Sunday, April 30, 2006

Best laid plans

Okay, so the weekend has turned out the way I planned in regards to blogging. I have excuses, but I'll spare everyone. Tonight there will be some content. Monday is iffy as our softball league is scheduled to begin, but things are looking soggy. Tuesday & Wednesday, don't even bother stopping by. Honestly. Wednesday is the third wedding anniversary of the lovely Mrs. Jib and I, and we will be in Chicago on Tuesday and Wednesday to see Wicked and some of the sights. Blogging will be non-existant. If I have any readers left after the miserable last week or two that I've turned out, I'll be back to chat with all of you on Thursday.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A.J. Hawk, et al

The Packers chose A.J. Hawk with the 1st round draft choice, number five overall. I'm pleased with the pick as Hawk was the guy I wanted them to pick from the get go. In the last week, they've made strides in solidifying their defense, and this was the cherry on top.

After the Hawk pick, I was lost, though. I watched and watched and watched, waiting for the Walker trade. Ultimately, they didn't get much for him. As it stands right now, with plenty of draft left, the Packers will have a moderately solid defense next year, and squat for offense. Walker had to go, and the Pack was hardly in a strong position, but this offense is looking like it will be noticeably weaker than last year's team. Yeah, they can pick up another receiver in the later rounds, but it probably won't be anyone who can make an impact. With rumors that Donald Driver is throwing a hissy fit now, too, Favre's (likely) swan song is going to be very out of key.

Europe, in a nutshell

If a historian in 2234 started flipping back through today's news to see what Europe was like in 2006, this is what he or she'd find:

An Italian restaurant was fined 688 euros ($855) for displaying live lobsters on ice to attract patrons, in an innovative application of an anti-cruelty law usually affecting to household pets.

It's hard to take the continent seriously as an ally sometimes when they are fining restaurants for displaying on ice lobsters which will be boiled alive.

Friday, April 28, 2006

A good day

I really want to apologize for the complete lack of attention that I've given to Jiblog this week. Things will pick back up here over the weekend, and then on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week I'll be incommunicado again.

In other news, I'd like to thank Clint and USC Trojan for their input on my car bleg. We wrapped that up today, and we ended up going with a midnight blue, 6 cylinder 2005 Dodge Stratus SXT. I do loathe the car buying process, mostly because I dislike playing salespeople off of each other, but we got a good price on the car. They even took my old Dodge Neon off my hands, a car that had 136,000 miles on it, an air conditioner that didn't work anymore, and a passenger side window that didn't work, either.

It was like Christmas in April for the lovely Mrs. Jib. She got a PDA today, too.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Today's must read, 4/27/06

Learn something new about Israel and Arabs. Read this post from Michael Totten. Here's a sample:

It made sense once I thought about it. Bedouin may be Egyptian Arabs, but they are completely isolated from Hosni Mubarak’s deranged state-run media. They could not care less about the politics of the so-called Arab-Israeli conflict. No one ever told them they are supposed to hate Jews. When politics can be pitched over the side, Israeli Jews and at least some Arab Muslims have a natural affinity for one another and they get along great.

Read the rest. It really is an excellent post.

WTMJ Podcasts

I am very pleased with Milwaukee's 620 WTMJ. They've really jumped on the podcasting thing, even having a portion of their website devoted to it. I don't get to listen to Sykes and Wagner as much as I'd like, and I had always wished they'd put more audio content up on the web. Now they're doing it. If they ever expand more and put Sykes & Wagner content behind a subscription wall, I'll likely be ponying up for it.

I may finally have to break down and buy an iPod after all.

755. It ain't no 56 or .400

The baseball of my youth was a beautiful game of rock solid numbers. 61, 715, 755, 300, 500, 3000, etc. That started to erode in 1989. 4,191 had fallen, and with it fell the man who broke the all time hits record. When Pete Rose was banned from baseball, the all time hits record became the unspoken record of baseball. In 1998, 61 fell to Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. We all cheered it then because we didn't quite grasp yet what Mark and Sammy injected themselves with to get there. Bonds followed, breaking McGwire's single season home run record, and now those numbers are meaningless, too. Last night, Bonds hit his 711th career home run. Soon enough, he will pass Hank Aaron and establish a new number for baseball lore, but like the single season home run record and the career hits record, the number will be stripped of any meaning. We will be left with two batting records that have meaning, numbers which controversy can only do so much to tarnish, and those numbers are 56 and .400.

United Nations' stamp collection missing

Some things are just too rich to parody:

Amid the many scandals at the United Nations, a new mystery now looms. What happened to the world organization’s unique and valuable postal archive — in effect, the U.N.’s own stamp collection, one of the crown jewels of its past and a popular point of contact with the global public?

Word on the street is that the Boutros Boutros-Ghali rare belly button lint collection and the Kofi Anan credibility collection are also missing.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I hate the car buying process

I just thought I'd get that out of the way.

Iowa-Wisconsin mumps outbreak

I've been unconcerned about this region's mumps outbreak. I know that when I was little, I had the measles/mumps/reubella vaccination, but I don't know if I was actually immunized against mumps because I can remember either mumps or ruebella having been crossed off on the little sheet. Still, I've continued merrily on my way, unconcerned about mumps even if it turns out that I'm not immunized. Until I read this paragraph in a story about mumps:

Mumps is spread by coughing and sneezing. The most common symptoms are fever, headache and swollen salivary glands under the jaw. It can lead to more severe problems, such as hearing loss, meningitis and swollen testicles, which can lead to infertility. It does not respond to antibiotics.

Italics mine. I'm paying attention now. Nobody told me about that problem. I'll take two meningitis, please, just keep the elephantitis of the beanbag away, thank you very much.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Monday Monday

Snow Job

I just wanted to use that headline before the angry, anti-Bush press corps did. Tony Snow will be the next White House Press Secretary. I like Snow and I'm looking forward to see how he handles the White House press corps.

Blogging lulls

James Wigderson tonight notes that I Am The Force has gone on hiatus. These things seem to happen in waves during periods of time where there seems to be a lull in blog worthy topics. You'll see several bloggers go on hiatus or quit around the same time. It is easy to understand why. Blogging is very enjoyable, but I think everyone goes through periods where the rewards don't seem as high and writing new material seems to take more effort than normal. When your writing isn't done to pay the bills, this matters tremendously. It is during those times that it is easy to have second thoughts about blogging altogether. There is something to be said about slogging through those times, though. You usually snap out of them rather suddenly, and just as suddenly the rewards of blogging seem brighter than ever.

This is not to say that this is why I Am The Force took some time off. I don't know why he took off-it could be that his personal life is crazy right now. Still, it wouldn't surprise me to see some other bloggers take some time off or quit in the near future. I'd still recommend to anyone that is thinking about doing so to stick with it, though.

Brett's coming back

I never imagined I'd be so blase over this news:

The NFL's only three-time MVP and long-time quarterback of the Green Bay Packers will return for a 16th season, reported Tuesday night.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he's coming back, if only because the goodbye tour may be the only thing to make this season worth watching. Just the same, the longer Brett held off in making a decision the more convinced I became that he no longer has the drive nor the desire to prove anything. I was actually ready to see what Aaron Rodgers will bring to the table.

Hysteria in D.C.

Ugh. If I wasn't so fed up with it, I might actually be angry about the oil hysteria in Washington D.C. Politicians are feeding the hysteria about gas and oil prices (see: Chuck Schumer) in order to try to use them to score political points. Speculative fears+rising demand+relatively static oil production+SIGNIFICANT GOVERNMENT REGULATION & TAXATION=high gas and oil prices. If there was one politician in Washington who was as concerned about gas and oil prices as they claim to be, then they would start by loosening up government regulation and gas taxes. Right now all they are is hypocrites and part of the problem. What scares me is that they are a part of the problem that can make the situation worse.

One more thing. All on its own, sometime around Memorial Day, gas prices will drop back down to the mid $2 range, lower if the ethanol industry can keep up, and it will stabilize there (barring unforseen circumstances). Just watch.

Next up: Coal shortage

Coal is one of the most abundant energy sources available to us. So those coal powered electicity plants should have no problem pumping out the megawats this summer, right? Not so fast.

Electric utilities are worried they might not be able to obtain enough coal this summer to power the country's air conditioners if railroads have to scramble to untangle the logistics of oil refineries making the switch to a cleaner gasoline additive.

"With the peak summer season for electricity approaching and rail deliveries of coal still not where we would like them to be, we are monitoring this situation carefully," said Jim Owen, a spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute, a trade association representing shareholder-owned electric companies.

Energy prices are high right now, and most of the attention is on increased demand and on instability or potential instability in some oil producing nations. What is ignored is that it doesn't have to be quite this bad. The fact of the matter is we face some serious capacity issues in this country. We could use more refineries, but we don't have them. We could drill more oil sources domestically, but we don't. We could use more trains and track to ship goods and energy supplies, but we won't build them. Things like this, plus attendent government regulations, are putting an artificial cap on domestic supplies of energy sources.

Good news, coffee lovers

Grab the biggest mug ya got and keep that life sustaining black liquid flowing:

Go ahead and have that second cup of coffee -- or third, or fourth. A study published on Monday shows heavy, long-term coffee drinking does not raise the risk of heart disease for most people.

That's news that I'm pleased to hear, as I drink way more coffee than I should during the day. Still, it does come with a caveat.

Heavy coffee drinkers did tend to smoke and drink alcohol more often and those two factors clearly do raise heart risk, the researchers report in the journal Circulation.

I anxiously await the study that says that drinking Leinie's will make you younger, healthier, and more vivacious.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bush to investigate environmentalists and NIMBY's on high gas prices

(UPI-Washington) President George W. Bush today announced a federal investigation into whether pressures from environmentalists and Not-In-My-Backyarders (NIMBYs) are partially responsible for high oil and gas prices.

In his announcement, the President referred to possible heavy handed pressure from environmentalists that has prevented domestic oil exploration off American shores and in Alaska. He also noted that it is rumored that many wealthy property owners support cheap oil, as long as it isn't looked for, produced, piped, or refined anywhere near their property, leaving 20 acres in Utah available for energy production.

Unnamed administration sources say that the investigation may expand to the Environmental Protection Agency, which may have conspired to drive up oil and gas costs through onerous regulation of oil production, refineries, and gas usage, unnecessarily restricting supply and adding costs to the price of oil and gasoline.

(What you have just read is a test of the emergency satire system. This was only a test.)

Enter stage left

Now that Blogger is supposedly working, I feel like I should be tap dancing out onto the stage that is this blog, with some upbeat piano music playing me in and my top hat waving in my hand.

Hello my darlin', hello my darlin', hello my Clementine...

On second thought, nobody really wants to see me sing and dance.

...exit stage right


I apologize for the radio silence here.  I’ve been experiencing some difficulties with the site for the last 15 hours or so.  I’m not sure how wide spread the problem has been, but it looks like something has been resolved.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

The divide between print and electron

I had the opportunity to get my paws on a a recent issue of a print magazine called Truckers News. In the issue was an article on blogging by truckers. I noted some of the trucker blogs that they wrote about, and tonight I got around to finally checking them out. The highlighted blog in the article was Tom's Take. I headed there and was amused to find that said Tom had stopped blogging at that address...over a year ago. He podcasts now, but that blog has been on mothballs since January 28th, 2005.

Here's a suggestion to editors. If you are looking to do an article on blogging as the latest and greatest thing, don't send your readers to a dead blog that forwards readers to the bloggers new endeavors.

Car shopping bleg

We've begun the process to replace the oldest of our two vehicles. We spent this afternoon looking at car lots, and three vehicles topped the lovely Mrs. Jib's list. The three were a Malibu, a Sebring sedan, and a Stratus sedan, all 2005's. If anybody out there has any input or first hand experience with these three vehicles, I'd like to hear it. Thanks.

Busting baseball myths

If you don't love baseball, skip this post.

Okay, baseball fans. Live Science has an article that busts various baseball myths. I'd like to address some of them and see if any of you agree with my analysis. First, this is the basis for much of the article:

"In the last few feet before the plate, the ball reaches an angular velocity that exceeds the ability of the eye to track the ball," Fuld told LiveScience. "The best hitters can track the ball to within 5 or 6 feet of the plate."

I would agree with that. In looking back on my baseball days, there did seem to be an instant where there was a lack of input as to what a pitch was doing, and it was right smack dab in front of the plate. Now, onto the specifics.

But a hitter is at the mercy of what the pitch does in those last few feet. That's when their eyes have left the ball and a nasty 12-to-6 curveball--a pitch named after the face of a clock and which drops top to bottom--can make even the best hitters swing out of their shoes. The pitch looks like it comes in straight, but during the instant the hitter is blind to the ball, a good curveball will have dropped a foot or more, and the batter will likely swing over the pitch.

Now I realize that my high school experience is different from the experiences at the collegiate or pro level, and there is a kernal of truth to this statement, but you aren't completely blind in that last 5 or 6 feet. For me, an overhand curve or a curve/slider from a left hander was easy to hit. The pitch gives you plenty of information during its flight to allow you to figure out exactly where it is going. The way it leaves the pitcher's hand, the spin, the spead, and any break you may see all give you enough information to hit the pitch. I'm not sure that I ever saw a curve ball that didn't have a little break to it before it got five feet in front of the plate. This is from a guy who washed out of baseball at the collegiate level. I could hit fastballs, and I devoured overhand curves and left handed sliders/curves. It was the geometry of the right hander's slider/curve that confounded the hell out of me.

Next, the knuckler.

On the flipside are knuckleballs. Even though they're slow-moving and have little to no spin, they flutter erratically, making them one of the most difficult pitches to connect with. As legendary hitting coach Charlie Lau once said, "There are two theories on hitting a knuckleball. Unfortunately, neither of them works."

Our rivals had a pitcher who threw a knuckler. Again, a meager high school ballplayer such as myself had no problem hitting his knuckle ball, crushing one to left that the left fielder caught with his back against the 320 sign. Why was a meager ballplayer such as myself able to handle his knuckle ball? Because he threw it damn hard. The pitch probably came to the plate in the upper 70's. The ball danced, but it didn't dance wildly. You could make a good judgement in the last third of its flight as to where it would end up. A big component to a successful knuckle ball is the lack of speed. That makes the pitch flutter more and it contributes to timing issues that make hitting it more difficult.

Next, they take on the rising fastball.

The rising fastball deceives the hitter in almost the opposite way a good curve does. A 90-mph fastball will drop significantly less than one thrown at 80 mph. So instead of dropping a few inches in the last few feet, a fastball with some serious zip will maintain a nearly straight trajectory.

I'm not familiar with anyone that thinks that a fastball can actually rise; most do understand that it is an optical illusion, much like the fastball that seems to explode as it gets to the plate. I can speak to the exploding fastball, as our biggest rivals in high school had another guy who threw in the upper 90's. I once swung at a fastball that he threw and the damn thing seemed to shatter as it got to me. I didn't actually think that the ball exploded-I knew it was an optical illusion.

Finally, they take on fielding a ball.

Any pro would tell you that the hardest ball to catch is a line drive smoked right at them. Sure, there's the fear that it might put a dent in your forehead, but it's the lack of visual information that makes the ball difficult to judge.

When a ball is hit to the left or right of a fielder, the player can observe the ball's velocity, acceleration, and angle to figure out where it might land.

They are dead on with this one. I was an outfielder, primarily in right but I played left early in high school and filled in in center from time to time. Balls to your left or right are easy to judge because you have many reference points with which to judge the ball. Even line drives right at you usually aren't that bad because they have spins (unique to each position) that put just enough curve to the ball as to give you some extra reference points and the ability to predict the path based on past experiences. Every once in a while a hitter smacks a line drive that is right at you and lacking that slice or hook that you are used to. In those instances, the ball is not only tough to judge, it seems to take on some knuckle ball characteristics. I can remember one ball my senior year like this. I made an ass of myself trying to catch it, and I was a very good defensive outfielder.

Their parting shot is on "getting under the ball." This is what got me riled up to write this.

"Good players do not run to a place where the ball will land and then wait for it, but rather catch the ball while running," Fuld said. "This is contrary to what many coaches prescribe, which is to 'get under the ball and not drift on it.'"

Again, a kernal of truth. Catching a fly ball flat footed is an invitation to misjudge the ball. And when runners are on base with less than two outs, you want your momentum to be moving towards the infield when you make the catch so you can get off a quick, hard throw. Having said that, you do run to the place where the ball will land. You then make adjustments from there. When you drift on a ball, your momentum is often not carrying you in the right direction for a throw. Drifting also is a habit of lazy fielders, and that drifting can contribute to half-assing a catch and having it glance off the glove. These guys do a nice job looking at the science of baseball, but it is apparent that they are scientists and not ball players.

Slate review of American Dreamz

I peruse Slate daily on my RSS reader, and this morning I clicked on their review of American Dreamz. My mind started to swirl with possible posts. Then I got to the last paragraph, and all of my ideas flushed out of my mind and one stood there, begging to be written. Here is that paragraph:

This will all play well in liberal enclaves like Madison, Wis., and I have already poured enough water on what's meant to be a lark, but there is a final, troubling assumption at the center of American Dreamz. I'm more than ready to laugh at a scene that shows bearded terrorists gathered in a tent, raptly watching Omer in the final round, yelling, "He nailed it!" after a rendition of "My Way." But the scene also implies that we can charm our enemies with our glorious entertainment: Why attack the country that has given you Julia Roberts? That's a more dangerous American dream.

Isn't that the source of all of Hollywood's smugness, though-the belief that they (we) can entertain and charm themselves out of anything? The fact is, as part of their anti-American propoganda, Islamists have regularly used the decadence of American culture, as portrayed by Hollywood, as one of the reasons they hate America so. If you want to understand why many of us see Hollywood as out of touch with reality, that paragraph should go a long way in explaining why. There are times when nothing you can say or do can talk your enemies out of anything because they are fanatical about what they believe. This first decade of the 21st century is one of those times. Too many people think that the right smile and the right words (and maybe the right dollar amount) will lead our enemies to lay down their guns, their IEDs, their box cutters, and their explosive belts. There is no charm, no entertainment, no words that are going to change things, though. Sometimes you just need to stand up for yourself.

La Bamba: Better in Spanish

I've always loved Richie Valens' song La Bamba, but I also always wanted to know what the lyrics meant in English. One would think that three years of high school Spanish would have gotten me to that point, but it was public school Spanish, so it wasn't to be.

Tonight I was listening to La Bamba on my cable service's music channels, and it motivated me to look up the translation. You can learn what I learned by going here. To be perfectly honest, it was a bit of a disappointment; I wish had just left well enough alone and blissfully continued to sing along to the Spanish without knowing the translation.

Oooo! A Wilson Phillips song just came on...gotta go!

I'm going to shoot myself for live blogging the cable music channel, but hey, at least it ain't another post on Iran, right? Now a song is playing that was popular around the time of my Junior Prom, which was not a nice experience. I'll put my story up against any other bad prom story, and I'll take the competition 9 times out of 10. Despite it, the girl is nice enough, so I won't repeat the story here, but I will share via email if anyone cares to hear it.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

How I spent my Earth Day

1. Cleaned the yard of biodegradable natural waste.
2. Mowed the lawn, and spilled some gas in doing so.
3. Worked on cutting down a bush. Plans are to burn it.
4. Purchased chemicals which will pollute the waterways and groundwater, but which will make my lawn nice and purty.
5. Fixed ventilation on clothes drier, threw out old, non-biodegradable venilation system.
6. Turned on all of the lights in the house, sat down in the recliner, and started watching 43 vehicles burn high octane fuel as they drive around in a circle for 4 hours. Oh, and I opened a beer.

Happy Earth Day, one and all!

April 22: Holiest of days for leftist whack jobs

Let's take a look at why today is the holiest of atheistic holy days for far leftists:

April 22, 1870: Vladimir Lenin born.
April 22, 1954: Senate Army-McCarthy hearings start (hey, every religion needs its persecutions)
April 22, 1970: Earth Day first observed.
April 22, 1994: Richard Milhouse Nixon dies.
April 22, 2000: Elian Gonzales raid sends little boy back to beloved Uncle Fidel.

As best I can tell, there is only one thing preventing this day from becoming an official leftist nut job pagan holiday: On this day in 1864, "In God We Trust" was authorized for use on American coins. It's still there. If and when they get that removed, leftists will be dancing and cavorting naked in the streets on each April 22nd. Nobody wants that.

Finally, a government agency with a sense of comedic timing

Heh. Go to the FDA's website and read this press release. Note the date. Funny folks, those bureaucratmedians at the FDA.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Blogging good for you career?

Last Sunday, the Boston Globe proposed an interesting concept: Blogging is actually good for your career. In the article, they list 8 reasons why blogging can help further your career. All are good reasons, I suppose, unless you are a political blogger. In that case, you still risk a rockier road because of your blog. Yeah, A-list bloggers can write their own ticket, but for the B, C, and D listers of us out here, our blogs could be a hindrance to our careers. Let's say that I interview for a job that would be a promotion and a nice pay raise. I go in and I knock the socks off of my interviewer and move to the top of their list. Then the interviewer, a Kerry voter in 2004, Googles me after I leave. My name is attached to this blog and the interviewer gets my conservative political philosophy up close and personal. Think I'm going to get that job? Doubtful. Even in one's current job, there is the ever present risk of being Dooced for blogging, even if you follow all the rules to avoid being Dooced.

In some circles, yes, a quality blog can probably help your career. Never be lulled into a sense of security, though, because in the wrong circles it can and still will hurt you.

Go read Prof. McAdams on this topic. For the record, I actually wrote this about an hour after his post, but couldn't get it to publish until after work today. Any similarities are purely coincidental :-).

Stupidity. Saving lives since 2006

Thank goodness for stupidity:

Five teenage boys who allegedly planned to carry out a shooting spree at their Kansas small-town high school were arrested on Thursday – the 7-year anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting spree – just hours after one of them divulged the plot on (italics mine), law enforcement and school officials said.

To plot a mass murder like this was dumb enough, but to then post it at MySpace was just icing on the cake. Thank goodness for the kid dumb enough to do that. Some parents in Riverton, Kansas should hug their kids extra tightly tonight, because they almost lost them yesterday.

Russia: No Iran sanctions without proof

Russia is digging its heals in on the possibility of placing economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

Hardening its opposition to sanctions against Iran, Russia said on Friday the U.N. Security Council should only consider such measures if it had proof the Islamic Republic was trying to build nuclear weapons.

Something tells me that this is the kind of proof that Russia is looking for:
Of course, once they see this, it will already be too late for sanctions.

One less roadblock in Iraq

This is, in the long view, very good news.

Bowing to intense pressure, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari agreed Thursday to allow Shiite lawmakers to find someone else to head the new government, abandoning his claim on another term in the face of Sunni and Kurdish opposition.

Al-Jaafari was a roadblock to the formation of a government in Iraq. While his stepping aside does not mean that everything will suddenly start falling into place in Iraq, it does mean that a wrench in the cogs of progress has been removed. Hopefully the various parties can maneuver to form a government now.

Belated well wishes

I've been an absentee blogger for much of this week, but I'd like to offer my belated well wishes to Kevin & Kurt at Lakeshore Laments, and my and my wife's thoughts and prayers for his father who is suffering through ill health right now.

It's great to hear that he is on the heart transplant waiting list, Kevin & Kurt. He'll stay in our prayers until he can get one.

The greatest joke of all time

No, it isn't The Aristocrats. It is this:

Under threat of United Nations Security Council sanctions for its own nuclear program, Iran has been elected to a vice-chair position on the U.N. Disarmament Commission, whose mission includes deliberations on preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

I'm beginning to think Jerry Seinfeld may have ripped off the UN. After all, they were "The World Body About Nothing" long before his television series ever hit the airwaves. What a joke.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Madeline is here to up

C'mon. Who's really surprised by this?

In an interview in the The New York Times Magazine that will appear this coming Sunday, Madeleine Albright reveals, among other things, that even at 68, she works out three times a week "and I can leg-press up to 400 pounds." This follows a discussion of how she does not expect to re-marry, partly because, as she says, "I'm intimidating, don't you think?"

The worst part of of this story? The vision of Madeleine Albright doing leg presses in spandex.

The Iranian Basiji

I don't have time to comment on this right now, but I do recommend this article at The New Republic by Matthias Kuntzel (free registration req'd) on the Basiji in Iran. It adds a little more insight into what and who we are dealing with in Iran.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

You know it's a busy week...

..when it is almost 11 pm and you've only checked your site stats twice for the day, and less than ten times for the week.

When you chain bras, the gravity wins

This is an odd way to bring attention to breast cancer.

The Cypriot, British and Dutch organizers hope to string together as many as 100,000 bras on April 30, beating the current record of 79,000 bras held by Singapore, and forming a 56 mile chain.

79,000 and 100,000 bras. I never realized that chaining bras together had gotten bigger than phone booth stuffing was in the 50's. I'll give them an 'e' for effort, but if they really wanted to bring attention to breast cancer, the bras would all be full. Now that would get attention.

Physicists warn Bush on nukes

13 physicists have sent a letter to President Bush warning against the use of nuclear weapons in Iran.
“We are members of the profession that brought nuclear weapons into existence, and we feel strongly that it is our professional duty to contribute our efforts to prevent their misuse,” says Hirsch. "Physicists know best about the devastating effects of the weapons they created, and these eminent physicists speak for thousands of our colleagues.”

I anxiously await their stearnly worded letter to Iran.

It's New Madrid time

I predicted not too long ago that we'd be seeing stories about the New Madrid fault pretty soon. It is almost as though there is a media calendar for this stuff, and the New Madrid story seems to arise every spring to early summer. So here you go, the first of what I'm sure will be several New Madrid stories.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Another Scientologist

The Cruise-Holmes spawn is finally here. It's a girl, and it's name is Suri. No word on whether Cruise did, though. Did? You know, did.

Carrots without the stick

I don't think I could have said this better myself.

Is the America of 2006 more willing to thwart the unacceptable than the France of 1936? So far, not evidently. According to the New York Times, "One of President Bush's most senior foreign policy advisers" recently told a group of academics, "The problem is that our policy has been all carrots and no sticks. And the Iranians know it."

Even when we do indicate that we have the stick by, say, not subtly insinuating the potential use of tactical nukes to eliminate Iran's nuclear program, the press and the chattering classes become outraged and effectively handcuff diplomatic efforts. Iran may be utilizing "useful idiots" even better than the Soviets did.

Once Iran acquires nuclear weapons, and at the present rate, it is almost a foregone conclusion that they will, those who have been opposed to using military force to prevent it, particularly those who live in big cities like L.A. and New York, will suddenly feel very vulnerable and blame Republicans for not doing more to prevent it. Bet on it, because they've put politics above national security.

San Francisco. April 18, 1906

100 years ago the ground shook and it rolled. What wasn't shaken to the ground started to burn, and attempts to dynamite gaps to stop the fire led to more fire. The fires, at their peak, rolled through the city like a storm. The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 was great tragedy for a city and a nation, but a great American city arose from the ashes on the back of the immutable American spirit and will of the day.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Netflix bringeth Grizzly Man

The lovely Mrs. Jib and I sat down tonight to watch Grizzly Man on DVD. I've seen chunks of it, but she has never experienced the human highlight reel that was Timothy Treadwell. Inspired, afterwards I pulled out the camcorder and filmed "Mutt Cat Man." Delilah Cat was not pleased and provided some incredibly funny moments. I, however, made a complete ass of myself and will be burning the tape in our fire pit. And I did not touch the poop.

Reviving the Los Angeles River

The Los Angeles River is one of the ugliest, oddest things I've ever seen. It'll interesting to see if these plans actually happen:
Angelenos at a series of 18 neighborhood meetings are suggesting ways to turn an ugly flood-control channel into a civic joy. Visions for greening the riverway include terracing and planting trees on the concrete walls, creating an inner-city beach for the East Los Angeles barrio and opening restaurants like those on the San Antonio River Walk that anchor the Texas city's $1.2 billion-a-year tourism industry.

"Reinventing the river will transform the urban landscape of Los Angeles," says Arthur Golding, an architect and river-improvement advocate. "Nobody's talking of restoring the river to pre-European-settlement times. But I think a lot of concrete can come out."

It will take a lot of effort to make that ugly channel of concrete look better.

The state of Western foreign policy & diplomacy

I don’t believe that I’ve seen Western foreign policy & diplomacy in such a decrepit state in my lifetime. Leaders in all Western nations have shown themselves to have little backbone when facing the threat of radical Islam. They steadfastly refuse to accept the realities unfolding in front of their eyes, namely that Iran wants nuclear weapons and will not be talked out of it. Instead they create this fantasy alternate reality where Iran is a rational player in world politics that will give up their nuclear ambitions, simply because Western leaders would like them to do so. Fat chance.

I generally dislike speaking in analogies, but bear with me here as I find this one to be apt. There are times in history when international relations act like a boiling pot of water. Powerful nations can choose to lift the lid on the pot and release some steam, but they risk scalding themselves by doing so. The other option is to keep that lid on tight and hope that the water in the pot will not boil so hard as to blow the lid right off and burn everyone. In the case of Iran, the West is afraid to scald its hand; instead, it will wait until the pressure causes the pot to blow up in their faces, all out of fear of being burned. Unfortunately, you and I are in that fictional room as well, and some of us stand to be hurt pretty badly.

Cat saves baby

Here's a rarity:

A cat saved the life of a newborn baby abandoned on the doorstep of a Cologne house in the middle of the night by meowing loudly until someone woke up, a police spokesman said on Saturday.

I'm still unwilling to give the cat too much credit. It might have been meowing because it was pissed that an easy meal was out of its reach. Never trust a feline.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Amir Taheri on Iran

Amir Taheri has a cheery little piece for an Easter Sunday over at the Telegraph. He looks Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's apocolyptic religous beliefs, Iran's quite geopolitical moves in the Middle East, and what the coming months may hold in store for Iran's nuclear program. The piece confirms things that I've been reading for some time, some things going back to 2004. The article is must read, as it covers so many aspects of the Iranian story as to make it difficult to sufficiently summarize. I did want to quote one section of the story, though:

The Iranian plan is simple: playing the diplomatic game for another two years until Bush becomes a "lame-duck", unable to take military action against the mullahs, while continuing to develop nuclear weapons.

Thus do not be surprised if, by the end of the 12 days still left of the United Nations' Security Council "deadline", Ahmadinejad announces a "temporary suspension" of uranium enrichment as a "confidence building measure". Also, don't be surprised if some time in June he agrees to ask the Majlis (the Islamic parliament) to consider signing the additional protocols of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Such manoeuvres would allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director, Muhammad El-Baradei, and Britain's Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, to congratulate Iran for its "positive gestures" and denounce talk of sanctions, let alone military action. The confidence building measures would never amount to anything, but their announcement would be enough to prevent the G8 summit, hosted by Russia in July, from moving against Iran.

Keep your eye on Iran to see if this the maneuver they try to make in the coming months. This is the least scary part of Taheri's piece. Go read the rest now.

Happy Easter!

Mark 18:1-8 (New Intenational Version):
1When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. 2Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"

4But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

6"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' "

8Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


This is one of the funniest headlines I've read in a while (from Reuters):

Lionel Richie electrifies Libyans

I've never known Lionel Richie music to be electrifying. Did he change the lyrics of one of his songs to Three Times Gaddafi or something?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Milwaukee police beating case: Not guilty


Late in their third day of deliberations, an all white jury found three former Milwaukee Police officers not guilty of beating Frank Jude Jr. at a 2004 Bay View house party.

Circuit Judge David A. Hansher read the verdict to a packed courtroom at 11:19 p.m., after the panel had been deliberating for more than 26 hours.

What did the community learn? Well, the kids who are part of the "No snitching" movement learned that the "code of silence" helps Milwaukee police offers get off of the crimes they've committed. Good luck ridding the community of the "no snitching" movement now, Milwaukee.

Iran missile crisis as destiny

I was perusing yesterday's USA Today editorial on Iran's nuclear program, and two paragraphs stood out that really bothered me. If these two thoughts are widespread, we are destined for an Iranian missile crisis. Here's the first paragraph in question:

For all the present sense of crisis, though, the moment of real urgency — one where Iran is churning out nuclear weapons — has not arrived. This can, and ought, to be turned into a time for a concerted and public debate about the reality of the situation and options. The unilateral rush to war in Iraq on faulty intelligence has underscored the dangers of acting precipitously and alone.

Talk about turning logic on its head-the real time for urgency is after Iran is creating nuclear weapons? That's way too late. Urgency turns into full out despair at that point.

Here is the second concerning paragraph:

In historical terms, this might be a slowly-unfolding moment of crisis, in which a deadly mix of fundamentalism and nuclear weapons is emerging. The key is to act to manage and avert the crisis. A good model: the diplomatically averted Cuban missile crisis.

What does that mean? Honestly. If a key is to avert the crisis, how is the Cuban missile crisis a good model? By definition, we averted no crisis back then, we were fully in one. Americans were terrified that we were on the brink of nuclear war. Is that really what the USA Today wants? We averted disaster during the Cuban missile crisis only because both the United States and the USSR had a modicum of sanity. Is the USA Today willing to literally bet their lives on the hope the Iran has enough sanity to avoid nuclear warfare?

Good Friday

The seven last words of Christ (New King James Version):

Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Luke 23:34

And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." Luke 23:43

When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!" Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. John 19:26-27

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Mark 15:34

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!" John 19:28

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, into your hands I commend My spirit." Having said this, He breathed his last. Luke 23:46

Next: Purina to introduce Cheetos brand dog munchies

Talk about your doggie treats:

A Tasmanian company has obtained the first state or territory licence to use hemp in a pet food product.

Hemp is banned in food for human consumption in Australia, unlike most other western countries.

Just what dog owners need. You throw their tennis ball and they start laughing uncontrollably.

PETA to use the crucifixion as a protest

PETA, using good taste as always, has this planned for Good Friday:

A row erupted on Thursday over plans by animal protectionists to symbolically "crucify" three activists with animal masks in a Good Friday protest outside Vienna's St Stephan's Cathedral.

The militant pro-animal group PETA said the activists would be suspended from crosses with crowns of thorns on their heads.

The slogan of the protest action would be "We suffer and die for your sins of nourishment."

Real brave on PETA's part. Let's see them spoof Mohammed during Ramadan in Saudi Arabia for a protest sometime.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Reitred Generals against Rumsfeld

I'm not really prepared to comment on the ongoing story of retired generals criticizing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, but I do have one preliminary thought to pass along. The higher you get amongst commissioned officers in the military, the more political life becomes. It appears that the Generals coming out against Rumsfeld are generally left leaning individuals. Unless they cam come up with some very good specifics on why they think Rumsfeld should resign, their opinions should be viewed very skeptically.

The death of a storm

Here's a word of wisdom-only worry about those things which you can control. I stressed out a bit over the mighty lightning and hail storm that was headed our way, I stored away some things on the deck, and I shuffled the lovely Mrs. Jib off to work early to avoid the hail. Almost the moment I sent her on her way, the storm started to weaken. And man, did it weaken. After listening to a lot of reports of golfball to softball size hail to the west of us, we got some pea to microscopic sized hail.

Here's another lesson for all of you guys out there. When you tell your wife a bad storm is coming and you send her off to work early, and the storm peters out, you never hear the end of it.

Light(ning) blogging night

A little while ago I went for a drive out west of town. We have some nasty looking storms heading our way. I'm battening down the hatches right now. I'll probably be offline for a while once they blow in, but if they prove to be interesting, I'm sure I'll be foolish enough to live blog it like I did the tornados last year.

Just pondering

Gatorade has a new commercial in which, like a chick from an egg, a female beach volleyball player is born from a volleyball. I've seen it about a dozen times this week, and because of it I now have a question that I want answered: Why do female beach volleyball players try to wear as little clothing as possible? Not that I'm complaining, but still, why? Since when did shorts and a tank top become restrictive?

Missing the big picture from last night's South Park

I'm fully behind the message Parker and Stone were trying to deliver with last night's South Park, but Comedy Central's self-censoring was hardly a surprise and definitely not unique. Christian groups and Scientologists have both succeeded in getting pulled the re-broadcasts of South Park episodes that they found offensive recently. Do I wish that Comedy Central had more backbone? Yep. But that applies for both the rebroadcasts that were pulled and the censoring of the Mohammed image last night. This a growing trend for Comedy Central in regards to religious pressure in general, not just Islam. A lot of people are putting it on a parrallel with the recent cartoon riots and making it all about Islam. It isn't. Islam was part of the message last night, but it wasn't the whole message.

And before I get the comment to this effect, I can and do differentiate between the innocuous image of Mohammed last night and the gross imagery of the Bloddy Mary episode, but unfortunately the Scientology epsiode was just as innocuous as last night's. Parker and Stone were spot on with their intended main message, which was essentially, "Islam can shit on President Bush, Jesus, and the American people but we can't show Mohammed just standing there." But the secondary message played out in Cartman's quest to kill Family Guy by getting just one episode pulled, not because he was truely offended but because he just didn't like it.

Broken Snowshoe Moon

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

16 days

The next UN Security Council 'sternly worded' warning to Iran should be a real hoot given this news:

Iran, defying United Nations Security Council demands to halt its nuclear program, may be capable of making a nuclear bomb within 16 days, a U.S. State Department official said.

Iran will move to ``industrial scale'' uranium enrichment involving 54,000 centrifuges at its Natanz plant, the Associated Press quoted deputy nuclear chief Mohammad Saeedi as telling state-run television today.

This doesn't mean that 16 days from today Iran will have a nuclear arsenal, but it does mean that the estimates that Iran is years away from a nuclear weapon is likely wrong. It'll be here sooner than that.

The 'Sword from the Heavens' dream is dead

In January I wrote that if I ever found a large meteorite, it would take me about three nanoseconds to spend scads of money to turn it into a sword. I've changed my mind.

A meteorite believed to have come from an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter sold for $93,000 Tuesday at an auction of rare space sculptures.

The 355-pound chunk of iron, thousands of years old and discovered in the Campo del Cielo crater field in Argentina, was one of 10 meteorites that went for high prices at a Bonhams' New York natural history auction.

The 'Sword from the Heavens' would be cool, but not as cool as a hundred grand.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The simple things

It doesn't take much to make me happy. Tonight, for example, I am thrilled because it is warm enough for me to sit out on my deck at 11:20 pm and blog/read news on my computer.

Thrilled though I am, concern has arisen in me. As I started this post, I got a great big wiff of skunk in the wind. If Jiblog goes off line for a couple of days, it's because the skunk snuck up on me and I ran to the Minnesota state line.

The fruits of the UN Security Council

The UN Security Council, comprised of five of the most power countries in the world, issues a stearn warning to Iran to halt its nuclear program. Iran continues and advances its nuclear program, throwing a party to celebrate.

I think it is safe to say that the current United Nations serves the purpose of stalling war with dithering until it is inevitable and as bloody as the situation will allow.

Oh, and this quote from the Washington Post story on Iran successfully enriching uranium is priceless:

"We all knew they were going to do this. The question is: What will they do next?" said one European diplomat, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

That pretty much sums things up. We'll wait. Then we'll figure out what they plan to do next. We'll issue an even stearner warning. We'll watch them do it. That's the way of post modern Western diplomacy.

Male eagle gets a little too excited

Think of your worst courtship experience. Now thank the good Lord that you didn't screw it up as bad as this eagle did:
Officials say a bald eagle likely was in a springtime courtship ritual with its mate when they flew too low and the male got caught in the crotch of a maple tree at Jefferson.
He found the bird had one wing stuck in one set of branches and the other in other branches. He grabbed the talons and feet while freeing the wings, and also put a towel over the eagle's head to calm him down.

The eagle is going to be okay, and it will be released again near where they assissted it.

Thongs for illegal immigration

Talk about reading things wrong. I blame Fred. This afternoon, I saw the article in the image below at the Journal Sentinel.
I think the flag fooled me into reading the headline as "Thongs rally for immigrants." All I could see was the Kurt Vlach bannana hammock (as displayed here by Aaron) marching for the rights of illegal immigrants. I threw up in my mouth a little, and then felt better.

The death of the Republican Revolution

Gerry Ford Republicanism rises Phoenix-like from the Ash Heap of Party History

I hate to say this, but conservatism has been out flanked. For twenty to twenty-five years, conservatives have held sway in the GOP. When "compassionate conservative" George W. Bush was elected in 2000, some conservatives were wary, but most still felt comfortable with conservatism's place in the Republican party. It may have signaled a change in the party's philosophy, though.

Democrats and the press have helped keep conservatives ignorant of the tide change in party philosophy by labeling every Republican and their brother as neo-conservatives. A funny thing happened on the way to neo-conservatism: President Bush filled cabinent positions with formerly rising stars of the Nixon and Ford administrations, hardly bastions of conservative philosophy. Along the way, we've elected to Congress more neo-Fordians than true conservatives. The result has been a ruling class of Republicans who pay lip service to conservative values but who are really big government Republicans of the pre-Reagan mold.

Not many have really put their fingers on this yet, but they experience it every time they air their frustrations with the current Republican leadership. Unless there is a notable personality change amongst D.C. Republicans, expect to see a return to the 1970's era fight for the soul of the GOP. Unfortunately for conservatives, this time it may be Ford Republicans who are in their ascendancy.

As the divide in the GOP becomes more defined, don't expect to see this framed as Gerry Ford Republicans vs. Conservatives for two reasons. The first is that big government Republicans are not going to want to associate themselves with Ford. Secondly, due to the effect conservatives have had one the party for the last 25 years, the neo-Ford Republicans are slightly to the right of Ford's party and the media will never make the connection. Make no mistake about it, though, Ford era Republicanism is exactly what we are watching grow in the GOP. It is a Republicanism that is not based on values and philosophy as conservatism is, but on governing, power, and party machinations. It results in wishy-washy stands on issues that only have the next election in mind. It results in bloated government spending as the party panders for votes. It also results in lost elections.

Part of the rise in Ford era Republicanism may have been inevitable. It is far easier to take principled stands on issues when you are the minority party. Once a party achieves the majority, the first instinct is to abandon principle in order protect power and privilege. While inevitable, it is not pre-ordained. Conservatives are awakening to the changes that are occurring in the Republican party. To borrow a phrase William F. Buckley, I expect conservatives will stand athwart the GOP's changes and yell, "stop!" Their stand will determine what the GOP looks like in 25 years and the future of conservatism in the United States.

Leinie's Sunset Wheat-The Tasting

I finally got my hands on Leinie's Sunset Wheat. I'm not much of a beer snob, so I'm afraid that I can't give a high falutin' description of the taste, but I'll do my best to pass along my findings.

First off, Leinenkugel's recommends that you pour the beer straight down the center of the glass to produce a full head. I recommend this as well. You'll want to smell this beer before your first taste. The aroma of the beer is very citrus-like. The beer is made with coriander, and I have no idea what coriander tastes like normally, but it seems to lend a citrus overtone to the beer, which is also very light. One thing I can assure everyone is that this is nothing like Berry Weiss, but it isn't anything like a normal Leinie's offering, either. If you are an Original/Light/Northwoods type person, this isn't the beer for you. If you are a straight Miller/Bud person, again, probably not for you. But if you enjoy the various craft beers out their today, I think you will like Sunset Wheat. Leinie's is definitely make a play for beer drinkers outside their typical circle of customers. Sunset Wheat will not be a big seller at the country bars in Wisconsin, but it should find a healthy market amongst the craft beer crowd.

Quote of the week

The quote of the week comes from Charles Krauthammer:


There have, I suppose, been other peoples in other places who yearned for a life of mediocrity. But leave it to the French to make a revolution in its name.

Steyn on Iran

Yesterday I sat down to a meal with a group of professionals. It was a very intelligent group, but a group for whom the news is something that is noise in the background or headlines to be scanned. In other words, I'd consider them all average consumers of the news in this country. The topic of conversation turned to yesterday's news of possible U.S. plans to use low yield nuclear weapons against Iran. The general consensus was that everyone was appalled that we would even consider the possibility of using the nukes, and that Iran wasn't bothering us so we had no business there. Needless to say, I was appalled. I'm not rooting for war with Iran, nor am I pleased with the idea that bunker busting nukes may be our best option to destroy Iran's nuclear program, but I realize that both are options that must be considered lest we turn on the news one morning to find that there is a mushroom cloud rising over Jerusalem, London, or Washington D.C. It was not the right time to educate my fellow diners, though, so I just offered the fact that sometimes during negotiations you let the other guy know what may be possible if there are not suitable gains made during the talks.

With this as a background, Mark Steyn has a long but excellent piece on Iran at City Journal. I recommend that even news junkies read it, but it would be a very educational piece for the news challenged. Steyn lays out why Iran should be a concern, how serious a threat the Islamic state poses to the west, and why no options should be ruled out. As I said, it is long, but here are a couple of interesting tidbits:

On Iran's plan to succede the USSR:
In 1989, with the Warsaw Pact disintegrating before his eyes, poor beleaguered Mikhail Gorbachev received a helpful bit of advice from the cocky young upstart on the block: “I strongly urge that in breaking down the walls of Marxist fantasies you do not fall into the prison of the West and the Great Satan,” Ayatollah Khomeini wrote to Moscow. “I openly announce that the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the greatest and most powerful base of the Islamic world, can easily help fill up the ideological vacuum of your system.”

On why Iran's history makes it more of a nuclear concern than, say, a nuclear Belgium:
Anyone who spends half an hour looking at Iranian foreign policy over the last 27 years sees five things:
  1. contempt for the most basic international conventions;
  2. long-reach extraterritoriality;
  3. effective promotion of radical Pan-Islamism;
  4. a willingness to go the extra mile for Jew-killing (unlike, say, Osama);
  5. an all-but-total synchronization between rhetoric and action.
Go and read the rest. Steyn is never dull, so I doubt that the length of the piece will even be noticed.

2005 state tax rankings

The Census Bureau has the 2005 state tax rankings complete. Check out how your state compares to others in per capita taxes.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Scary stuff

Europe simulated a financial crisis in the EU.

Europe's financial regulators have held a "war game" exercise, simulating a continent-wide financial crisis, amid fears they are ill- prepared to stop a problem in one country spreading across borders.

The exercise involved simulating the collapse of a big bank with operations in several large countries to see whether the European Central Bank, national central banks and finance ministries could work together to contain the crisis.

I'm glad to see that they are at least 'war gaming' the possibility of financial crisis. What is scary is that many of the individual state economies in Europe are ill, and if a crisis were to develop in one, it is easy to see it cascade into the others. If Europe crashes, I'm not sure that the American consumer and economy will be able to prop up the global economy.

A hypothetical situation

Let me lay out a hypothetical situation for you.

*Foreigners take control of the streets in major American cities.
*They fly their national flag while disgracing the American flag.
*They hold up signs in a foreign language.
*Legislators are intimidated by these marches in American streets and it affects the legislation they are willing to propose and pass.

Couldn't possibly happen, right? Nope, not here.

Global warming...a problem of the past?

As in, prior to 1998, since which the global temperature has been flat. From an opinion piece in The Telegraph:

For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).

Read the rest. Bob Carter, the professor who wrote it, absolutely carves up the global warming adherents.

Griffey Jr. gives bat to President Bush

I like Ken Griffey Jr. a little bit more today. As reported by Tom Haudricourt at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Oh, yeah. Good wood. The poor guy needs all the help he can get during these troubled times.” Cincinnati's Ken Griffey Jr., who presented one of his black-lacquered bats to President Bush on opening day, then was asked if it was one of his good ones.

Simple words, but in this era of chic celebrity Bush bashing, a very big gesture.

Congrats to Fred...I think

Fred at RealDebateWisconsin had an ongoing series of posts on the ethical lapses of the head of the Racine County Democratic Party, Kurt Vlach. Fred was a lonley voice in the story, offering to share it with the Racine and Milwaukee newspapers, only to have them avoided the sex laden story like it was a giant, stinking turd. Vlach eventually resigned. Today the Journal Sentinel had a piece on Fred's coverage. I wanted to congratulate him on it right away, but I was a bit torn on the whole thing. It was great to see him get the recognition he deserved, but the entire piece at the Journal Sentinel was at best a backhanded compliment. I was very disappointed in the Journal Sentinel. Fred had a pretty iron clad case against Vlach, but the article was almost dismissive. Given that, I'd like to congratulate Fred for keeping on the story, and I'd also like to offer the Journal Sentinel a roll of my eyes for the weasely way in which they finally reported on it.

I had to see it, now so do you

I was browsing through flickr's most interesting photos of the week tonight. For those of you not familiar with this feature, flickr chooses images uploaded during the week that they find most notable, and when you choose to view them, they randomly serve up nine at a time. I was blissfully enjoying the photos of skylines and cherry blossoms when I came across this photo. It's titled "The angle everyone's after..." That's right, folks. This photographer got the money angle on the Britney Spears bear rug birth photo. I couldn't decide if I wanted to cringe or laugh when I saw it. Warning-we're talking health class memories here.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Wiggling the big stick

From The Telegraph:

The Bush administration is planning to use nuclear weapons against Iran, to prevent it acquiring its own atomic warheads, claims an investigative writer with high-level Pentagon and intelligence contacts.

President George W Bush is said to be so alarmed by the threat of Iran's hard-line leader, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, that privately he refers to him as "the new Hitler", says Seymour Hersh, who broke the story of the Abu Ghraib Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal.
Remember something.

It sounds scary, but just remember Theodore Roosevelt's quote, "speak softly and carry a big stick." The stick is only as big as the one your opponent credibly thinks you're willing to use. We're being blackmailed pretty effectively by Iran economically, militarily, and through terrorism and nuclear weapons. Not all of their threats are credible, and a key to a diplomatic solution is Iran understanding that our threats are very credible.

Lounging in the sun

It's a lazy day at the Jib household. Even the neighborhood varmints are having a lazy day.

Maybe it's time

I wish I knew what was going through Brett Favre's head, but the events of the last 24 hours were just plain stupid. If he still did not know what his decision was last night, he should have let the press know in advance that he would not be announcing a decision. His personal assistant should not have been saying anything about the possibility of a decision being made, or there being a scoop to be had by being at the press conference.

Favre's golden reputation has started to tarnish in the last week. As much as I dislike Mark Chmura, Brett is starting to look selfish. His comment this week about deadlines, "what are they going to do, cut me?" went a long way to casting things in a different light. He was dead right with the comment, but it was drippinging in arrogance. Two years ago, Favre would have been entitled to that arrogance. For the last two seasons, though, Brett has occasionally shown a lack of fire in his belly. They have been little things that usually involve him not taking a hit in short yardage situtations, and it was most notable in the Minnesota playoff game last year when instead of going for the goal line in an attempt to score or get a first down, an opportunity that was there, he threw the ball from beyond the line of scrimmage to kill the play. Maybe last year he tried to get it all back together again with his preseason program, but the losing seemed to have gotten to him early and mentally he seemed to go into a slow downward spiral.

If Favre can't make up his mind after this much time has passed since the end of the season, I don't think he'll have the fire and competitive spirit to be the Brett Favre that we remember. In fact, I don't think we'll see a much better performance from him than we did last year. I'd like to see Brett retire with some of the records he deserves, but I don't want to watch him have a year that would've been subpar for Lynn Dickey in an effort to do it. I'd much rather see the Packers get on with their future now rather than dwell on there past for one more year. Maybe it is time, as much as I don't like it.

Great point on immigration

John Derbyshire makes a great point at The Corner in comparing the Hispanic immigration of today to the Northern European immigration of yesteryear and how it affects assimilation.
" Even setting aside the kind of mentality revealed in the La Raza memo Kathryn posted last week, which I am willing to believe is a minority point of view among Central-American immigrants, one of the most troubling things about the illegals is their cultural & linguistic uniformity. This is Samuel Huntington's point. It's a new thing in American history. The last Great Wave of immigrants was, well, diverse: Irish, Italian, Armenian, Polish, Jewish,... Thrown together in workplaces and (especially) public schools, they had to assimilate, and of course were encouraged to by the dominant culture. With a great majority coming from a single cultural source, bearing a single language, into a nation whose intellectual elites regard assimilation as a species of racist oppression, the situation is utterly different. If today's Latin American immigrants don't want to assimilate, they really don't have to. Certainly there is nothing like the assimilationist pressure on them that worked on the Great Wave immigrants.

Language is a huge part of having a common culture, and the diverse immigration of the 1800's helped make English a 'must learn' for immigrants so they could not only communicate with native born Americans, but with each other. There isn't that natural need for Hispanic immigrants. As long as they stay together, most can get away with not learning English. Eventually, one of two things will happen. Either Hispanics will more slowly assimilate over several generations instead of the more typical one generation of earlier groups, or we'll wake up one day and realize that the American Southwest is no longer culturally part of America, and if we face that, we are going to be facing a ton of problems. What scares a lot of people is that they can already see the latter happening.

A pall cast over my weekend?

Hopefully not, but it is possible that Brett Favre will retire in just under 7 hours.
Legendary quarterback and Hattiesburg resident Brett Favre has scheduled a news conference for Saturday morning, and a family spokeswoman said he’s expected to announce whether he’ll return to play for the Green Bay Packers this season.

Becky Stuart, a personal assistant to the Favre family, said the news conference would be held at 7:30 a.m. at Favre’s charity golf tournament at the Cottonwoods Golf Course at Grand Casino Resort in Tunica.

Hopefully the time and venue of the press conference indicate that he's coming back for his final season. If not, time to take that Packers out behind the barn and shoot them.

A pall cast over my laptop

I am one of eleven loyal Netscape users in the world. As I've said before, I went through some rough times with Netscape, but the 7.X browsers brough me back in the fold. When the 8.x browser came out, I installed it. It was good, but I can help but think the effort was equivilant to Netscape pounding the nails in its own coffin. It used Firefox and IE engines to render pages, for crying out loud. The 8.x browsers are okay, but I've still been partial to my Netscape 7.2 browser. That's probably going to be changing. The 7.2 browser is becoming increasingly unstable for some reason. Even Microsoft's error reporting service tells me to upgrade the browser. It may be time for me to take 7.2 out behind the barn and shoot it. Not to worry, though, Firefox lovers. I still have my Netscape 8.x horse in its stall.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The best time to engage Iran militarily

From my writing, it is obvious that Iran has been on my mind a lot lately. One of the things at the forefront of my mind has been, "what are the potential costs of trying to wait out Iran," and the potential costs always tell me it is better to do the unpalatable now rather than later. Military action against Iran is a stomach turning thought, though, so it leads into another question on my mind, which is, "when would we have the lowest potential cost to deal with the Iranian mullahocracy militarily?" I think I've finally come to a conclusion on that question.


Not that we can do much about that now. Thanks for the stellar and courageous leadership, President Carter.

1976 or 2006?

I'm always a sucker for these things. My favorite is the list of comments where you have to decide if it was made about George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan. In the 1976 comparison with 2006 piece, John Leo looks at how much things have changed in 30 years.

The cost of deportation

This is irritating. The illegal immigration debate has in many ways spun out of control and to me, this is just another example of that:
As Congress debates immigration reforms, some experts say the most extreme proposal — deporting millions of illegal immigrants — would be a huge legal and logistical morass, and ruinously expensive, too.

Officials at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which would be responsible for deportations, said they have no projections on what it would take to rid the United States of an estimated 12 million people.

But the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington, has put the cost at $215 billion over five years.

First off, let me say that I don't think we need to root out all 12 million illegal immigrants and escort each one back over the border. But $215 billion dollars to deport 9 million people? Who cooked up those numbers? Almost $24,000 per deportation? What a joke. If you put a $10,000 bounty on every illegal turned in you'd come out ahead according to those numbers.

Look, deportation of illegals can be done very passively and comparitively inexpensively. Local law enforcement deals with illegals on a daily basis, and they can usually figure out quickly who is and is not an illegal, or at the very least ID those they strongly suspect of being an illegal. Set up a secure communications system between local police and ICE, and suddenly you have an efficient way of ID'ing and deporting illegal aliens who cause trouble in the United States. Do you go out of your way to hassle the otherwise law abiding (except for that pesky border crossing) illegal alien? No, but if they come to the attention of law enforcement, they're fair game.

The above is a little simplistic, yes, and wrinkles would need to be ironed out. I didn't exactly have time to lay out the entire system this afternoon :-). The point is, that illegal immigrant number can be chiseled down with a serious law enforcement approach to deportation, and it can be done for a hell of a lot less than $215 billion.

"Always Happy Early"

That is the big call out on the first issue of Playboy in heavily Islamic Indonesia. How do you go to market with Playboy in Indonesia? You make Playboy less risque than say, Maxim or FHM.
A toned-down edition of Playboy magazine went on sale Friday in Indonesia, defying threats of protests by Islamic hardliners who called the publication a form of moral terrorism in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

The magazine does not feature nude women, and its photos of female models in underwear are no more risque than those in other magazines already for sale in the country. More explicit photos appear daily in local tabloids.

So what do you do if the poo hits the fan?

"Let the people look at it and see what they think. Hopefully they will accept it," said promotion manager Avianto Nugroho. "If there are demonstrations, we will try to meet their demands."

Meet their demands? I can't wait to see the 2006 Playboy Burkahmate of the Year.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

One, two, three bypasses you're out at the old ball game

The Des Moines Register, in honor of the first Iowa Cubs game of the season, has a lineup of some of the fine concessions at Principal Park. Here are a few of the delicacies:

DH (designated hitter): Foot Long Chili Cheese Dog (new!).
Stats: $6. It's a frank in a bun topped with tons of chili and melted shredded cheese.

Heavy hitter (No. 3): BBQ nacho (new!).
Stats: $6. Fried tortilla chips topped with barbecue pork, melted cheese and fresh veggies.

No. 9 (leadoff's on deck): Philly Cheesesteak (new!).
Stats: $5. It's a huge hoagie bun filled high with grilled steak and sauteed onions and peppers, topped with melted cheese.

Word on the street is that the Des Moines Mercy Medical Center will be building a second Iowa Heart Hospital underneath the bleachers in right field.

No una moneda de diez centavos

That would be a rough Babel Fish translation of "Not one dime". It would be appropriate for this amusing graphic (HT: Michelle Malkin):

Mike Royko, Circa 1982

I was a fan of Chicago columnist Mike Royko from the time I started reading newspapers. I don't that know that I've run across very many bloggers who were fans of Royko, too. I don't know if it is because bloggers tend to be too young to remember Royko, if it was because of his politics (he was a Democrat, despite all of his columns on Mayor Daley), or if it is just because it has been so long since he passed away. If you are a fan, though, you may enjoy this video of Royko from 1982 which Eric Zorn points out at the Tribune blog Change of Subject.

By the way, he's talking softball in the video.

The Gospel of Judas

National Geographic is releasing the recently found Gospel of Judas, a 1700 year old text likely written by Gnostics.

The account goes on to relate that Jesus refers to the other disciples, telling Judas "you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me." By that, scholars familiar with Gnostic thinking said, Jesus meant that by helping him get rid of his physical flesh, Judas will act to liberate the true spiritual self or divine being within Jesus.

Unlike the accounts in the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the anonymous author of the Gospel of Judas believed that Judas Iscariot alone among the 12 disciples understood the meaning of Jesus' teachings and acceded to his will.

This should be an interesting read. Just from that paragraph and a half alone, I'd have to say the authors would have made either great defense attorneys or political strategists in this day and age, given the way they work to acquit Judas of his actions.

Churchill v. Horowitz, tonight on FOX (News)

Well, this should be an entertaining matchup. Tonight on Hannity & Colmes, Ward Churchill will be debating David Horowitz. I've never really been impressed with Churchill's ability to defend himself when directly confronted. He's going to have a tough time with Horowitz, and I doubt he's going to get much in the way of assistance from Alan Colmes.

Czech man finds his French side

A Czech man stranded by a flood resorts to French cuisine:

A Czech man ate frogs and other small animals for four days after he was trapped on an island cut off by flooding, the daily Pravo reported Wednesday.

Zdenek Bucek, 30, was taking a short-cut through the woods near the southeastern town of Breclav when a flood wave trapped him on a small patch of high ground.

Thank goodness he wasn't in New Orleans for Katrina. He'd have been one of those cannibals we were hearing about 4 days after that flood.

Stadiums grow on trees in New York city

I'm glad that I had the chance to see both Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium last year. It looks like both are going to be little more than memories soon.

Women now choosing looks over wealth

Thank goodness I've already fooled the lovely Mrs. Jib into thinking I'll be the 50th POTUS (She must have been more of a 'power' gal). I'd never find me a gal now days if this is true:

The old adage that women look for wealth in a man appears to be under threat after research on Wednesday showed women are starting to put physical attractiveness above solvency.

And the fad of male pec implants begins...

Inside baseball, al Qaeda style

It looks like Osama bin Laden and Kahlid Shaikh Mohammed had just a wonderful relationship:

To hear Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed tell it, Osama bin Laden was a meddling boss whose indiscretion and poor judgment threatened to derail the terrorist attacks.

He also saddled Mohammed with at least four would-be hijackers who the ringleader thought were ill-equipped for the job. And he carelessly dropped hints about the imminent attacks, violating Mohammed's cardinal rule against discussing the suicide hijacking plot.

Read the rest. There is a lot of information in that LA Times article about what was going on behind the scenes in the al Qaeda higher ups prior to 9/11.

Note to self: Don't buy a home on the Red River

It seems like this happens every other year:

Swollen with melting snow and heavy rain, the Red River has spread across its broad valley. It was peaking in Fargo, N.D., at about 37 feet late Tuesday. Flood stage in Fargo is 18 feet and the crest was projected at around 37.5 feet. In Grand Forks, the river was rising quickly and could crest at 47.5 feet, said meteorologist Greg Gust of the National Weather Service.

Just another reason to never take a job in Fargo.

Resource limits on midwestern ethanol

A commentor recently told me that Minnesota had met its ethanol induced increase in demand for corn without growing any additional acreage. Even if additional acreage is grown, it may end up being tough for corn to meet enough of the ethanol created demand.
America produces nearly half the world's corn, one of the top crops for ethanol, but declining output, surging prices and demand from importers limit how much of the crop can be devoted to use as a motor fuel, an expert in the grain's trade said.
"We need all the ethanol we can get, but we can't get it all from corn," Pringle -- an expert in hedging, risk management, and basis trading in petroleum, natural gas and grains -- said at a commodities conference in this U.S. southeastern resort.
Pringle said water scarcity was limiting global production of corn and China was on its way to becoming a major grains importer as industrial development crowds out agriculture.

Midwestern farms and businesses are capitalizing now, but without great strides in yields, corn will not be able to meet the demand for ethanol. On top of that, corn will always be at a competitive disadvantage to ethanol created from sugar, which requires less work to convert. Simple economics says that if demand for corn rises due to ethanol demand, and there is a ceiling to corn production, and there are are cheaper and more efficient supplies, at some point it will become less than cost effective to make ethanol from corn.

I'm glad farmers are capitalizing on the current demand for corn created by the production of ethanol. I just hope that no one thinks that this is going to be a perpetual golden goose for the Midwest.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Thoughts on "unpatriotic"

“Don’t call me unpatriotic!”


Ugh.  I’ve seen that in so many forms from anti-war types over the past 3 years.  One thing that I’ve noticed is that in most cases, nobody called them unpatriotic.  Their response to thoughtful opposition to their point of view has more often spurned that response than someone actually calling them unpatriotic.  Is it a guilt thing?  Do they maybe feel a twinge of guilt somewhere deep inside because they know that they aren’t exactly helping the troops by opposing the war and ‘unpatriotic’ is how they feel?  Or is it just cliché to do it so everybody does?


One more thing.  I don’t toss that one, the unpatriotic claim, at war opponents.  But why the hell shouldn’t I be able to call you unpatriotic if that were my view of things?

Good luck, Katie Couric

Katie Couric has announced that she is leaving to take over CBS "Evening News." I wish her all the luck in the world. She is leaving the comparatively light hearted morning news circuit for the evening news, which I'm not sure suits her style, but I wish her luck just the same. She now has the job of increasing "Evening News's" ratings, and of shutting up skeptical old critics such as myself while also shutting up new critics who are also skeptical about her ability to transition from a morning news magazine to "Evening News." She's got her work cut out for her. If she's lucky, she won't experience the media hell that her predecessor on The Today Show, Deborah Norville, did. Given Couric's political leanings, though, I suspect she'll be given a little bit more slack than Norville.

Feingold supports legalizing gay marriage

"He's King Midas with a curse. He's King Midas in reverse." ~The Hollies

Russ Feingold is like the kamikaze pilot of Democratic Presidential hopefuls. He believes in what he is doing, even if it is suicidal and will most likely fail. His censure of President Bush was as well received by his Democratic colleagues as a Teddy Kennedy beer fart in a capitol elevator. Now Feingold, instead of leaving himself political flexibility by merely opposing gay marriage bans, has further further distanced himself from that all important middle ground of voters by outright calling for the legalization of it.

The Wisconsin senator said he is prepared to work with supporters of same-sex marriage to ensure that it is legal in the future.

"Further steps would be appropriate," he said, noting that his first priorities are to defeat the proposed Wisconsin amendment as well as a federal constitutional amendment that is expected to come to a vote in the Senate later this spring.

Feingold is much more politically tone deaf than I thought was possible. Does he not understand that if he just keeps his trap shut on Wisconsin's constitutional ammendment, it stands a good chance of failing all on its own? By him getting involved in the fight, he is going to alienate a lot of conservatives who are currently undecided and stand a good chance of voting no.

Feingold apparently has the most inflated sense of self worth for a Wisconsin Senator since McCarthy. It is going to interesting to watch the wheels come off of the Feingold '08 train this year. If he keeps up this pace, he'll be completely derailed by '07.