Tuesday, January 31, 2006

For the record...

I will not be live blogging the SOTU. I am eschewing the President's speech in favor of spending the evening with the lovely Mrs. Jib. I may have commentary later in the evening, but definitely no live blogging.


Samuel Alito has finally been confirmed as Sandra Day O’Conner’s replacement on the Supreme Court.  The fight, both internal against the Miers nomination and external against the Democrats, has been well worth it.  This moves the court a little bit further towards a constructionist imterpretation of the constitution, but not reliably.  Justice Kennedy becomes the new wild card.  If Bush gets another nomination, and he probably will, the fur is really going to fly because it will be that nomination which could make the court reliably constructionist.

Lefty blog to out Republican Senator

A lefty blog, BlogActive, is threatening to out a Republican senator if he votes the wrong way on the Alito confirmation. It is frankly a repugnant post that stinks of blackmail.

Lefty blogroll stroll

I am going to try out a new idea here at Jiblog which was inspired by Belle at Leaning Blue. Starting a little later this week, I'm going to take a blogroll stroll on the other side of the political tracks and do a little overview here. I did a test stroll tonight, and I think this just may be an interesting thing to try out. If I hate it, I'll only do it once and deny I ever considered it.


What fun is this?
Hoping to ease the nightmare of flying next to a crashing bore, a company in New York will match like-minded passengers to help make the time fly.

Inspired by a flight where he found himself happily seated next to Miss Texas, company founder Peter Shankman says he set up AirTroductions to give travelers a chance to choose their seatmates.

"It is for anyone who travels who does not want to have to deal with the psychological hell of sitting 2 inches from someone you don't know for eight hours," he said.
One of my greatest flying pleasures ever took place in early 2004. I had a Sunday afternoon flight from Denver to Milwaukee, and I was seated next to a young woman from an Ivy League school I forget which) who was on her way back to her classes. She was dressed in the shabby, grubby manner of an activist, and her oversized purse was plastered with buttons shouting out feminist slogans and political buttons for Clinton-Gore, Gore-Lieberman, Howard Dean, John Edwards, and John Kerry (she was obviously covering her bases). So I sat quietly beside her until just before take off, at which point I pulled out a couple of issues of National Review to read and watched her squirm for three hours. I waited and waited for her to say something, but not a sound came out of her mouth the entire trip.

Elderly delinquents

Next time you visit Japan, you can feel safe around the teenagers, but if you see a gang of elderly Japanese with chains and knives, dancing and snapping their fingers, look out.
Crimes committed by elderly people in Japan have risen sharply in the past 15 years, a trend that has officials worried as the population ages rapidly due to longer lifespans and a falling birth rate.

Police data shows that people aged 65 and older accounted for more than 10 percent of those arrested or taken into custody for crimes other than traffic violations in Japan in 2005, compared with just 2.2 percent in 1990, the Asahi newspaper said on Monday, citing National Police Agency data.
I don't see this problem developing here in the states. I suspect the aging baby boomers will be enjoying their medicinal marijuana too much to harm anyone. Which reminds me, I need to move some of my retirement money into Frito-Lay.

Bush's Clinton-Bush family comment undermines Clinton

Right wingers of the world unite, set aside your distaste of Bill Clinton, and start accentuating the synergies of the Bushes and the Clintons. Rich Brookhiser just may be on to something here:
Did anyone else think that W's praise of Bill Clinton, which was all over my AOL startup menu yesterday, was sly sabotage of Hillary (grossing out the Kossacks)?
Heh. It doesn't take much to get the Kossacks' noses out of joint, so while it isn't likely a Bush strategy, it just might throw a monkey wrench in Hillary's doomed attempt at triangulation.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Follow up on a tech bleg

In December I had a tech bleg that Patrick and the community at Web-Nuts tried to assist me with, and I'd like to follow up on it. My sister-in-law had a friend of a friend look at her computer. Her LAN card was fried by the internet service at her college apartment. She got a hunny of a deal on a new card (read: free) and is up and running again. Thanks for the assistance, guys.

The erosion of free speech

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a story this morning on the place of blogs in the tangled mess congress has wrought with campaign finance reform. The general consensus in the article and amongst Wisconsin bloggers is that blogs should be considered journalism and receive a media exemption. Well folks, it shouldn't even have to come to that. The First Ammendment is in place to protect political speech as much as any other type of speech. Remember, once you lose your right to political free speech, it is only a matter of time before your rights to other types of speech are surreptitiously outlawed (or as they say in newspeak, regulated) as well.

The article opened with this story:
When a Brookfield alderman launched a Web site to promote and pummel candidates in local elections, he took a step that perhaps no other blogger in Wisconsin has taken.

He registered under state campaign finance rules as an independent person trying to influence voters.

Ald. Scott Berg even filled out a form listing every elected official and challenger he would advocate for and against on his site, www.brookfield2006.com. He signed an oath that he is operating independent of any candidate.

Berg says he's being careful and following the letter of the law - even if he thinks it infringes on his right to free speech.

I undersand Berg's CYA here, but I resent it just the same. By voluntarily registering, Berg has made the rest of us just a little bit weaker in our efforts to stand up for our rights to free political speech. Blogs should not have to receive any exemptions or be consider any other type of "safe" speech. They are what they are, citizen exercises of the First Ammendment. Pardon my language, but Congress and the courts can kiss my ass if they think they are going to regulate my political speech without me fighting them every step of the way on it.

Blue Monday

Wisconsin is a blue state today, and it isn't because it voted Democrat in 2004.
"I wish I knew," Favre said. "I still know I can play. I still love to play. But there's just so much more to it than that now. I never thought it would be complicated, never thought I would give out mentally before I did physically.

"But right now if I had to pick, if someone said make a damn decision and live with it, I would say I'm not coming back."

The Favre era could be coming to a close, and nobody in Wisconsin looks forward to the uncertainity that brings to our fall Sundays.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Clinton and Bush, like peas and carrots

This is just odd:
President George W. Bush says Bill Clinton has become so close to his father that the Democratic former president is like a member of the family.

Former President George Bush has worked with Clinton to raise money for victims of the Asian tsunami and the hurricane disaster along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Asked about his father and Clinton, Bush quipped, "Yes, he and my new brother."

If there are two former Presidents who really shouldn't have liked each other all that much, it is Clinton and Bush. It's nice to see two former presidents set an example like this. Not liking someone's politics does not automatically mean you have to dislike the person.

Out of touch

Newsweek has an "Oscar Roundtable" discussion with Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, George Clooney, Paul Haggis, and Bennett Miller. I was particularly amused by this:
SPIELBERG: I think we all have been given our marching orders ... Maybe I shouldn't get into this. [Pause] I just feel that filmmakers are much more proactive since the second Bush administration. I think that everybody is trying to declare their independence and state their case for the things that we believe in. No one is really representing us, so we're now representing our own feelings, and we're trying to strike back.

So Bush has been good for film?
SPIELBERG: I wouldn't just say Bush. The whole neo-conservative movement.

CLOONEY: Because it's polarizing. I'm not going to sit up and say, "This is how you should think." But let's at least acknowledge that there should be an open debate, and not be told that it's unpatriotic to ask questions. Steven, you're taking it from all sides right now.

The question of interest here is has George Bush been good for film. Spielberg and Clooney in particular think that yes, he has, because the 'unpopular' decisions of Bush & the neo-cons have pushed film makers to force through movies (see article) that make people think more. Okay, fine, that is their opinion. I'm curious what their definition of good is, though. If a 4 to 6 percent drop in attendance from 2004 is good, then yeah, I guess we all have to thank them for taking a stance against the evil Bush through their movies.

Get well soon, Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt

Make no mistake, reporting in Iraq is a dangerous business. I've complained in the past about reporters who refuse to leave their hotels in Iraq but I will not hold anything against those that do. ABC World News Tonight anchor and cameraman Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt were severely injured when the Iraqi patrol they were riding with was hit by an IED. They deserve credit for having the courage to go into the field and take the risk that they did. Get well soon, guys.

An embarrassed welcome and thanks

I'd like to belatedly welcome Right Wing News readers and also apologize for taking the weekend off. I'd also like to thank John Hawkins for the weekend link. He really could have ignored me for my mixed take on his blogging advice.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Massachusetts girl moved to rehab

From FOX:
<>A brain-damaged 11-year-old girl who was nearly removed from life support before she suddenly began breathing on her own was moved to a rehabilitation center Thursday.

Haleigh Poutre had been hospitalized since September with severe brain injuries that authorities say were inflicted by her stepfather and adoptive mother.

Less than two weeks ago, the state Department of Social Services won approval from the state's highest court to remove Haleigh from life support, saying she would never recover from her vegetative state. But a day later, she started showing signs of improvement, and she was weaned off her ventilator.

Now, agency officials said, Haleigh can move her eyes toward where she hears a sound.

"There's so much absolute hope now," department spokeswoman Denise Monteiro.

Who knows how much better Haleigh can get with rehab, but thankfully the state was wrong. They still need to throw the book at her father.

The Condi '08 craze

Several days ago Right Wing News surveyed some conservative bloggers on who they would most like to see take the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. The winner was Condi Rice. I understand that she is the chic pick right now, but we really know only a limited number of Condi's personal political stances. True conservative bloggers should be very nervous about that, as Condi could end up not being nearly as conservative as some might think. I'm reserving judgement on Condi until she declares her candidacy and actually starts voicing her opinions, not the administration's.

RWN's 'you suck' post

Over the year and a half that I've been actively involved in blogging, I've seen and written a lot of "blogging help" posts. The bloggers that have been around a while are usually willing to help new bloggers find their feet because they know what the newbies are going through. The easiest way to do that is with helpful recommendations posts. I can't say that I've ever seen it done the way Right Wing News did it today, though. John Hawkins writes something of a "you suck" post on how not to do things. Call it tough love or negative-positive reinforcement, but it certainly is unusual. For most newbies who actually want to learn something and not have your ego broken right off the bat, I don't think I'd recommend it.

In re the Hamas moderating hope

As I boogied around the Wisconsin blogosphere this morning, I see a lot of us are on the same page when it comes to noting that Hamas' election to power in Palistine might moderate them. I would like to add something to this discussion. Political power may moderate part of Hamas, but part of Hamas will always be militaristic and more interested in the destruction of Israel. If we do see moderation, I believe it will be because Hamas will begin to mimic Sinn Fein and the IRA in Northern Ireland/Ireland. Part of it will put up the facade of moderating politically a bit, but it will still be elbow deep in the militaristic part of Hamas.

More about the WMD to Syria theory

This should really get more exposure than it probably will (HT The Corner):
The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein's air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed.

The Iraqi general, Georges Sada, makes the charges in a new book, "Saddam's Secrets," released this week. He detailed the transfers in an interview yesterday with The New York Sun.

"There are weapons of mass destruction gone out from Iraq to Syria, and they must be found and returned to safe hands," Mr. Sada said. "I am confident they were taken over."

Mr. Sada's comments come just more than a month after Israel's top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Yaalon, told the Sun that Saddam "transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria."

Is it true? Maybe, maybe not. The General is trying to sell books. But so much has been quietly made about the probability that Iraq shipped WMD off to Syria before the war, and it never seems to get a lot of coverage in major media. I'd like to see one of our major news services do a series on it to prove or disprove it once and for all. I'm not holding my breath on that, though.

Hamas wins Palestinian election

This is not good news. I understand that the Palestinian people were frustrated with their previous governments and that this was in part a reaction to that, but this was the worst choice amongst bad choices for the Palestinians. Israel is going to need very strong leadership to come out of their next election, because they have their hands full. The only hope, and it is a very thin, small hope, is that political power has a moderating affect on Hamas, but I don't think anyone should get their hopes up.

Canada to arm border guards

Good for Canada:
A prominent member of Canada's incoming Conservative government said Wednesday the party will stand behind its promise to arm border guards, a day after guards fled their posts because two murder suspects were heading for the border from California.

Vic Toews, who will soon be a part of the government after serving as Canada's justice critic in opposition, said he did not relish the sight of Canadian border guards leaving their posts as gunmen approached.

Some unarmed guards abandoned their posts at four crossings along the British Columbia border on Tuesday when they heard the murder suspects were coming their way, said Paula Shore, a spokeswoman for the Canada Border Services Agency.

They aren't guarding much if they run away at the first sign of danger. Their border guards should be armed. They shouldn't trust us thugs to the south, anyway. ;-)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Wisconsin travelgate prediction

Just a quick prediction here on travelgate. This will never make it all the way to Governor Doyle. There are enough people between him and Georgia Thompson that somebody will fall on their sword (unless of course a smoking gun appears, which I doubt will happen). Just the same, the stink is going to stick to him.

Does the first decade of the 21st century roughly approximate the 1930's?

Occasionally you'll see an article or hear someone wonder why nobody made an effort to prevent the Holocaust. There was clear, if anecdotal and circumstantial, evidence that Germany had plans to eliminate the Jews. The reason nobody acted is because there was no will on the part of any nation to flex the muscle necessary to get Germany to halt its preparations for both WWII and the Holocaust. Contributing to that lack of will was a thick vein of anti-semitism that ran through world opinion. My fear is that history will ask the same questions of our era.

Iran is showing clear, if at times anecdotal or circumstantial, evidence that it plans to annihilate Israel with a nuclear strike. Now would be the time to prevent this, but world opinion is tinted with anti-semitism and antipathy towards Israel. The world, while concerned, also does not appear to have the will to do now what would be much more painful later, which is to eliminate Iran's nuclear threat. Must we wait until Tel Aviv or a Western city is burning under a mushroom cloud before we are willing to act?

If we will have a saving grace here, it is national self interest. Israel is in a position to take preventive actions itself this time. Unfortunately, that may be the least palatable option as it may seriously destabilize portions of the Middle East. A nuclear tipped Iran is also a significant threat to the United States, which is Iran has declared over and over to be an enemy, the "Great Satan." I'm still not sure if there is the will to go through with eliminating Iran's nuclear threat, though.

I can be very wary of "learning from history," because it is very easy to learn the wrong lessons sometimes, or to learn the right lesson but then mis-apply it to the present. In this case, though, we are probably seeing some strong parallels between the past and the present. What we do in the next year or show how much wisdom man has accumulated over 65 to 70 years.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Kanye West as Jesus

Kanye West is posing as Jesus on the cover of Rolling Stone. C'mon Kanye. The whole Jesus thing is so non-controversial now days. As some people are saying, a true cutting edge controversial star would have posed as Muhammed. Using Jesus to create the controversial PR vibe ran its course between Madonna's Like a Virgin video and the piss-Christ "art". Today chic controversy is celebrity phone video porn. Get with it, Kanye.

Border skirmish

This is just another example of why we should not have an unsecure border with Mexico:
Men in Mexican military-style uniforms crossed the Rio Grande into the United States on a marijuana-smuggling foray, leading to an armed confrontation with Texas law officers, authorities said Tuesday. No shots were fired.

The men retreated and escaped back across the border with much of the pot, though they abandoned more than a half-ton of marijuana as they fled and set fire to one of their vehicles, authorities said.

The Mexican government denied its military was involved.

Despite Mexico's denial, it is difficult to confirm whether these individuals were or were not associated with the Mexican army. Corruption is common enough that it is possible these were Mexican soldiers doing a little moonlighting.

Congratulations, Canada

Congratulations Canada on your new conservative government. I'll be one conservative American who will be sitting back and watching in the hopes that your new government delivers everything you are all hoping for, even if it still tweaks us here in the States from time to time. Also, thanks to the Canadians who have stopped by here and commented. It was great to see a few opinions from the other side of the border.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Spice boys snark

Wow. I'm beginning to think the Spice Boys should have stuck to writing columns. On a blog, they are a couple of snarky schlubs. Such is the danger of allowing your columnists to blog, I guess. You risk them losing the respect of your readers. I guess some people do need editors, after all.

Chippewa Falls pics

I promised a few highlights from the land of milk and Honey Weiss, so below you will find just a couple of the local views in Chippewa Falls.

Glen Loch

The view of Glen Loch from Irvine Park.

Irvine Park deer

The wildlife of Irvine Park in Chippewa Falls.

In heaven there is no beer...

...that's why we drink it here.

The Milwaukee 5

Ah, I missed out on the Milwaukee 5 blogstorm on Friday. Almost everything has been said by now, so here is my miniscule 2 cents. The plea bargain should have surprised no one. If anything, the fact that this ever saw the inside of a court room should. This is E. Michael McCann's legacy to Milwaukee County, and this just follows the pattern of his previous 30 years in the office. Everybody knew something like this could happen-Charlie Sykes was running an informal poll before lunch on Friday that was leaning heavily towards an acquital or hung jury. Disappointing it was, but a surprise it wasn't.

Abe Lincoln genetics

About ten to fifteen years ago, one of my great-aunts did a family tree and found out that we were descendents of Abe Lincoln's grandparents. Now that they've done some genetic research, I'm hoping it isn't this set of grandparents. If it is, I'm blaming Abe Lincoln's family for my failure to make it as a major league baseball player (or a minor leaguer, or college player...).

Damn 24

Dammit, I'm officially re-addicted. Jack Bauer only sent one bad guy to meet his maker tonight, but next week he's set up to conflict with the President. I had extricated myself from an addiction to 24 once, but here I go again. Plus I can't get enough of the 24 discussion threads. I still don't get the cult following for Chloe, though.

Back, if not yet in the swing of things

It turned out to be a "no blogging weekend," although that is common when I head back to the old homestead. I'm not yet fully into the swing of things, and I see I missed a lot of interesting local happenings (during my drive north, I lost the signal of 620 AM WTMJ before the tire slashing case had fully gone to hell in a handbasket). Until I get caught up, I'm going to offer up a little food for thought.

There were dueling abortion rallies in San Francisco this weekend, and one notable participant in the pro-choice rally had written on her pregnant belly, "My baby is pro-choice." I'm sure, if we could all communicate with a developing baby, it would be pro-choice, but pro his or her own choice, not its mom's. And I'm pretty sure that it would choose to get the hell out of its mom's womb as soon as possible to make sure she didn't take the opportunity to trump its choice with her own.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Light blogging weekend

This weekend I am going to the land of milk and Honey Weiss to celebrate the elder Jib's 53rd birthday. Since my parents have dial up (read: no wireless) and inconveniently placed phone jacks, it will be a light blogging weekend. As always, though, I will attempt to bring back pictures of the promised land.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

France...all bluster

Get a load of this:
France said on Thursday it would be ready to use nuclear weapons against any state that carried out a terrorist attack against it, reaffirming the need for its nuclear deterrent.

Deflecting criticism of France's costly nuclear arms program, President Jacques Chirac said security came at a price and France must be able to hit back hard at a hostile state's centers of power and its "capacity to act."

He said there was no change in France's overall policy, which rules out the use of nuclear weapons in a military conflict. But his speech pointed to a change of emphasis to underline the growing threat France perceives from terrorism.
Okay, so if France is threatened with anihilation during war, they won't use nukes. If, however, they came under terrorist attack, they will? That is logic that just doesn't add up-in other words, it is very French logic. Something tells me nukes are to France as $200,000 sports cars are to guys with little...nevermind.

Rumors of Bin Laden's demise have been greatly exaggerated

OBL, contrary to rumors, might be alive after all:
(Reuters) - Warning comes in audio tape, the TV network says. Bin Laden says new attacks are under preparation, Al Jazeera says. Details to follow.


The historical judgment on Iraq and Iran approaches

I was reading this Daniel Drezner post today, and I got thinking about how historians will look back on our approaches to the problems we faced in Iraq and Iran. In his piece, Drezner asserts that the way we have dealt with Iran so far is probably not discernibly different from how a President Kerry's administration would have done things. So if we say that approaches to Iraq and Iran represent the two major schools of thought out their right now on dealing with external threats, which will history look back on as being more correct and effective? It is difficult to say right now since we are still in the middle of our efforts with both countries, but I think if Iran develops and uses a nuclear weapon in the next 5-10 years, the way we handled Iraq is going to look like the better decision.

On colleges and health care

The economic models we have in place to assist people with both paying for college and health care are atrocious. In both cases, we provide the ultimate consumer with free or very low cost funds to pay for their bills. There is a compassionate reason behind this but poor economics. By increasing the inexpensive money supply to help people pay for school or health care, we create inflation in the costs of both. With a large, easy to get money supply available to them, schools and health care aren't going to leave money on the table. They are going to increase their expenditures and charge higher prices to make sure they get every penny that they can. A loose money supply is not the only contributing factor to the increasing costs of schooling and health care, but it is a major contributor. Once the consumer feels like they aren't playing with their own money, they stop questioning the price, and once they stop questioning the price, organizations stop feeling pressure to keep their prices low and their operations efficient and cost effective, and we all sit back and wonder how college or health care became so unaffordable.

Taking personal responsibility for Republicans

We conservatives have been whining a hell of a lot about some of our Republican leaders at the Federal and State levels lately. Some of them have shown ethical lapses, others have strayed from the conservative values they were originally elected on. We've gone on and on about it, but we've really accomplished little. They make little moves to quiet us down and then go right back to doing what pissed us off to begin with. Despite our complaining, I'm not sure we are accomplishing a lot.

As I see it, we really have two choices. We can be pragmatic conservatives, working off of the motto, "Yeah, they're asshats, but they're our asshats." That means putting politics above conservatism. After all, the majorities in our State and Federal legislative bodies are important if we want to accomplish any of our goals. Our alternate choice is to be "conviction" conservatives. In other words, we can apply the conservative value of personal responsibility to ourselves when it comes to Republican representatives who fail to represent us. Yes, those elected Republicans are doing stupid things, but we put them there, and we can bring them home. This isn't without its perils. Convinction on personal responsibility means backing, supporting, and volunteering for stronger conservative candidates who can defeat tarnished Republicans and/or RINOs in primaries while sending a message to the party that we won't support the incumbent. These primary fights inevitably mean that Republicans will lose seats in legislatures, though, because they will weaken whichever Republican wins.

The majority of us right now are trying to walk somewhere in between "pragmatic" and "conviction" conservatism, myself included. We can complain from the middle all we want, but it isn't going to accomplish much. Yeah, the subjects of our ire will make little concessions to us, but once we are quieted down, they'll be back to business as usual We either resign ourselves to the nature of politics and accept that more often than not, most Republican representatives will not be as conservative as we'd like while also working to raise the stature of solid conservatives, or we actually take personal responsibility for the less than conservatives we've elected and do something about it. Otherwise, get used to a whole lot more of the same in coming years. Such is the business of being the majority.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Is Hillary really unbeatable?

According to Insight (HT TAM), White House strategists think she is unbeatable for 2008 and are trying to convince the President of that fact. The story is based completely on anonymous GOP sources so it is tough to put a lot of stock into it, but if that is the case, the President should get some new advisors.

Hillary Clinton is not a sure thing for the Presidency in 2008. She isn't even a sure thing for her own party's nomination in 2008. Hillary's supporters are loud and passionate, and I think that is why it appears that she has enough momentum to be a sure thing, but she doesn't have solid backing from the left. If you go to some of the harder left liberal blogs and message boards, you'll see that she does not have a great deal of support from the far left. In fact, I'd say that there is a certain amount of amnity towards her on the far left because she hasn't been anti-war enough for their tastes. It is going to take something radical on her part to get the far left to come behind her in force, and she will need the far left because they drive the Democratic party today. Her current support seems to be strongest with the standard Democrat, but she could risk that if she goes to far to appeal to the far left. And as much as she attempts to triangulate, I think she'll be susceptible to losing moderate Democrats if Republicans were to choose their candidate wisely.

Then there is what I'll call Hillary's "Tammy Wynette" trait, to coin a term. She has a habit of occasionally spitting out something that is out of rhythm with a lot of American people. As Ariana Huffington noted yesterday, Hillary has a tin ear that leads her into situations Bill Clinton never would have gotten into. When everybody starts gearing up for the presidential race in late 2007, Hillary will live with cameras in her face. She is going to have ample opportunity to show off that tin ear, and I fully expect her to do so. I also expect that it could derail her efforts to even get the nomination.

Saying that anyone is a sure bet for the presidency almost 3 years before the election even takes place is foolish, especially if that person is Hillary Clinton. Is she a big threat at this point to win the job? Certainly. She has her issues she has to deal with, though, and is anything but a lock.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Why would Russia want a nuclear Iran?

That is the question asked at GOP Bloggers. The answer is pretty simple. Russia is sliding back towards its old Soviet and imperialist ways. Putin does not really see the United States or Europe as friends but potential adversaries. Still, Russia is not strong enough right now to threaten either Europe or the United States, but they do think they can control the uncontrollable-Iran. Think in old Soviet terms. Iran is the agent state that Russia thinks it can control, and they plan to use Iran to keep the west tied up, marginally increasing Russia's strength against and influence with the west. Of course, they'll play both sides against the middle so as not to appear to be doing all of this but make no mistake, they are.

Title corrected.

Fill us in, Hillary

On Martin Luther King Day, Hillary Clinton said that the House of Representatives "has been run like a plantation, and you know what I'm talking about..." She spoke these words to a black audience at a Baptist Church.

Actually Hillary, I don't know what you mean. I'd appreciate it if you would elaborate on your analogy in detail. Please, when you explain, stand closer to the microphone, please.

Arianna Huffington gets it right on this one. Especially about Hillary's tin ear. That's why I wouldn't be surprised if Hillary has her own, more subdued Dean moment during the 2008 Presidential primaries.

Strange twist of the internet fates

This is an odd twist of the internet fates. I checked my Sitemeter today and found that I had a visit that came via a Google search for "picture of a turd". Dennis York posted a picture of poo at his blog, yet Jiblog is currently the #6 search result at Google for "picture of a turd" thanks to this post. It somehow seems unfair. Still, I'd like to welcome all of you poo picture perusers to Jiblog.

Random academia thought

Irony, thy name is academia.  Today’s academia revels in its rabble rousing past, particularly its dissent during the Vietnam War.  It also romanticizes the free exchange of ideas.  But in today’s universities, speech codes are common, ideas are only welcome if they fit into a liberal orthodoxy, and dissent is most unwelcome.  Do the professors of today not understand that they have turned higher learning into a liberal version of the academic structure they so rebelled against thirty to forty years ago? 


I consider myself fortunate.  I thought I was a liberal for most of my college years.  I espoused some views that, in hindsight, were quite conservative though.  I by and large avoided trouble by quickly learning how far I could and could not push individual professors (I still earned myself a little trouble).  Only God knows how much trouble I’d have gotten myself into during my college years if it weren’t for my naïveté and a little common sense.

Conservative Canada?

It looks like Canada could be well on its way to tossing out its Liberal government in favor of a conservative Tory majority government. If that occurs, I'd caution anyone against thinking that this will be a boon to Canadian & American relations. A new conservative government in Canada will be the Canadian voters' response to corruption and scandal on the part of the Liberal party. Much of the Canadian public (especially in the east) still remains to the left of Americans, and a conservative government will likely understand and reflect this. Still, should it occur, I think we can expect a small improvement of relations.

"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy

Happy 300th birthday, Benjamin Franklin. I'll gladly tip one back in your honor tonight.

Hooked again

I'm hooked on 24 again. Part way through season three I gave up on it. Then they opened season 5 with four hours of action over two nights, and I decided to tune back in. While I don't exactly understand the cult following that Chloe seems to have (Rush Limbaugh has called her his favorite character), I'm right back where I was in season two-committed to 20 more episodes of Jack Bauer.

An ounce of internal dissent the best medicine

Mark Steyn might be on to something here:
The majority of Iran's population is younger than the revolution: whether or not they're as "pro-American" as is sometimes claimed, they have no memory of the Shah; all they've ever known is their ramshackle Islamic republic where the unemployment rate is currently 25 per cent. If war breaks out, those surplus young men will be in uniform and defending their homeland.

Why not tap into their excess energy right now? As the foreign terrorists have demonstrated in Iraq, you don't need a lot of local support to give the impression (at least to Tariq Ali and John Pilger) of a popular insurgency. Would it not be feasible to turn the tables and upgrade Iran's somewhat lethargic dissidents into something a little livelier? A Teheran preoccupied by internal suppression will find it harder to pull off its pretensions to regional superpower status.

Who else could we stir up? Well, did you see that story in the Sunday Telegraph? Eight of the regime's border guards have been kidnapped and threatened with decapitation by a fanatical Sunni group in Iranian Baluchistan. I'm of the view that the Shia are a much better long-term bet as reformable Muslims, but given that there are six million Sunni in Iran and that they're a majority in some provinces, would it not be possible to give the regime its own Sunni Triangle?

Destabilization is never a very paletable option in international relations for the West. The West prefers stability as it offers predictability. Also, there is no guarentee that the destabilization of Iran would work, or even get off the ground. I remember an article from about a year ago where some Iranian young adults where quoted as saying that they wished the American troops had gone through Iraq and kept going into Iran. To me, that says that while Iran's youth may not like their current regime, they don't have much interest in taking things into their own hands, either. Still, this idea of Steyn's may be the best option available to the West when it comes to restraining Iran's nuclear threats.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Golden Globes

Wow, Hollywood is predictable. If you apply Hollywood stereotypes to each award category at the Golden Globes, you would have gotten your prediction correct about 90% of the time. See the results here.

Terrible way to go

Ugh, this is a terrible way to die:
An airplane mechanic was killed Monday morning after he was sucked into a jet's engine while passengers were boarding from the tarmac, officials said.

What a horrible accident.

Iraq-terrorism links

If you want to know more about links between Iraq and terrorism, W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a good read this morning.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Missing but not missing reporter saved

Phil Sands is a lucky guy. He is a British freelance reporter who has gone to Iraq multiple times to cover the war. During his most recent visit, he was kidnapped. The only problem is that nobody even knew he was missing. Sands' lucky day came when American troops broke into the house where he was being kept to arrest his kidnappers, but not for kidnapping him. It seems the American troops' actions were independent of his kidnapping, and they seemed surprised to find him. Sands will probably not get a homecoming wrought with emotion when he gets back to Britain, as his parents did not have to live with the knowledge that their son was missing, but he is quite lucky to be alive.

Joh Keegan on Iran

British historian John Keegan weighs in on the Iran issue at the Telegraph. Keegan does a great job of outlining the problems the west faces at every turn, but he does bring much to the table when it comes to solutions. One of the biggest problems in dealing with Iran is that everyone is focused on the pitfalls. The pitfalls are always going to be there, and the discussion needs to turn to how to navigate them.

Is the next great war almost upon us?

In July I had shared my concerns that we may be in a restless period that precedes a great war, much like the situations the world faced in the 20 or so years prior to World War I. I also posted a Winston Churchill quote that is very applicable to our present and future. My concern about where we might be headed was very high in July. It is even higher now. There seem to be some indications that Europe and the United States do not have the will to remove the nuclear threat in Iran before it comes to full fruition. This is scary because Iran does not have the same outlook on life that the west does. Because of that, mutually assured destruction will not be able to prevent a nuclear exchange originating in Iran. If you don't think we live in a perilous age, go to the Telegraph and read historian Niall Ferguson's "The orgins of the Great War of 2007, and how it could have been prevented." Feguson applies a historian's mind to current events, and writes a fictional account that looks back on our current situation.

I know many Iraq War opponents will want to jump in here and somehow make this about Iraq. It isn't, and by trying to tie the two together, you may be obfuscating the one chance that exists to prevent a nuclear war started by Iran. If anything, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have given the United States the perfect platform to prevent Iran's nuclear ambitions from ever getting off the ground. Ambitions which, I might add, precede 9-11. History seems to be working against that, though. The anti-war movement's growth since the Vietnam Era has made this country politcally weary when it comes to the wise preventative use of warfare. Taking on Iran would be problematic and messy, and it does not appear that the United States will have the will to do this without the support of Europe, and Europe doesn't have the will for anything that cannot be cleanly completed in a 35 hour work week. History may look back on this as the world's latest failure to prevent what will seem in hindsight to be inevitable.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Life's great questions

How does one dispose of a garbage can?

Humvee armor an issue. Again

The media might be restarting its obsession with Humvee armor again. The AP has a story about soldiers who are innovating ways to keep their Humvees safe from IEDs. I applaud American soldiers for being some of the most innovative and creative soldiers the world has ever seen in the field. Unfortunately, the one thing the media never seems to understand is that no vehicle, be it a Jeep, a Humvee, a tank, a plane, or a ship of war, is ever completely safe for a soldier. You can armor a Humvee to the point that it will only go 15 miles an hour and get about 1000 feet to the gallon, but if hit with enough explosives, I assure you it and anyone in it will be destroyed.

The Humvee is a great military vehicle, but it may not be the best vehicle for the type of warfare we are fighting in Iraq. New vehicles cannot be designed, tested, and mass produced overnight, though, and soldiers and the military have done an admirable job of adjusting to the enemy and modifying the Humvee to offer added protection to its inhabitants. New vehicles, such as The Rock, are being designed to address the problems facing vehicles like the Humvee. As long as there is war, though, our enemies will find a way to circumvent the protections of an armored vehicle. Being a soldier in theater is a dangerous job, and the risks to life and limb can never be fully negated. The best you can ask of the soldiers and the military is to adjust to threats in order to better protect soldiers. That is being done. You cannot expect the military to find a way to place an impenetrable bubble around soldiers because those would be expectations that can never be met.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Glow in the dark pigs-no big deal

Hmm. Taiwanese scientists have bred glow in the dark pigs. I'm not impressed. If they can only engineer naturally honey smoked pigs. Then I'll be impressed. HT Boots & Sabers.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, kinda near Garden Grove and Orange, not to mention Santa Ana, in California, official team of John Wayne airport

The city of Anaheim is suing Major League Baseball's Angels for changing their name from the Anaheim Angels to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The city had contracted with Disney, the former owner of the Angels, to use the city's name in the team name as well as on merchandise. The team's new owner, in an effort to expand the Angels' reach into nearby L.A., changed the name. The city is claiming that they are losing hundreds of millions of dollars in the name change.

I was in L.A. and Anaheim last year around this time, and billboards for Angels season tickets were all over the place. I sympathize with the owner's attempt to increase the Angels visibility in the Southern California/greater Los Angeles market, but I think the city has a strong case. Personally, I hope the judge strikes a compromise-returning to the only name that sounds right-the California Angels.

Flight 93

On April 28th, the story of Flight 93 will be coming to a theater near you. At this early stage, it sounds like it will be a respectful portrayal. The movie will be in real time-the 90 minutes of the movie will portray events from take off through to the flight's crash in Pennsylvania. Early talk about the flick is positive, so keep your eye out for it.

From the 'bad idea' files

I can't help but think that, while there are excellent individual teachers out there, the overall quality of teachers is at an all time low. Here is another example of a teacher who does something stupid:

A high school research assignment on Internet pornography was canceled after parents in this Cleveland suburb complained.

Superintendent Jeff Lampert said that although the teacher's apparent goal _ to discuss the harmful effects of pornography _ was well- intentioned, he agreed with parents that the assignment was inappropriate for 14- and 15-year-old freshmen at Brooklyn High.

The teacher is going to get away with this without facing any punishment. The assignment was to research pornography on the internet, list 8 facts, and share their personal feelings and experiences with it. Think about that for a moment. Researching pornography on the net. I dare anyone out there to research porn on the net without happening upon many pages that are supposed to be restricted to those over 18 years of age. And asking 14 and 15 year olds to share their personal experiences with porn? Come on. What kind of a teacher makes this assignment? It is an a assignment that might be appropriate in a University setting. It is completely inappropriate at the secondary level.

This story dove tails with John Stossel's Stupid in America on 20/20 tonight.

I am Dennis York

Background for national readers.

Trees: A leading source of global warming

From the Financial Times:
But now it seems we need to think again. In a discovery that has left climate scientists gasping, researchers have found that the earth's vegetation is churning out vast quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent even than CO2. This is not a product of trees and plants rotting, which everyone already knew was a source of methane; it is an entirely natural side-effect of plant growth that scientists had somehow missed. Yet it is by no means trivial: preliminary estimates suggest that living trees and plants account for about 10 to 30 per cent of the methane entering the atmosphere.

(Tongue in cheek alert!) This means two things. First, thank goodness all those rainforests were cleared or we'd be living on a mini sun right now. Second, clear cutting is good after all!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Vampire runs for Governor in Minnesota

Leave it to Minnesota to have some of the wackiest gubernatorial races in the nation. There are no professional wrestlers in the race yet, but there is a satanic vampire who has thrown his hat in the ring. The Star Trib picks up the story:
Take a gander at Jonathon (The Impaler) Sharkey, who will launch his gubernatorial campaign in Princeton, Minn., on Friday the 13th as a "satanic dark priest" and the leader of the "Vampyres, Witches and Pagans Party."

I don't know how well received Sharkey will be by Minnesota Lutherans, but if a satanic vampire can win anywhere, it would be Minnesota. We probably shouldn't laugh too hard, though. He plans to run for President in '08.

(By the way, if you want a real treat, go to the article and click on the link to his campaign site.)

Must read of the day

Der Spiegel has the must read of the day. The article is about a possible growing split between al Qaeda and native insurgents. A snippet:
"The tribes are fed up with Al Qaeda and they will not tolerate any more," said a senior Iraqi intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The intelligence official confirmed reports that a Sunni tribe in Samarra had tried and executed Qaeda members for their role in assassinating a local sheik.

"It was a beautiful mistake," the intelligence official said of the sheik's assassination by Al Qaeda. "Now the tribes will kill Al Qaeda. Now they have the courage."
The article provides a deeper background and understanding of what may be going on in Iraq on the streets.

Alito hearings dull

I was a little bit riveted by the Roberts hearings last year, but so far I've been bored by the Alito hearings. The Democrats don't seem to have much on him, and it is almost as if this is theatrics for their base thus far. I'll gladly defend Alito if the situation warrants it, but I'm not sure if it will be necessary.

I want a meteorite sword

I've decided that if I ever find a large meteorite, I'm going to spend obscene amounts of money to have it turned into a sword. I say this with much swagger knowing that I'll probably never have to put my money where my mouth is, but should I ever have to, I will. I may be a fragile human, but my ego would live on forever if I owned a sword from the heavens. Jibcalibur sounds like a nice name for it.

Damn that History Channel for planting these frivolous ideas in my mind.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Would be Bush assassin sentenced to life

The man who tried to kill President Bush during a Bush trip to the former Soviet republic of Georgia has been sentenced to life for the attempt an also for killing a police officer. I don't think much of America know how close we came to having one of those terrible days in American history on May 10, 2005.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Welcome back, sunshine

After 17 straight cloudy days, it was nice to have the sun back today. Hopefully it won't be as scarce over the next 17 days.

Mouse didn't start the fire/It was always burning/since the world's been turning

Remember the story this week about the mouse that burned down the house? It didn't happen.
A small -town rumor that sparked world -wide interest about a mouse burning down a house has been found to be untrue.After 81-year-old Chano Mares's house burned down Saturday in Fort Sumner, news services picked up the quirky story."Flaming Mouse Burns Down House" read the headline over an Associated Press story that appeared on WSBTV.com, for example.According to the initial report, Mares threw the critter in a pile of burning leaves near his home, but it ran back to the house on fire.A local firefighter said the mouse ran to just beneath a window and the flames spread up the window and throughout the house.All contents of the home were destroyed, but no one was injured.Interest in fires has been high lately. Unseasonably dry and windy conditions have charred more than 53,000 acres and destroyed 10 homes in southeastern New Mexico in recent weeks.The mouse story, however, has been doused by Mares."It's really humorous more than anything that a mouse burned down the house," he told KOAT-TV in Albuquerque. The mouse was dead when it hit the burning leaves.Mares said he trapped and killed the critter and tossed it on the fire.The flames, he said, probably reached his house because they were driven by high winds.

Ya know, if you ignore enough stories, sooner or later one is proven false and you can crow that you knew it was too good to be true, even if you were just too lazy to write about it.

Lesson 1 in bird flu prevention

I'm starting an occasional series on bird flu prevention. With that, Lesson 1 in bird flu prevention: Don't kiss chickens in Turkey.
Sumeyya Mamuk considered the chickens in her backyard to be beloved pets. The 8-year-old girl fed them, petted them and took care of them. When they started to get sick and die, she hugged them and tenderly kissed them goodbye. The next morning, her face and eyes were swollen and she had a high fever. Her father took her to a hospital, and five days later she was confirmed to have the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.
Kids, don't kiss chickens.

UNICEF: Whoa, Belfonte said what? Belafonte who?

Heh. You know you've stuck your foot 3/4 of the way down your digestive track when UN organizations distance themselves from you:
The U.N. children's agency said singer Harry Belafonte was speaking as a private citizen, not a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, when he called President Bush "the greatest terrorist in the world."

The 78-year-old Belafonte, famous for his calypso-inspired music, made headlines during a trip to Venezuela when he spoke out against Bush and said millions of Americans support the socialist revolution of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF said in a statement that Belafonte — a UNICEF goodwill ambassador since 1987 — made the comments "as a private citizen and was not speaking as a UNICEF ambassador, nor acting in an official capacity on behalf of the organization."

I think that is a big oops, Harry. Even your sympathizers won't back that one. Enjoy Venezuela, big guy. Try to say hi to some of those citizens Hugo Chavez doesn't want you to see.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Rappin' Kim Jong Il

This the picture of Kim Jong Il currently up at Drudge:Will the Real Slim Shady please stand up?

Feminists' navel gaze

While American feminists continue to rant and rave about how bad they have it here in the United States, they continue to avert their gaze from those areas of the world where women actually do have it pretty damn bad. There is almost complete silence on the topic of honor killings and the repression of muslim women in the Middle East and Europe. They make no mention of the fact that millions of female babies are either killed or aborted in China because they are not males. And now that we learn the Chinese model of 'eliminating' female babies is the prefered method of female population control in India as well, I doubt we'll hear a peep about that from American feminists, either. Apparently American women are the only ones deserving of an even playing field in the world.

Feminists, you've come a long way in America. How about you start helping your international sisters who really do have it bad?

Blogroll update

I'm over due for a blogroll update here at Jiblog, but I just spent a couple of hours on the Badger Blog Alliance template, and I don't think I'll be getting around to it immediately. There are a number of great new bloggers that I read regularly, and I'll eventually get you all up here.


Patrick and Kevin both note the humor in Ted Kennedy naming his dog Splash and then "co-authoring" a children's book with Splash. I'd bet dollars to donuts that this book was ghost written for Kennedy, and if so I want to shake that ghost writer's hand.

Voice of reason on bird flu

It pays to learn more about something before you panic:
As bird flu cases rise at a disturbing pace in Turkey, new research offers a bit of hope — it's likely that many people who get it don't become seriously ill and quickly recover.

Although not definitive, the new study suggests the virus is more widespread than thought. But it also probably doesn't kill half its victims, a fear based solely on flu cases that have been officially confirmed.

"The results suggest that the symptoms most often are relatively mild and that close contact is needed for transmission to humans," wrote Dr. Anna Thorson of Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm and colleagues who conducted the study. It was published in Monday's edition of Archives of Internal Medicine.

The results need to be confirmed with blood tests, but if true this would mean the bird flu would be much more like most other flus people get.

Uncorroborated but interesting

From Michael Ledeen at NRO this morning:
And, according to Iranians I trust, Osama bin Laden finally departed this world in mid-December. The al Qaeda leader died of kidney failure and was buried in Iran, where he had spent most of his time since the destruction of al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The Iranians who reported this note that this year's message in conjunction with the Muslim Haj came from his number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, for the first time.

Interesting if true.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Bird flu part deux

I'd like to be a calming voice on this bird flus thing again. There is some concern growing out of this Times of London story which, as Hugh Hewitt notes, claims that there are dozens of cases of human infections in Turkey right now. A little information from deeper in the article is called for:
So far it appears that the disease has been contracted only through direct contact with fowl, but the extensive human exposure to infected birds in eastern Turkey has given rise to concern that an even more infectious mutant strain could emerge. (emphasis mine)

Let's separate facts from conjecture. Known cases of the bird flu look to have been contracted through direct contact with fowl. Many more cases are being treated as possible bird flu infections. At this time we do not know if they are bird flu and/or how the cases were contracted. Let's not jump the gun just yet. Given the existance of the bird flu in Turkey, it is a very good thing that they are questioning whether some bad cases of flu are the bird flu. This does not mean that they are, and given the apparently high incidence of human-chicken interaction in Turkey, even if they are they may not be human to human cases. Remember, preparation may help you in the future, but worrying about what you can't control will not.

Mistaken identity or A near brush with a higher being

Ann Althouse has a doppelganger. The lovely Mrs. Jib and I enjoyed one of our favorite dates today-an evening at a Borders book store in Madison. I quickly found my haul for the day, picked out a table in the cafe, and went to stand in line for a cup of joe. As I was standing, my mind pondering the mysteries of a $2 coffee, a woman walked between myself and the woman in front of me, bumping me slightly. Perturbed, I looked up and swore that it was Ann Althouse. I got my coffee and went back to the table, which was conveniently situated so I could study this Ann-like person without seeming to be a stalker. I had her blog picture in my mind, and I was comparing features as best I could. At one point I even thought about walking over and just asking the woman, but in the end the photo analysis software in my brain determined that it was not her.

This lead to a couple of thoughts on my part. First, if I saw another blogger in public, one who I had never met nor really ever interacted with, would I introduce myself? The answer for me is decidedly no-I'd go home and write about how I thought I may have seen blogger x or blogger y :-). Secondly, how would I react if someone somehow recognized me from the two poor photos of myself that I've posted here and introduced themselves? I think I'd be flattered and creeped out. Thirdly, how would I feel if I were sitting in a cafe, minding my own business, and someone came up to me and asked if I were James Wigderson of Wigderson Library and Pub? To the third question, I decided that I'd politely say yes and charge $10 for an autograph.

Blogging cuts

I've resolved myself to start reading books more. Prior to starting this blog, I used to be a pretty avid book reader. In an effort to make this the best site that I could, I let my book reading fall to the wayside while I greatly increased my intake of news and opinion. I went from reading many books in a year to a few that I could finish during the course of my business trips (flying does wonders for your ability to sit down and really crank through a book). Unfortunately, I have a huge backlog of books that I've purchased with every good intention of reading but haven't. Today I added about 1300 plus pages to that list when I bought 1776, Hell in a Very Small Place, and The Last Valley. The latter two books were recommended to me when GBfan (formerly of the blog Spottedhorse) at the Badger Blog Alliance Christmas party. I'm very anxious to read these three books, and I'm going to find the time to do a little everyday. Still, the blog is important to me, so I doubt I'll ever devour books the way the lovely Mrs. Jib does because it will still get my full attention. In 2005, she read 92 books (yes, she keeps count.

Making an exception in order to explain

For the record, in order to write this post, I had to slam my hands in a door. I'm using the old humorous theory that the only way to ignore one pain is by introducing a greater pain. The pain that I'm trying to ignore is that I'm about to write a post on Eugene Kane.

Kane has a new blog, and he was smart enough to realize that if he wanted traffic, it was best to antagonize. Now everyone on the right side of the Wisconsin blogosphere seems to be writing about Kane and his new blog. I guess it is only appropriate that Kane's blog antagonizes, because that's all he is really good at, antagonizing. I've read Kane for quite a while now, and I used to get upset at many to most of his columns. Over time I learned that Kane isn't really about helping his community through his writing, though. Kane is about getting attention through antagonizing and that's it. That's why I have an unofficial policy of not giving him the time of day at this blog. Giving him the attention rewards him, and I hate rewarding Eugene Kane, even if I only send one new reader his way. Out of good blogging etiquette, I'm going to toss a link his way. After that, I'll be done with Kane for another 8-10 months (the frequency with which I refer to him at this site.)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Dont point at the creature

A friend and I have discovered that we can revert to our to our childhood quite easily with air soft products. This past summer we indulged our inner 8 year olds' desire to inflict non-lethal pain upon each other with 250 feet per second of plastic pellet goodness. You'll have to trust me on this one (especially my female readers), but the experience was hilarious. Over Christmas, we decided that the sting of 250 fps was not sufficient, so we amped up our arsenals with 350 fps shotguns. My friend has different models of airsoft guns than I, but below is an example of what we are are using.
Despit the long lead in, the fun of stinging your friend with an air soft gun is not what this post is about. No, this post is about the business that Asian manufacturers should be outsourcing to us-warning labels. This evening I was doing some minor maintenance on the above toys when I saw for the first time the warning label on the handgun. Here's a little closer look.

"Dont point at the creature." Sufficient enough for me, but I couldn't help but chuckle when I read it.

It's back.

After a respite from bird flu news over Christmas and New Year's, the usual sources are back at it, including Glenn Reynolds. Glenn loves to toss in a terrifying little nugget everytime he posts on the bird flu, and he does it again here. I've said it once, and I'll say it a thousand more times. It is good for us all to be prepared for the worst, but this is being covered irrationally and irresponsibly by many. That leads to fear, which can only make a potential bird flu outbreak worse.

An observation

The lovely Mrs. Jib calls the History Channel "the Nazi network." I think she may need to change that to "the 9-11 network." Mercy, they play a lot of 9-11 related programing now.

3 arrested in terror plot against the U.S.

Did you know know that three terrorists were arrested in Italy, in part because they were involved in a plot to attack the U.S. worse than we were attacked on 9/11? Me neither, and they were arrested over 2 weeks ago. I had to find out via Powerline via RedState via TurkishPress.com. The U.S. media paid next to no attention to this story. I continue in my belief that our priorities are way out of whack in this country right now, and it starts with the media.

Try doing a Yahoo News or Google News search on the name of one of those suspected of this plot, Yasmine Bourhama. You'll get nothing from Yahoo News, and one hit from a South African paper with the Google News search.

Teachers who have sex at school

Sean at TAM brings us the story of two teachers in Pennsylvania who were caught having sex in a classroom. Now that the school district is considering firing the two, the teachers' union claims they don't have the authority to do so. This story brings up a small scandal from my own high school years. A couple of months before I graduated from high school in 1994, our principal and an English teacher were caught having sex in the nurse's office. Back then, the principal resigned because he was in a position of authority over the English teacher. The English teacher kept her job. It never made the news, so it begs the question how often this sort of thing occurs and just gets covered up. In my high school's case, when it was reported in the local paper that the principal had resigned, the town was told that he resigned in order to partake in counseling for alcoholism. He may have been getting treatment, but that wasn't what lead to the resignation.

The poor design of our Interstate system

I've been thinking a lot about the Interstate system and traffic congestion lately. When the Interstate system was planned and built, it brought the Interstates close to urban centers. At the time, that only made sense. After all, if you are using this vast network of freeways for commerce, then they have to service the commerce centers. Unfortunately for us today and into the future, this design was incredibly short sighted. It did not account for economic and population growth that would strain the Interstates in urban areas. The Interstate system should have been made up of two components. The first component would have been long range highways that widely bypass the nation's big cities. These long range freeways would allow urban areas the space to grow while quickly moving the longer range point to point traffic. The second component of the Interstate should have been feeder freeways that served urban areas. These feeder freeways would handle the bulk of local traffic in urban areas. By largely segregating local and non-local traffic onto separate highways, the system would allow commerce to move more quickly from point to point and decrease the pressure on urban freeways. They tried to correct for this with bypasses, but in most cities the bypasses have become as muc a part of the local traffic as the highways that entered the cities. The long range point to point Interstate highways should also have been subject to tolls in heavily populated areas that were unavoidable while keeping the feeder highways free. This system certainly would have been more expensive to build but I think it would have paid economic dividends in the long run. Unfortunately, hindsight is 20-20, and any attempt to adjust the Interstate system now to allow for this segregated traffic would be hugely expensive. It does lead me to wonder if Texas has the right idea when it comes to their plan to build a private toll expressway to facilitate shipping traffic through the state.

Duke was wired

Get ready for election year chaos. The Abramoff mess was already poised to create an election year headache, but now Time is reporting that Duke Cunningham wore a wire prior to pleading guilty to taking bribes. If we get the leaders we deserve, then we apparently aren't deserving of much here in the United States. At a time when we need to be diligent in watching the external threats to our future as a nation (Terrorism, Iran, Korea, China, Russia, etc.) we are going to be consumed by an internal scandal that was entirely avoidable if many of our Congressional leaders had ethics.

Good news Trojan fans

I have good news for all of you USC Trojan fans out there. If you go to Haiti, you just may be able to get 2005 USC National Championship apparel. Heh.

PSA: Deadly dog & cat food recall

If you own a brand of dog or cat food made by Diamond, Professional, or Country Value, don't feed it to your pet until you've checked out the recall on 19 brands. The recall mostly affects the southeast and eastern portions of the country, but it is better to be safe than sorry. There is a toxin in certain lots of the food that will destroy your pets liver, killing it. Many dogs have refused to eat the toxic food but have been tricked into doing so by owners who did not know the food was deadly.

Are the guns deadly or the people?

From FOX:
A farmer angry over a court ruling set off a bomb in a Chinese courthouse, killing himself and four other people, a news report said Saturday.
As it turns out, this isn't all that uncommon in China.
Bomb attacks motivated by grudges or business disputes are common in China, where most gun ownership is banned but explosives are widely available for mining and construction. (Emphasis mine).
This is what most in anti-gun crowd never understand. People who kill are going to kill regardless of what they have to use to do so. No guns? They'll use bombs or fire or knives-whatever works in that situation. Even if the anti-gun crowd were succesful in taking guns away from responsible citizens and criminals, the criminals would still find a way to kill, and some of those methods of murder-like bombs-are even more deadly than guns. At least with guns legal, and legal to carry by responsible citizens, society has a reasonable way of protecting itself from its criminal element and possibly preventing violent gun crime.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Bork alert

Drudge is reporting that Democrats plan an all out Borking of Samuel Alito in an effort to derail his nomination to the Supreme Court:
Senate Democrats have put into place a plan that includes one last push to take down the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito as he heads into his confirmation hearing next week, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Senate Democrats intend to zero in on Alito’s alleged enthusiastic membership to an organization, they will charge, that was sexist and racist!
According to Drudge, they are going to try to smear Alito by association, not by anything Alito did or said. If it occurs, it will be a typical last minute Democratic smear job. Unfortunately, they tend to be effective even if they are weak.

Shame on me for not going through my entire reading list before posting on this. I guess this is dead already.

Drudge Flash: Democrats Plan to Destroy Alito

"Biggest Loser" contests

"The Biggest Loser" has been a solid ratings winner for NBC, and it has developed a solid following. On the one hand, I admire the show for being an inspiration to a lot of other people who would like to lose weight. On the other hand, I also think it sets those viewers up with some faulty expectations about weight loss. The contestants have personal trainers, they get healthy meals and training on how to eat healthy, and they have very few real life distractions while learning how to be healthier. It is a much slower process for the average person.

Given the above, I'm curious if anyone knows of any independent "Biggest Loser" contests that are popping up. I'm familiar with one. In these freelanced contests, a group of people will get together and chip money into a pot. At the end of 6 or 8 weeks, the three biggest losers share varying percentages of the prize money. I'm curious to see if these take off, and if they do, how successful the participants are at losing weight.

Khaddam to Syria: Oust Assad

This is interesting. Former Syrian VP Abdel-Halim Khaddam is advocating the ouster of Assad:
Former Syrian vice president Abdel-Halim Khaddam is trying to rally opposition parties to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad, according to an interview published in a leading Arabic newspaper on Friday.

In an interview with Asharq al-Awsat from his home in Paris, Khaddam said he was trying to "create the right atmosphere for the Syrian people to topple the regime."

I don't think you can consider a long time aide to any Assad a friend of freedom (Khaddam was an aide to Assad's father), so this says volumes about how bad things are in Syria right now. It also may be a little opportunistic. Khaddam claims to not be interested in the Syrian Presidency, but denial of ambition is not an uncommon act.

Jiblog supports a potential Chicago bid for the 2016 Olympics

I'm going to go on the record now as being fully supportive of a Chicago bid for the 2016 Olympics. Although I infrequently get there, I enjoy visiting Chicago. I'd look forward to attending a world class event there, and I think it would showcase the entire Milwaukee-Chicago corridor. Also, and I known some of my conservative bretheren will roll their eyes at this, a regional effort would create infrastructure that would tie the region more tightly together and economically benefit the entire area. I think Milwaukee can only benefit from closer ties with its neighbor to the south, and the bulk of the investment in this instance would be made by Chicago and the State of Illinois.

Follow up on sex offender case

Back in August I wrote about my irritation with Wisconsin's sexual offender program. The source of my irritation was a known sex offender who lives in my neighborhood, a neighborhood quite close to an elementary school and an offender that I had seen outside having unsupervised contact with kids. Today I was gratified to learn that local authorities did something about this. The local paper (no link) reported that the sex offender, who'd been convicted of three counts of 1st degree sexual assault of a child, and his wife have been charged with "child sex offender working with children as party to a crime." The article did not go into great depth, but I've gleaned that the wife was running some sort of childcare from their home. I hope that they are both found guilty and given stiff sentences.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pat Robertson is an idiot

It seems that every month or so the right has to disavow Pat Robertson even though it is only a very small niche that considers him aleader. Right on schedule, Robertson attributes Ariel Sharon's stroke to God's wrath for splitting the Holy Land. Shut up already, Pat.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Getting on the York poo-blogging bandwagon

Who would have thought that posting a picture of a turd would would garner as much attention around Wisconsin as Dennis York's "Why Won't the Mainstream Media Cover my Turd?" post did? Fortunately, I'm not too proud to follow the path York has blazed, so in an attempt to live off of his crumbs, I too am going to post a picture of a turd. Enjoy.

Photo via JSOnline.

Word of advice to President Bush

Mr. President, please avoid nominating anyone for any position if they (or their family) are your friend and their name rhymes with criers.

Prevent ice cream headaches and other tips

Who knows if any of these things actually work, but MSN Health & Fitness has an article on some cool things you can do with your own body. An example:
When you were 9, playing your armpit was a cool trick. Now, as an adult, you can still appreciate a good body-based feat, but you're more discriminating. Take that tickle in your throat; it's not worth gagging over. Here's a better way to scratch your itch: "When the nerves in the ear are stimulated, it creates a reflex in the throat that can cause a muscle spasm," says Scott Schaffer, M.D., president of an ear, nose and throat specialty center in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. "This spasm relieves the tickle."
18 Tricks to Teach Your Body.


Charlie Sykes is cleaning up his blogroll. Hopefully my 87 umlauts crack doesn't get me whacked. I shouldn't have had fun at the expense of the Wisconsin Blogfather-Milwaukee police may end up finding Jiblog wearing concrete pixels at the bottom of the KK River.

Correction: 1 West Virginia miner survives

Stunning. You go to bed thinking that the unbelievable happened, and wake up to find out that someone seriously botched the story. Whoever did botch the story, be it the company, a family source, or the media, that person or persons just made this ordeal a whole lot worse.

12 West Virginia miners found alive

It may have had a problem with safety citations, but the coal mine in Tallmansville, West Virginia is not your great-great-grandfather's coal mine. 12 of the 13 miners have been found alive.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Leaker v. Whistleblower

Democrats are now using the term “whistleblower” when it comes to leaking state secrets that they want leaked.  It seems that a talking points memo went out somewhere over the New Year’s holiday, because it seems a lot of them are getting on board with this softer, gentler terminology for what is still a crime.

On Mike Sherman

I know that Mike Sherman elicited a strong negative reaction from some fans out there, and I understand where that came from.  While a very good coach, I’m not sure that he is a Super Bowl caliber coach.  Also, he never should have been made General Manager, and I suspect that he was only made one because Ron Wolf thought highly of Sherman, expected big things, and was looking to prevent what had happened with Mike Holmgren.  And this season was a tough one.  It is hard not to fire a veteran coach after a 4-12 season.


Just the same, I think some fans are a little too blood thirsty here.  Yes, it was time for Sherman to go, but there is a little too much anger and dislike be directed at Mike Sherman.  First, this 4-12 record was due in large part to injuries.  There was not much the guy could do about that, and by the end of the season the cupboard was pretty bare.  Once the big injuries to Walker and Green occurred, Brett seemed to lose his mind.  He was deprived of most of his playmakers, yet he still thought he could make the team win through sheer force of will.  It can’t happen though unless your receivers run the right routes, have the talent and physical ability to make plays, your lineman know all of their assignments and execute them, and your backs know how to find a hole.  In the end, Brett grossly over estimated the ability of those remaining around him, and that contributed to the 4-12 record as well.  Through it all, though, this team was remarkably unified and it came back to fight week after week, except against the Ravens.  That says something about the caliber of the coach.  It would have been very easy for this team to have thrown in the towel by week 10 or so and start pointing fingers and fighting.  It never really did that, though.  Finally, Sherman handled his dismissal with a class that many coaches do not.  He’ll hook on with another team, and he’ll coach some very good squads.


Mike Sherman deserves his fair portion of the blame for the 4-12 record because he was the head coach, and the buck for that stops with the coach.  Some of it was of his own making from his days as GM, too, although he had already felt the repercussions of his lackluster GM tenure.  Just the same, cut back on the hating, folks.  You’ve apparently been so spoiled that you no longer remember what a truly bad coach really is.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Wisconsin sports eras end as new ones begin

Word is the Packers have fired coach Mike Sherman, and yesterday Brett Favre seemed to be waving goodbye to the crowd at Lambeau.  Today, Barry Alvarez will be coaching his last game at Wisconsin, and we can only hope that the football program continues in his tradition.  I’m not really sure if this is a good day or a bad day to be a fan of Wisconsin football teams.  We probably won’t know for a few years, so consider today the best of days and/or worst of days.


Wisconsin fans, we do have a couple of things going for us.  The Brewers appear to be in a position to deliver excitement to us for the next several years, and since Senator Kohl is running for re-election, we should have at least two good years of Bucks basketball ahead of us.  Come warm September weekends next fall, though, we will probably be in for a world of change as we hunker down to watch out football teams.

First post of '06

Happy New Year, everybody.  I’m a little tardy with my first post of a new year, but it didn’t look like anyone was reading blogs yesterday, anyway.  At least that’s the excuse that I’m using to assuage my guilt for not posting yesterday.