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Tornado warning Jefferson County

Not a good sign-debris falling from sky. TTY later.

Lots of confusing info. Radio reported tornado on the ground in town here, nothing on scanner, though. Somebody (Stoughton?) got hit hard before we got this though, as shingles and shit started falling from nowhere. Scanner reporting wall cloud west of town. We hear hail from our uncomfortable silence in the basement.

Update 2
Second tornado, this one ten miles west of town. Meanwhile, lightning just struck something on this block-sounded like an explosion. Jefferson County sucks.

Update 3
These God damn things keep forming! This is the fifth time they've sounded the sirens for touched down tornados i the area. #$@%$%^ Jefferson County. Good news-I still have power, which hopefully means we're okay.

Update for posterity
Links to NWS report on the tornados and a map of the tornado tracks.

Amateur photography revisited

Ugh. Right now to my west and northwest are severe thunderstorms that have spawned some tornados this afternoon. NBC-15 in Madison has had storm coverage since I came home from work, and by and large it was responsible-until one minute ago. At that time the weatherman encouraged people to email their digital photos into the station. Now there will always be idiots like me that want to see storms, but when the media offers to run pictures, the number of us idiots doing a stupid thing increases by a factor of 10. The media is getting hooked on amateur, digital coverage of breaking news, and will until a few of these amateurs get injured or killed because they aren't careful.

Congrats BBA

I'd like to take a moment to congratulate the members of the Badger Blog Alliance for their victory in this week's mkeonline Blog of the Week. The BBA has been a pleasure to be the administrator of, and all of the bloggers over there are very talented, making the BBA what it is.

Blog language

Blog language has been brought up on about 4 or 5 blogs I regularly read, especially as it relates to the lef-right divide. Personally, I judge a blog based partly on the language it uses. Excessive blog cursing is indicative of a lack of intellectual discipline and symptomatic of a writer that allows emotion to short circuit reasoned thought. I'm no angel myself when it comes to cursing, and I'm definitely not offended by it, but when a writer uses it excessively, it always seems that individual's argument has come dislodged from the bedrock of reason.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A fine line

There is a fine line between cautioning people about a potentially severe pandemic and causing fear and panic about it. Today Instapundit looks at the economic damage that could occur as a result of a panic surrounding an avian flu outbreak. Reynolds needs to start looking at his possible role in said panic. While he has not been hysterical in his coverage of the bird flu, he has been sensational about it. That kind of sensational is nudging him over that line.

Without a doubt, we need to be prepared for the potential of this flu pandemic, and the public needs to be aware of it. There are a lot of people, Reynolds included, that are focusing exclusively on worst case scenarios that include 25% of the world population dying and global economic depression. By having a laser focus on the worst case scenarios, they are conditioning the public to panic in a bad way if and when the bird flu does break out.


Somehow, some way, Google decided that Jiblog was the link to this picture of Will Farrell in the SNL cowbell skit. Much to the frustration of Google Image searchers, though, Google sends them to the Jiblog homepage, where there is little hope that they are going to find the link in my original post from April. Since I get steady traffic on this, you will see a link to Cowbell! in the sidebar. I'm here to serve, people.

Ugh. In (half hearted) defense of Clinton

The New York Times is reporting that the State Department warned the Clinton administration in 1996 that Osama bin Laden could become a greater threat to the United States with his relocation to Afghanistan. We will see this story discussed a lot in the blogosphere today, and I'm sure there will be ample criticism of Clinton. I'm not saying that the criticism won't be deserved, because it will be. The problem is you cannot lump all of this on Clinton's shoulders. Bill Clinton, if he had some strong political courage, could have been the guy with whom the buck stopped in regards to Islamic terror. He didn't, and in that he failed, but historically speaking, he inherited the lackadaisical policies towards Islamic terror that were in good measure born of the Carter administration and carried forward through the Reagan and Bush administrations (Reagan and Bush were solid at handling state sponsored terror, but not the more decentralized terrorism). And if Clinton had the juevos to do something about it in the 90's, it would have been through strong opposition, as I don't think the general public truly took Islamic terrorism seriously until they watched their TV's on September 11, 2001.

Gas & Wisconsin's minimum mark up law

I read an interesting article tonight on creative tactics taken by businesses in the face of high gas prices, but I'm not going to provide a link to it. I'm not going to provide the link because part of the article discussed a Wisconsin business that is giving discounts on gasoline to a certain other Wisconsin business that uses a lot of gas. I like the initiative that the business owner showed in securing the volume purchases of the other business, and I'd like to see more of that in Wisconsin. I was left wondering how this business owner is getting around Wisconsin's minimum mark up law, however. The article did not go into detail on whether he was still meeting the minimum mark up after the discount, and if he isn't, I have absolutely zero problem with that. Government has no place determining price floors, but you know that state Democrats are going to try to play the Wal-Mart card every time an attempt is made to repeal that law.

ELCA & Israel

~Sigh~ I am so out of the mainstream of my own (very liberal) church body.
Fences and a "Just Peace"
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America makes a stand against Israel's security fence and in favor of a "just peace." (Never mind Palestinian terrorism.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

How do you deal with writer's block?

Or subject block, in my case. I just can't bring myself to join the choir on Abel Danger or Cindy Sheehan, and I can only go to the HuffPo well so much. So after staring at my screen in frustration for much of two hours, I headed out to my garage at 10:45. Once there, I did some things I've been avoiding this summer. I fixed my fishing gear-gear that failed me so much last summer that I nearly threw it all in the river, gear which frustrated me so much that I avoided buying a license this year until this week. Next, and hold onto your hats on this one, I sorted my golf balls and cleaned my clubs so I'm ready for a tournament this Friday. I then fixed my hacksaw and flirted with the idea of cutting down some dead branches in my backyard until common sense kicked in. By this time, it was 11:25. So what did I do? I allowed my common sense to fail me and I practiced my chip shot in the dark.

My God, September can't get here soon enough. Give me politics or give me d...okay, I don't need my politics fix that bad.

Simply Sheehan

There is a lot of blather about Cindy Sheehan in all forms of media, and this is largely a product of a slow August news cycle. A lot of the blather involves trying to figure out her motives. I'm beginning to think Sheehan is just a simple person who is in way over her head.

The What If? Files, Vol 1

Welcome to the first ever "What if? Files". To be honest, the What If? Files are going to be thoughts that I have clanging around in my brain, but which I haven't yet developed to full coherence. Think of the What If? files as the intellectual equivilant of throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if it sticks. So with that, here we go.

In today's What If, we'll look at the First Amendment as it relates to the public airwaves. But first, let's review the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Okay, review over. As we are aware, the "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion" portion of the First Amendment is being interperated rather liberally by the courts these days. So, with that as a given, what if an individual or an organization that supports a clear and wide separation of church & state were to take the FCC to court for allowing the public airwaves to be licensed for Christian Broadcast stations on the basis of the Establishment Clause? First off, I'm not a lawyer so I cannot say whether a case of this type would have any validity, but as an interested observer, this seems to be a likely progression of the separation of church & state battles. But what would a challenge of this type do to the First Amendment? Every once in a while in this country, we breathly discuss the possibility of a Constitutional crisis. A challenge of this type would seem to be our first real crisis. The challenge to licensing of the airwaves for Christian broadcasting would pit the establishment clause against freedom of speech and freedom of the press-a situation that would pit the First Amendment against the First Amendment.

First, would the courts even agree to hear such a challenge? If so, has the liberal interpretation of the Establishment Clause become an influential enough line of thought in the courts for it to redefine freedom of speech and the press?

Hell Pizza

Heh. This is a great billboard by an oddly named pizza joint in New Zealand.

Click here for the full size photo at Flickr.

Upon further review, I retract "great billboard". When read as though Bush is saying, it is funny. When read as if Bush were the evil bastard, not so funny. Given that most people are going to interpret it as the latter rather than former, I've revised my opinion.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Good news for oil?

I've had my amateur economist hat on for a couple of weeks now, trying to figure out exactly why oil prices are so high. Yes, demand is up, but so is supply. When you break down the components of demand, it seems that consumer demand is driving a portion of the high prices right now, but speculative demand is over inflating prices. Some professional economists seem to agree:
But the crack spreads, or price differences between gasoline and crude and heating oil and crude, "were higher than justified by the refinery problems, especially when you consider that the contract is for September delivery when the summer driving season has come to an end," he said.

All in all, the "aura of invincibility is really all the bulls have going for them," said Tim Evans, a senior analyst at IFR Markets.

Traders are "hoping to prevent a correction from taking hold because "if the prices weaken, then someone might notice how very well supplied these markets actually are," he said in an afternoon note to clients.

If we see a correction, this article from 2004 suggests that the slide in oil prices could be a steep one.

Liquidation of speculative contracts. The current high degree of speculation in oil markets suggests that any price weakness will feed on itself. Speculative traders tend to be driven by price momentum. Thus any break in the oil price should trigger liquidation of large speculativecontracts. That, in turn, should lead to even lower prices.
So hold out hope that relief is on the horizon.

disclaimer: Jib is not an economist, but he does stay at Holiday Inn Expresses.

Top Ten: Who is York?

Since outing York is about to become passe, I took a quick survey of my sources to capitalize on the buzz myself. Here are the top ten guesses on York’s real identity.

10. He’s that 13 year old wisenheimer that lives down the street from you. You know, the one who puts the flaming bags of dog poo on your step?

9. Dennis York is an anagram. His real name is Ned Skinroy.

8. Former Packer Gilbert Brown. Had your Gilbert burger lately?

7. York and Peg Lautenschlager have never been seen together. Coincidence? I think not.

6. He’s really Xoff’s crazy uncle Stanislaw.

5. York once saved a colleague from dangerous gamma rays by taking the full blast himself. Don’t make him angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

4. York is really Ed Garvey. That rapscallion!

3. Wait just a second-did someone give those Thompson boys a computer and an internet connection again?

2. He is triple secret, super duper, undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame. Shh…you didn’t hear that from me.

1. Karl Rove

Anonymity in the blogosphere

This is a post that is really better for the Badger Blog Alliance, but I'm going to keep it here because Jiblog is a little less visited than the BBA, and I want to contribute as little to the 'Dennis York' buzz as possible. I feel compelled to comment on this, though. In a post tonight, York stated that he is going to pull the plug on his blog because of the growing speculation as to his real identity. That is very unfortunate for the Wisconsin blogosphere.

York is/was a very witty writer and talented blogger, and that is a problem for his anonymity. When a very talented anonymous blogger happens onto the scene, it isn't very long before people feel they have to out that blogger. Sometimes it is just curiosity. Sometimes it is a little more sinister. Either way, that buzz is uncomfortable for the anonymous blogger because they are anonymous for a reason. Often times that reason is directly related to their day job. Some of us are just more comfortable with a wall between our work and our politics, and the wall is pretty flimsy and easy to get around; if someone figures out who we are, it's no big deal. For others, though, that wall is very important part of keeping their day job. Once people start trying to climb the wall, the gig is up, because eventually someone will get a peek over the top, usually on the shoulders of others.

Can anonymous blogging be a problem? Yes, but I don't see any problems in York's case. Besides, outing anonymous bloggers is unnecessary even when it is a problem, because the blogosphere tends to take of business on its own by discrediting those blogs and pulling links, thereby killing their traffic and influence. Some may say that York is a victim of his own success. I say he was done in by prying eyes that really didn't need to be prying. Either way, York is not the first anonymous blogger to be done in by the real identity treasure hunt, he won't be the last, and I find that very unfortunate for all of us who blog or read blogs.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Irritation with Wisconsin's sexual offender program

I'm irritated with Wisconsin's sexual offender program, but for reasons slightly different that some of my peers around the Wisconsin blogosphere. Living out here beyond the big cities, I've become accustomed to the fact that we are going to have released sexual offenders living in some of our neighborhoods whether we like it or not. A search for my zip code reveals 53 sexual offenders from that "certain area" (which I belive is a 25 mile area). As long as we release sex offenders from prison, we're going to have to deal with having them in our communities and living near children. I do draw some very clear lines on my tolerance, though. Those lines include no sex offenders living within a half of a mile from a school, and no sex offenders living in a household with children. A case in my near vicinity seems to be crossing both of them.

I am not going to go into specifics on this instance because, to be frank, I need to learn more background informationon some of the specifics. At first blush, though, I am very agitated at what I see. I learned recently that a registered sex offender has moved into my neighborhood-so close that I can see the house in question from my front porch. This person was charge with 9 counts of 1st degree sexual assault of a child in the early 1990's This person was apparently given a plea deal, allowing this person to plead guilty to 3 counts while having the other 6 counts dismissed. For 3 counts of 1st degree sexual assault of a child, this person was given a mere 6 months of jail time, and 8 years of probation. The probation is now complete, but this person is a lifetime registrant on the Wisconsin Sex Offender list. But here's my rub. The individual has moved into a house where a couple of children also reside. This house is also only 3 blocks from an elementary school. This individual is living in this location legally, and that's the source of my irritation. A person who was found guilty of 3 counts of 1st degree sexual assault of a child (charged with 9 counts total), should not be allowed to live in that proximity to a school, and definitely should not be allowed to live in a household with children. I don't care if it has been over 10 years since the original charges, and that person has successfully completed their probation. Allowing this is asking for trouble. As a concerned neighbor, I can keep my eye on what goes on outside that house, but I also know that nothing untoward is going to happen in front of that house. If anything happens, it is going to be inside the house when nobody can see it.

I am going to do a little bit of background research on this person's case, which is going to require a visit to a library for newspaper accounts. Even knowing the background on this won't help me change the situation, though, as I know for fact that everything is square to the law. There is a feeling of helplessness when all you can do is learn as much about the case as possible in the event that you see something happen that doesn't seem right. Of course, once that happens, it's probably already too late.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The weekend ahead

It'll be quiet around here today. "Cousins' weekend" beckons. If it stinks, I'll be back later. If not, then Sunday. Enjoy your Saturday around the blogosphere.

Friday, August 12, 2005

9/11 Oral Histories

I'm on the run today, but I had to take a moment to recommend that everyone take a look at the 9/11 oral histories that New York released today. It was one thing to see 9/11 through your TV screen, and another to see it through the eyes of someone who experienced it.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Even more popular dead than alive

This has to be one of the strangest lists around. Lucille Ball is the most popular dead star in the world. Least popular-Robert Atkins. Poor Atkins can't catch any breaks lately.

Oh me of little faith

Mrs. Jib has the utmost faith in Ryan Longwell. So when he lined up for his 53 yard field goal in the rain, she bet me a back rub that he'd make it. Knowing that 53 is at the outside of Longwell's range in dry weather, I figured it was a sucker's bet. I was right. I was the sucker

Cindy Sheehan

I've resisted comment thus far on the Cindy Sheehan story because I'm loathe to criticize the grieving mother of a dead soldier. With revelations by Drudge that her tone has changed since the first time she did this and was allowed to speak with the president, as well as Drudge's latest update in which her family is repudiating her behavior, I've decided to hop in with one opinion, and one opinion only. Soldiers are adults, and as adults, they made their own decision to join the military. Some may have joined in an effort to get ahead, but they also knew the potential consequences of that decision. Cindy Sheehan's son was a brave young man to join the military. She is doing his memory no favors with her behavior, and given the crowd she seems to be hanging with, I can't help but think the anti-war types are manipulating her grief for their gain. But that is no excuse for Sheehan. Her loss is sad, but she needs to stop tilting at windmills.

Blood in the water

There is a conservative blog swarm developing around growing connections between Able Danger, the 9-11 Commission, Jamie Gorelick, and Sandy Berger's document thievery. I'm not prepared to fully jump into this story yet because the connections are still loose, but the picture developing is not pretty. For background, check out Captain's Quarters, The Anchoress, and GOP Bloggers. That's where some of the footwork on this story is being done.

Okay to download child pornography in Maryland

At least that's what this story at Channel3000 seems to say. A man argued that a state law on the matter did not allow the creation or distribution of child pornography, but said nothing about downloading or viewing it. He won the case. Does Maryland not have a law forbidding the possession of child pornography?

Is the majority really the minority

The writer in me is irked by all of the news stories published today about whites in Texas dropping below 50% of the population. I'm not irritated by the fact that whites are less than 50% of the population, but by the inaccurate wording of these stories. The headline of almost all of these stories has some sort of play on "majority becomes minority". No, no, no, no! If anything, whites are now a plurality of the population. They still out number each individual race, so by saying that whites are a minority in Texas, they are not conveying the true nature of the statistics. Whites in Texas are only a minority if non-whites are some sort of culturally or ethnically cohesive block, which they are not. A minority cannot make up the largest percentage of a population. Grrrr!

Vote for the Badger Blog Alliance!

MKEOnline has a Blog of the Week contest, and much to my surprise the Badger Blog Alliance is one of the contestants this week. I say much to my surprise because it was only recently added to their list of blogs. So head on over to the contest and vote for the BBA as the Blog of the Week!

Cheney '08?

There is increasing buzz that Cheney will run for president in 2008 (I will provide links later). I am a Cheney fan, but I find this unlikely if for no other reason than Bob Woodward is the source of the buzz. If he does run, I'm not sure he wins the nomination. The left has saddled him with an awful lot of innuendo, and it will drag at his feet during the run. He can overcome the innuendo and accusations amongst conservatives, but we'll be stuck in the ugly cycle of the 2004 Democrats discussing electibility.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Mathematicians, your guides to love

Math majors are not renowned lovers, but apparently they can create an equation to tell you the best way to win a woman's heart:
In the model, a man chooses a worthless, valuable or extravagant gift. Valuable gifts might include diamonds or appliances, expensive items that have intrinsic value in that they are useful and can fetch a good price if resold. Extravagant gifts, on the other hand, would be something like dinner at a fancy restaurant, tickets to a Broadway show or a moonlit serenade. The value of these gifts is just in the experience.

The model showed that extravagant gifts had the highest score for both men and women. In Seymour's interpretation of the results, women feel confident that they have found a strong and committed mate when they receive an extravagant gift. And men avoid gold-diggers by giving only gifts that have no intrinsic value.

If mathematicians put the same effort into actual courtship that they put into creating a mathematical model for courtship, they'd rule the world.

Blah, or Silence is Golden

August is a wonderful time to be an American. It is as though the entire nation has gone on vacation or is sitting on the stoop, melting in the sweltering heat. There is still news, but it isn't as rabidly blown out of proportion as it is during other times of the year. This is something Americans should be thankful for, unless you're a small blogger trying desperately to post 8 to 10 times a day without resorting to banal pontification. Or proving to your readers the number of $2 words you can use in a single sentence.

More proof the capitalist pig South Koreans are weak

South Korean dies after playing video games for 49 consecutive hours.

(North Korean News Service)-His excellency Kim Jong-il, beloved Supreme Leader of North Korea, once played video games for 127 consecutive hours without so much as blinking his eyes. During this time, he conquered 27 different games. Afterwards, he went for a light 26.6 mile jog, which he completed in just under 45 minutes. The South Koreans are weakened by their relationship with the hedonistic, capitalist pig United States.

(Satire. Just in case ya weren't sure)

Tough times to be a wife

The woman whose husband forgot her at a gas station should be thankful that's all he did. At least he didn't run her over:
A 75-year-old German was so shocked he had accidentally run down his wife he started forward and drove over her again, authorities said Wednesday.
If at first you don't succeed...

Click for a good cause

I enjoy Chris Muir's Day by Day cartoon, and I'd love to add it to this blog both to further his distribution and because it is a great strip. Unfortunately, I just can't find a way to attractively add it without burying it. But what I can do is help Muir with a little publicity for a clinic that is helping his sister. I'll fudge the copyright here to allow Muir to tell you the story:

Click here to help out.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Micro-comparison: Evolution v. Design

Yesterday I presented this Tech Central Station column as food for thought on intelligent design. Tonight, I offer you this Tech Central Station article which is dismissive of design theories. Again, I leave it to you to make your own conclusions on this topic, but I must make note of something. Yesterday's column approached the topic with a very open mind as to the possibilities. To me, that is good science-after all, science is practice of explaining the unexplained, and in doing so a good scientist should be open to all possibilities, right? Tonight's article, on the other hand, seems dismissive and somewhat closed minded as to the possibilities. In fact, when looking at the two articles, the con-design article seems to be more an article of blind faith than the questioning piece from last night. Being that this is a micro-comparison, it is unfair to apply the observations to the macro argument, but my perception in this debate is that the evolution side of the argument has been much more close minded than the design side. That's just not good science. Debate, defend, but don't dismiss.

Personal background
Given my two posts on this, I feel I owe a little deeper background on, well, me. I was raised in a Church that believed in the literal interpretation of the Bible, i.e., the world was created in 7 human days. From that perspective, it is just as heretical for me to consider the combination of evolution and design a possibility as it apparently is for evolutionists to do likewise. But I'm still willing to consider it.

Wait. I am still conservative, right?

Much to my surprise, I found out this afternoon that I was linked to from an open thread at The Daily Kos. The question was, "But, is there anything out there that someone could recommend as actually of value? Where, even if you disagree with the views being expressed, you can respect the opinion as logical and consistent, where you can disagree and not get tossed?" The comment:
I've liked a few things at, a coblogger of mine recommends Jiblog...
I always find it flattering when someone on the opposite side of the aisle can say something nice about Jiblog. At the same time, I pull out my Barry Goldwater speeches to make sure I'm not faltering in my conservatism.

I kid. Thanks to Cecrops Tangaroa for the mention, and to the coblogger for the thought.

Snoop Dogg & Woody Harrelson take over Mauritania?

Fun with anagrams:

Mauritania junta=a marijuana tint.

That's right, it makes no sense unless Snoop Dogg and the Woodman were involved.

Reinforcing stereotypes

You just can't make this stuff up:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A man who left an accident scene was tracked down with the help of some cheerleaders who witnessed the crash and turned his license plate number into a cheer, police said.
I never realized that remembering six numbers and letters was so challenging. I will leave all of the hair color jokes to you, my readers, because I respect my blonde female readers too much to make the jokes myself.

If given the choice, how would you choose to die?

Morbid topic, I know (and it has nothing to do with my approaching 30th birthday, honest). I ask based off of this article, which describes the study of central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea generally affects older people (65 plus), and it often results in people dying in their sleep. Now, tying that back into the post title, if doctors did a check up on me at age 75, and they said look, your brain stem is showing signs that you may die of central sleep apnea, I'm not sure how worked up I'd get about it. How many people honestly wouldn't choose to go peacefully in their sleep? There are worse ways to die than warm and happy in your bed at an advanced age. The only reason I think that I wouldn't let this disorder go would be if the elderly (but still lovely) Mrs. Jib was reliant on me. For Mrs. Jib I would choose an unpleasant way to die if it meant I would have more time with her.

Well, now that I have that out of the way, happy Tuesday morning everyone! Enjoy that cup of Joe!

Backyard fires

I'm wildly erratic with my SLR camera, and I find that maddening when it costs $6 to $8 to develop a roll of film. With a little luck, I'll be complimenting my film SLR with its digital partner soon, which will give me a cheap (in the per picture sense) and easy way to practice. From a recent roll of film, this is one of two pictures that I really liked. The other was of a young polka dancer, and as cute as it is, I cringe at posting pictures of someone else's child on the internet without their approval, so you'll have to take my word for it.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Intelligent design and the PhD

Intelligent design opponents have been going after the theory with a vengence in the last two weeks. Unfortunately, the do so with a certainity in evolution that would indicate that it is a law, when in fact, evolution is still only theory itself (and I know that statement is going to invite comments on degrees of theory). Sometimes it is worth calming the emotions and at least looking at things from another angle. With that, I offer Dr. Roy W. Spencer at Tech Central Station. Consider it your daily food for thought. Will it change the minds of any hardened supporters of evolution? Not likely, but for those bouncing around in the middle, Spencer lights the scene from a different direction.

Quiet wife

This guy is in a world of hurt:
A Macedonian man left his wife at an Italian service station and only realized he had driven off without her six hours later, news agency Ansa said Monday.
I know that if I forget bread at the store, I'm not going to be allowed to forget it for days. This guy has a lifetime of crow to eat.

Then again, maybe this had a lot to do with it.

Sausage eating champ

I think I can imagine the most common pick up line that brat eating champ Sonya Thomas must deal with.

"What's your sign?"

What, were you expecting something else, sickos?

On blog taglines

I've been thinking long and hard about changing my tagline. I still like it, but after 14 months it is starting to get a little old to me. In its place I was thinking about running with a few comments from some other bloggers about Jiblog, maybe these three:
"Jib doesn't take a good picture" ~The American Mind
"A reader..." ~McBride's Media Matters
"Jiblog. There are varieties of filth." ~Althouse
As you can see, I was willing to misquote in order to self depricate, but I don't think I can improve on the branding that I get from my "beer chuggin', gas guzzlin'" tagline. When a blogger is new to Jiblog and links back here for the first time, it is not unusual to see my tagline in the post. I think the clincher came this weekend, though. I had the pleasure of meeting John McAdams at the Wisconsin State Fair on Sunday. As introductions came to me, he said, "you're the beer chuggin', gas guzzlin' guy, right?" That sealed it. I shall remain the blogger who chugs & guzzles.

Barone Blog

The new Michael Barone blog at U.S. News & World report only feels a little blog-like, but I like it so far nevertheless.

Tripe from Russell Shaw

Russell Shaw has a post at HuffPo that is complete tripe. It is a true bleeding heart liberal piece of crap that not only tries to justify baseball players from poor backgrounds using steroids, it seems to say "If you are poor, or if you've ever faced a barrier, then cheat to get what you want." It is such a miserable post, I refuse to reproduce it here in any form, lest I legitamize it anymore than I'm already doing. Shaw does not seem to grasp that A, steroid use is blatant cheating, and B, these poor and downtrodden, steroid using athletes are going to shorten their apparently hollow lives that can only be fulfilled by fame and huge wads of cash.

As a guy who played the game as long as my talent would allow, I'm offended that Shaw tries make this piss poor justification.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Straight men marry in Canada

I'm surprised it took this long:
Bill Dalrymple, 56, and best friend Bryan Pinn, 65, have decided to take the plunge and try out the new same-sex marriage legislation with a twist -- they're straight men.

"I think it's a hoot," Pinn said.

The proposal came last Monday at a Toronto bar amid shock and laughter from their friends. But the two -- both of whom were previously married and both of whom are looking for a good woman to love -- insist that after the humour subsided, a real issue lies at the heart of it all.

"There are significant tax implications that we don't think the government has thought through," Pinn said.
They claim that they are trying to publicize the financial loop hole in same sex marriage, and I'm sure they are sincere in that. But I suspect that they also did this so they could take advantage of those financial loopholes. And this is one of the problems with same sex marriage. It will/would be easily manipulated by people who have absolutely no bond beyond possibly a friendship. If you think divorce rates are high now, just wait until the day when they are meaningless numbers because friends or roommates marry in order to save money on benefits or taxes, and then divorce when they find someone of the opposite sex that they want to settle down with. We've been sliding down this slope for 30 years now, so it should be pretty easy to see what it is just ahead.

Rest in peace Peter Jennings

Peter Jennings has passed away from the lung cancer he told America about back in April. I must say, this came as a little bit of a surprise, coming so soon after his announcement. Condolences to ABC News and the Jennings family.

Wisconsin State Fair IV

And if you had a spare $30 or $40 small ones in your pocket, you too could get and autograph from Paul Hornung. Paul wasn't too busy when I ambled by.

Wisconsin State Fair III

In what I thought was going to be a tribute to Kris at Dummocrats, I tried one of the microbreweries' White Beers. Unfortunately, I don't believe it was Point's White Bier, which is just as well because I didn't enjoy it all that much-too sweet.

Wisconsin State Fair II

The second thing that I noticed was that this truly is Wisconsin's State Fair. Beer is EVERYWHERE. The good news is the kids get carded, which is something I witnessed a couple of times. But the beer is so ubiquitous that even Old Style and Pabst were getting in on the act.

Wisconsin State Fair I

Okay, time for a little State Fair blogging. This was my first visit to the Wisconsin State Fair, and one of the first things to impress me was the number of people there. The Northern Wisconsin State (glorified county) Fair, this is not.

Back from the BBA gathering

Well, the first Badger Blog Alliance get together was an enjoyable time. It was hot but the beers were cold. The conversation was great. Owen was discussing...wait, that was off the record. Well, Sean was telling everyone that...umm, that was off the record, too. Well, Kevin and John were talking about...oops, sorry, that was off the record too, as was that one great thing Mary Eileen said. Hmm. Guess y'all will just have to show up yourselves next time to get the great dirt on Wisconsin.

And Dean's info was on such a need to know basis that I wasn't allowed to discuss his presence until now at 9:30 at night.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Pork and you

Mike at Cooler Near the Lake and I were apparently of a similar mind on Friday. On Friday morning, Mike wrote a great post on all of the pork for Wisconsin in the transportation bill. Around the same time, I was jotting down a few notes on pork that dovetail nicely with his post.

It has been fairly common for those of us who are fiscally conservative to vent our frustrations at our Republican congressmen. After all, we've swept Republicans into congress and the White House in order to reduce government spending. I think a good number of us have felt betrayed by our representatives as congress has done little to put the reigns on spending, and also by our President for failing to veto any of these spending bills. I think we need to start looking a little deeper, though. Our elected officials would not be spending our tax dollars like drunken soldiers unless we were demanding it of them. If they felt spending more would actually lead to fewer votes, they'd stop in a heart beat. The problem is most people view pork in the same way that they view special interests-it's only pork or a special interest when the money is going to someone else. Everytime we advocate for a bike path in our district, everytime we push for that road that is not an economic necessity yet, we are advocating for more pork in our districts while grumbling about the pork in other districts or states. And this is happening in every district in the country. Voters are watching to make sure that their fair share of tax dollars come back to their districts or states. When it doesn't, they crucify the politician who failed to bring tax dollars back home. Meanwhile they slap down all the other districts and states that are bringing home more tax dollars.

Controlling spending by the Federal Gub'mint requires discipline by our elected representatives, but it also requires discipline by we, the voters. Until we start to display our fiscal conservatism here in our home districts and communities, our representatives sure as hell aren't going to display theirs in the Federal Government. Or state government, for that matter.