Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A barrier to assimilation in modern immigration

Is it possible to assimilate immigrants who perhaps have no interest in assimilating?

Mexicans are not your typical immigrants, it seems.

"We're not here for the American Dream,'' Gonzalez said. "We're here to survive.''

Read the rest of the column for the background on that quote from Jose Gonzalez, a former illegal immigrant and now U.S. citizen. The bigger point here is that the assimilation of Mexican immigrants, particularly illegal immigrants, may not be as easy as assimilating previous immigrant groups in this country. There is first the proximity to home issue, but more importantly there is the mindset Gonzalez imparts. Previous generations of immigrants came here for the American Dream, to become Americans. They could be assimilated over a generation or two because they wanted to assimilate. It is much more difficult to assimilate those who are unwilling to do so.

A peak inside Hastert's mind

Denny Hastert's recent blow up over the warrant served to search William Jefferson's and his subsequent complaints about the separation of powers has been mind numbingly stupid on Hastert's part. Again in Blankley's column today, we get a little peak what might have been behind Hastert's actions:

It is hard to believe that the speaker's unlikely outburst was entirely motivated by the incident in question. Rather -- though the speaker may not yet recognize the fuller source of his passion -- it may be simply the last straw.

The previous hundred bales of straw may well have been the White House's unseemly firing of Hastert's good friend CIA Director Porter Goss -- another event that occurred without the White House having the courtesy and common sense to previously inform the speaker.

Other bales of straw may include the Dubai Port deal, the president's egregious immigration initiative and last year's failed Social Security initiative (which was hotly, if privately, opposed on political grounds by Hastert's House).

It has been a hard year for House Republican/ White House relations. And it will get worse if the leaders of both institutions don't get a grip.

That says it all. It doesn't excuse Hastert's foolishness on this, but at least it helps explain where all of this might be coming from.

Paragraph of the month

In a piece on the Haster-Jefferson mess, Tony Blankley has the paragraph of the month, if not the year:
The attorney general (indeed anyone who has been in town an hour and a half) should know better than to needlessly ruffle the feathers of such a large and ungainly bird as Congress. While it cannot gain flight, its sheer wing flapping can cause violently turbulent air across the continent. (italics mine)


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

On good galactic empires, ewoks, and evolution

Over at Right Wing News last year, there was a discussion about whether The Empire from Star Wars fame should be worthy of a little more respect (HT-The Office of Homeland Security). It is an interesting thought, but I can't contribute to the conversation because I never followed Star Wars close enough to intelligently enter the debate. When it comes to Lucas's six films, the only mystery that I'm qualified to mull over is whether or not this guy is the genetic ancestor of these guys.

A glimpse into future: Pro-Iran, anti-U.S. rhetoric

Reuters reports:
A secret U.S. plan to attack Chinese nuclear weapons sites more than four decades ago prompted Mao Zedong to temporarily abandon efforts to improve living standards, Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.

Hmm. Interesting article and interesting timing from Xinhua. Something tells me that we're about to see some new anti-U.S. rhetoric as it pertains to Iran's nuclear program. Expect to see a lot of people blaming our efforts to forestall a nuclear Iran for piss poor living conditions in Iran. Expect a lot of people to ignore the fact that responsibility for poor living conditions still rests squarely with the Iranian leadership (and previously, with Mao's).

Living in an irrational age

Jenna has a good example of the irrational world we live in today. In that example, computers are accused of racism. Somewhere along the line, the world seems to have discarded a wonderful intellectual tool called logic.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Well, at least it's positive

I guess I'm happy. The New York Times has written a very positive story about the sailors that dock at New York City:

The city they are visiting is different from the city New Yorkers live in, even different from the city as experienced by other tourists. But it is also nothing like the one experienced by the untold thousands of sailors in untold thousands of ships who have come before them over the decades.

Once it was strip clubs and bars and tattoo parlors and girls. And while there still may be some of that, sailors who sauntered around Midtown on Memorial Day gave some surprising answers when asked how they experience New York City in the two or three short days they are here.

They mentioned frozen cappuccinos, and Off Broadway, and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, and architecture — specifically, terra cotta facades.

In the past, I'm sure that there have been sailors who have indulged themselves in some of the finer aspects of New York City-even in the seedy days. That may even be more the case today with the increased access most people have to "culture." But I've known many a soldier, and the salty side is still there. If the Times needs to envision all sailors as metrosexuals, good for them. It's nice to see this side of the military, even if I know that there is still plenty of trouble being found by the young and single sailors.

After the storm

We had unexpected severe thunderstorms late last week. As they blew in, they were not very picturesque, but the skies were quite interesting as they departed at sunset.
View from the south-southwest

View from the west

Band of Brothers

I set out to soak myself in war movies this weekend. I've done alright on that, watching several of The Duke's war movies and also The Great Escape. I'm surprised at how much the History Channel's Band of Brothers marathon is cutting into my movie watching. I loved the show when it was first on HBO, and I've wanted the boxed set of DVD's since it came out, but I had forgotten how good it was. I can barely tear myself away from it.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Memorial Day is a day for rememberance, despite current culture treating it as the kick off to summer. In fact, start thinking back on those who gave their lives in service of the United States today by reading about Medal of Honor recipients in your state (Wisconsinites can go here).

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Defintion: Removal of the epiglottis.

Reason for this post: I want to be the number one search result for epiglottisotomy. Someone, somewhere, will eventually call into work sick and offer the epiglottisotomy as an excuse.

The problem with premarital sex?

Grandma might get herpes:
Doctors said sexually transmitted diseases among senior citizens are running rampant at a popular Central Florida retirement community, according to a Local 6 News report.

A gynecologist at The Villages community near Orlando, Fla., said she treats more cases of herpes and the human papilloma virus in the retirement community than she did in the city of Miami.
Doctors blame it on Viagra and the fact that no one needs to worry about pregnancy. I say it is obviously the fault of abstinence education and Christian conservatives trying to keep grandpa and grandma ignorant of sex.

I also have this disturbing tune running through my head:
Grandma caught gonorrhea from Bob Reindeer
In our extra bedroom, Christmas Eve...

Illumination on the Bush Administration illegal immigration mindset

Tony Snow:

The White House on Friday said a Senate bill that would grant legal status to illegal immigrants is analogous to a traffic law that allows a speeder to pay a fine and continue driving.

"If you had a traffic ticket and you paid it, you're not forever a speeder, are you?" White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said in response to questions from The Examiner.

"So the fact is, you have paid your debt to society," he added. "And we have come up with a way to make sure that the debt to society gets paid. Then you move forward."

Every word on illegal immigration that comes from the Bush Administration should be viewed through the prism of those words. This immigration bill is not going to be satisfactory to conservatives, period. The Senate is tone deaf, our President is deeply invested in the Tex-Mex culture and refuses to see that it does not easily extend to the entire nation, and the House is going to be forced to compromise some important issues in their bill. We'll be revisiting this issue again soon-say in 10 years.

Indonesia, a nice place to visit but...

...I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't want to live there. In a story that will fly under the radar of most Americans because of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Indonesia was hit with an earthquake that has killed an estimated 3,000. Indonesia is a densely populated country that sadly is becoming expert at recovery missions.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Al Gore, Einstein incarnate

With the media fawning over Al Gore this week and his scientific credentials on global warming, I just thought I'd point out a paragraph from an article on his college experience in the March 19, 2000 Washington Post:

For all of Gore's later fascination with science and technology, he often struggled academically in those subjects. The political champion of the natural world received that sophomore D in Natural Sciences 6 (Man's Place in Nature) and then got a C-plus in Natural Sciences 118 his senior year. The self-proclaimed inventor of the Internet avoided all courses in mathematics and logic throughout college, despite his outstanding score on the math portion of the SAT. As was the case with many of his classmates, his high school math grades had dropped from A's to C's as he advanced from trigonometry to calculus in his senior year.

That isn't to say that Al Gore is dead wrong about global warming. I'm just saying that everyone should carefully consider who their source is.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Congressional Jesters

Sigh. I've been watching the William Jefferson, Dennis Hastert hulabaloo, and I don't have the words for the stupidity. I think Andy McCarthy probably has the best take on it:

You may have thought the Republican congressional leadership had run out of feet to shoot themselves in in their mind-boggling quest to place themselves, in the public mind, squarely on the side of coddling corruption rather than ridding themselves of a disgraced member. Nope.

Maybe it is just time to throw every incumbent bum out of Washington, regardless of party, with a small handful of exceptions. The current Congress is making me more and more sympathetic to term limits all of the time.

"You are Worthless Alec Baldwin"

I watched Team America with the lovely Mrs. Jib and her sister tonight. We watched the credits all the way to through for the first time, and we learned that at the end comes the greatest song ever, "You are Worthless Alec Baldwin" by Kim Jong Il. The lyrics are here. We've listened to it a dozen times tonight.

Victor Davis Hanson on illegal immigration

I envy Victor Davis Hanson's way with words:

Many Americans - perhaps out of understandable and well-meant empathy for the dispossessed who toil so hard for so little - support this present open system of non-borders. But I find nothing liberal about it.

Zealots may chant ÁSi, se puede! all they want. And the libertarian right may dress up the need for cheap labor as a desire to remain globally competitive. But neither can disguise a cynicism about illegal immigration, one that serves to prop up a venal Mexican government, undercut the wages of our own poor and create a new apartheid of millions of aliens in our shadows.

We have the entered a new world of immigration without precedent. This current crisis is unlike the great waves of 19th-century immigration that brought thousands of Irish, Eastern Europeans and Asians to the United States. Most immigrants in the past came legally. Few could return easily across an ocean to home. Arrivals from, say, Ireland or China could not embrace the myth that our borders had crossed them rather than vice versa.

Read the whole thing.

It's the end of the world as we know it...

...and I feel fine.

Don't forgot, according to one nut who has no facts to back up his hypothesis, part of a comet will crash into the Atlantic today, causing tens of millions of deaths and ending the world as we've known it. Have a great day!

War movie weekend

I passed on the opportunity to go up north for Memorial Day weekend this year, so I held out my hopes that an old tradition of war movie marathons on Memorial Day would come back. The last few years it has seemed like the cable networks have skimped on the Memorial Day war movies. I'm excited to report that I will be niether sleeping nor bathing all weekend, as both AMC and TCM have war movie marathons from Saturday through Monday. If my bleary eyes can see the keyboard, I'll be blogging over the weekend. I'd like to warn everyone that by Monday, I may have to resort to quoting John Wayne, as the lovely Mrs. Jib gets a glimpse at her golden years when she has to dab the drool off of my chin and change my Depends.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Taylor Hicks, your American Idol

I just don't get it. I guess I won't be his target market.

Edwin Meese: It's an amnesty

Remember just last week when John McCain said this?
"Call it a banana if you want to ... to call the process that we require under this legislation amnesty frankly distorts the debate and it's an unfair interpretation of it."

McCain may want to go get himself some bananas to shove in his yapper. Edwin Meese, Reagan's Attorney General at the time of the last amnesty had this to say:
Like the amnesty bill of 1986, the current Senate proposal would place those who have resided illegally in the United States on a path to citizenship, provided they meet a similar set of conditions and pay a fine and back taxes. The illegal immigrant does not go to the back of the line but gets immediate legalized status, while law-abiding applicants wait in their home countries for years to even get here. And that's the line that counts. In the end, slight differences in process do not change the overriding fact that the 1986 law and today's bill are both amnesties.

John McCain, the "Straight Talk Express," huh? If his bus driver swerves as much as McCain double talks, somebody may want to breathalyze him in '08.

The bird flu's human transmission problem

This is an addition to the post below, where I mentioned some of the science behind human to human bird flu transmission without a link. Here is the pertinent information.

Both reports found the H5N1 virus prefers to settle in cells deep within the lungs, rather than in the upper respiratory tract, as happens with human flu strains.

That's important because "most of the coughing and sneezing that transmits flu is going to be from the upper respiratory tract, and not way down in the lower respiratory tract," explained Dr. Arnold S. Monto, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. "So, unless you have relatively close contact, you're not going to have much [bird flu] virus get out."

Given the facts of the story below, I'd say that we are not yet on the precipice of pandemic. I still believe that if the bird flu ever does become easily passed from human to human, the change will occur somewhere like Indonesia, but the case everyone is discussing right is not an example of the mutation needed.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

More bird flu over reaction

The usual suspects were clucking today about this story about the bird flu. It seems that there was a string of human to human transmissions in Indonesia:

All seven people infected with bird flu in a cluster of Indonesian cases can be linked to other patients, according to disease trackers investigating possible human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus.

The story goes on to say that the seven had been in very close contact. I'd like to take a moment to remind everyone that it is not impossible to pass the bird flu from human to human, it just isn't easy. The virus, in its current incarnation, must infect deep into the lung tissue to infect a human. That is not possible from normal, casual contact, but it is from prolonged, close contact. It is the spread of the virus from casual contact that we need to be concerned with, not the spread from close contact like in this case.

"Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

Love his politics or hate them, that is one of the classic lines in Presidential & Vice Presidential debate history, delivered by Texas Senator and VP hopeful Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle in 1988. Rest in peace, Senator.

Paving the road for Al Gore '08

In a long piece, New York Magazine seems to be doing its part to try to pave the road for Al Gore in '08:
Hence the argument for Gore. To begin with, unlike all but a handful of Democrats, Gore, with his ties to the Netroots and his burgeoning personal wealth, could readily raise the requisite funds to take on Mrs. Clinton. Having loudly and steadfastly opposed the war, he could challenge her from the left. Yet on national security, he could simultaneously run to her right, given his long-held expertise about bombs and bullets and his advocacy of intervention in Kosovo and Bosnia; as a putative commander-in-chief, his credentials are beyond reproach (no small thing in an age of terror). Similarly, Gore’s anti-global-warming jihad would stand him in good stead with the greens and other liberals, while his long and demonstrated history as a moderate on countless other issues (from the deficit to “reinventing government”) would allow him to score with centrist Democrats who fear that Clinton is a once-and-future lefty.

There are only two problems with Gore '08. One, he's still Al Gore. Two, his politics are perhaps more depressing and dismal than they have ever been, and American voters don't respond to that the way they do to optomistic and hopeful candidates.

You can't rule him out, though. If Nixon can make a successful comeback, so can Al Gore. If he were to win the nomination, though, the first thing I would do is get commercials made that consist solely of video clips of Gore's rage over the past 4 years or so. You know the ones where he is yelling, his face is red, his veins are popping out, and he's irrigating his audience with spittle? At the end, viewers would simply be asked, "Do you really want this man as your President?"

Busting Iraq War myths has a good piece up today busting some of the more common anti-war myths floating about today. It is an important piece because the anti-war left learned a long time ago that if you repeat something enough, and get the media to amplify it for you, it doesn't matter if it is true or not-it becomes accepted fact. Go read it.

Monday, May 22, 2006


A big win for the beer league softball team-my first as a team captain. We more or less turned the tables on the drudging we received in the first game of the season. 4 for 4 with 3 doubles is a nice way for a guy to up his batting average, too. 5 for 7 on the season looks so much better than that 1 for 3 did.


In the past week, I've seen musings, mostly from conservative bloggers, that have looked at the Middle East and said things like, "What about Egypt?" and "What about Saudi Arabia?" and which have the advocated a harder line on those autocratic Middle Eastern nations. They bring up good points about the situations in those other countries, but they ignore something. Yes, our current foreign policy favors creating a new environment in the Middle East whereby the people are invested in their governance, but doing so creates instability until such time that new, more open governments are fully on their feet. We have enough on our plate with Iraq and Iran right now, so we don't need to go about creating instability across the entire region. That will not serve our purposes or the those of the citizens of Middle Eastern nations. This is a long process that will hopefully bring more stability and prosperity to those in the Middle East, and it can only be taken one or two steps at a time. The U.S. tolerating an Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or a Libya is not a sign of hypocrisy, but an admission that even we cannot help better an entire region over night.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

"Maximum force"

New Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki knows how to say the right things:

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki vowed to use "maximum force against terrorism" on Sunday, as bombs exploded in Baghdad during the first meeting of his national unity cabinet.
"We will use maximum force against terrorism, but we also need a national initiative," he said.
"Weapons should only be allowed in the hands of the government. Militias, death squads, terrorism, killings and assassinations are odd cases and we should put an end to the militias."

What's yet to be seen is whether saying the right things translates into doing the right things. For instance, that last quote should give pause to anyone who hears or reads it. If Democrats want to see a gun problem, they should go to Iraq and see a real gun problem. Iraq does need gun regulation with teeth, if only to use those regulations to put away terrorists. However, disarming the Iraqi society makes a lot of otherwise law abiding citizens very vulnerable to both terrorists and possibly to their own government when the day comes that the U.S. military is no longer there.

Learn from the stories of history

I'm about all bird flu'd out, but I can never get enough of oral histories. Reuters has an interesting little story about the Spanish flu, "La Grippe", of 1918-1919. A lot of money is being spent right now to come up with plans for a bird flu outbreak. Some of that money should be used to research and learn from these personal histories of "the grip." Any plan based off of that will be much more effective than one without.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Mary Landrieu should support drilling in ANWR

Lousiana Senator Mary Landrieu should support drilling in ANWR. Why? Because her storm battered Louisiana and New Orleans could possibly benefit. It has been said that one problem with drilling in ANWR is that, unlike natural gas, oil cannot be piped over the Rockies due to its thick consistency. The oil would either have to be only piped to the West Coast, where a portion of it would likely be exported to Asia, or shipped via tanker to the East Coast...or the Gulf Coast. What bigger boon could there be to the tattered Gulf Coast region than a growth in the storm damaged oil and refinery business? Everyone is worried about whether New Orleans can ever return to the major city it was prior to Katrina. Why not give the city a boost then by making it the Eastern United States hub for Alaskan oil in this day and age of expensive petroleum?

On "The Legacy of Feminism"

Brian at Anno Domini has an interesting piece up called "The Legacy of Feminism." I think that he's dead on with his analysis, but I would like to add a thought or two to it.

Feminism was on the right path towards strong acheivements until the 1960's and 1970's. At that time, two things happened. First, the focus of feminism changed. Oh, the focus was still equality, but it equality is a big idea. Whereas previously, the movement had been about the equality of opportunity, during this time frame it became about equality of results. Equality of opportunity allows everyone to become a high achiever if they leverage their talents and work their tails off. Equality of opportunity is about not throwing unnecessary road blocks in front of anybody. Equality of results is different, though. Equality of results is not about opportunity, but about making sure that everyone is at the same station of life. In order for that to be accomplished, some people must be held back, while others are given a boost. What we are now seeing with the achievement gap is the result of the Feminist movement's shift to equality of results, just like Brian says in his post.

The other thing that happened during the 1960's and 1970's was that the Feminist movement finally had an equal seat at the table of political power. This was a major achievement for women. Yes, today our political leaders are still largely men, but political influence and the opportunity to achieve elected office are equal for women. At the point this was accomplished, the Feminist movement began to act like the men who had held power for hundreds, even thousands of years. Their main goal when from advocating a worthy cause to consolidating and maximizing political power. No movement will ever let itself die when on the cusp of achieving its goals, and the Feminist movement is no different. It mimmicked what men had done for years, and it began to create problems or blow out of proportion small issues that were not really big problems. I'm thinking of you, Title IX, as a prime example. This advocacy for feminist causes at a time when women had achieve parity with men, began the process (which is still ongoing) of turning the tables in favor of women.

The good news is that we've begun to see that boys are being hurt by this, and there is hope that we can stop the slide for boys before it gets out of hand. The bad news is that your average feminist still thinks, or just wants you to think, that we still live in the stone age, and will likely fight any attempt to close the achievement gap or to stem the trends in poor (aka, boy like) behavior by girls.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Venezuela "war games" an invasion

Paranoia runs wild in the world today.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has for years predicted that a foreign
army would attack the South American nation to snatch its vast oil reserves.
A simulation conducted this week showed how it might happen.

A naval landing craft made landfall on the shores of Western Falcon state
carrying troops and over a dozen camouflaged tanks. The "invading" army then took over the massive Paraguana Refining Complex, a key asset of the world's No. 5 crude exporter.

The "occupation" is part of a military exercise to train troops and communities to repel a foreign invader.
"We're willing to go anywhere to defend our homeland," said Rosmery Trujillo, a participant in the operation, told state television. "This country will never again
be put under the boot of the North, thanks to our President Chavez."

Methinks Chavez's personal motto right now is "ignorance is a terrible thing to waste."

May 25th the date of the latest apocolypse prediction

This loon ain't quite predicting the end of the world, just the deaths of tens of millions (HT Fark):
Eric Julien, former military air traffic controller, twin engine jet pilot and
former instructor at astronaut Patrick Baudry's Space Camp -- Discovery Shuttle
flight -- has written four articles covering the high probability of a giant
tsunami in the Atlantic Ocean caused by the impact of a comet fragment near or
on May 25.

Does this mean people on the East Coast have to take that tuna and dried milk out from under their beds and hide it someplace higher?

Iran may dip into Nazi bag of depravity

Owen says this is disturbingly familiar. It is beyond disturbing.

Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.

"This is reminiscent of the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. "Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis."

I cannot count the number of times I've heard people say, "why didn't they see the warning signs?" in reference to the Holocaust and World War II. Well, they may have back then, but like today, fear and doubt blurred the view just enough to allow people to remain blissfully ignorant. Iran today is blaring out all of the old warning signs again. Do we see them clearly, or are we going to remain blissfully ignorant until it is too late, too?

The accuracy of the report in Canada's The National Post is being questioned.

The Iraq behind the media mirage

Accurately portraying events in Iraq is a difficult thing for a news agency to do. In most cases, they send reporters to a country those reporters do not know well themselves, and what we get is news created out expediency that focuses on the things any beat reporter could cover. That's why articles like this one by Amir Taheri are important. Anyone who wants to get the fullest picture of Iraq that they can should read Taheri's piece. He has a familiarity with the nation that goes back 40 years, and he shows many indicators that Iraq is moving in the right direction, indicators most reporters miss.

Does Taheri's piece focus exclusively on the good in Iraq? Yes, but only because there are others who are doing a fine job of broadcasting the negative. Ameri's piece is an attempt to clear the picture of Iraq for Americans who have a distortedly negative view of what is going on over there. Read the entire thing, even though it is long.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

E.R. has officially jumped the shark

This gun fight at the end of the episode? Yeah, okay. I was willing to buy a lot of things from E.R., including a helicopter landing on Dr. Romano. This is absurd.

No monkey pox here

No killer alligators, either. I just wanted to get that out in the open, just in case y'all were staying away in droves because you may have feared for your life for some reason. Jiblog is certified safe. Tell your friends.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Proof that Iran is crazier than North Korea

During the 1990's, North Korea was bribed offered a light water nuclear reactor in exchange for giving up their nuclear ambitions. North Korea took the deal, and continued with their nuclear ambitions. Fast forward to today, and the Europeans say, "hey, remember when we bribed offered North Korea a reactor and they let us save face by pretending to give up on their nuke plans? That was pretty succesful, let's try it again with Iran!"

Iran was given the chance to walk all over the West. All they had to do was pretend to give up their program and the spotlight would be taken off of them, they'd get a reactor for free, and they could quietly pursue their nuclear program again later, just like North Korea. They not only turned it down, they made fun of the offer.
Iran's president mocked a package of incentives to suspend uranium enrichment,
saying Wednesday they were like giving up gold for chocolate — defiance that
appeared certain to complicate U.S. efforts to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

My how far the art of diplomacy has sunk in the West. Not only have the Europeans resorted to trying to buy off Iran, the West can't even see that there is no diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program. Iran is going to accomplish its nuclear ambitions come hell or high water, and they are not going to be talked out of it. The only hope to avoid military confrontation or a nuclear Iran is for some sort of internal conflict to develop in the Islamic Republic. Personally, I have no confidence that either Europe or the United States will do anything substantive to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. This is one time I hope I'm wrong.

What I want to see

I want President Bush to give a speech on primetime TV in which he takes the Democratic platform, limp though it may be, and say that he is in favor of everything on the list.  I then want to watch Democrats reflexively turn their guns on their own platform out of their hatred for everything that is Bush.  That is what I want to see.

Unintended consequences of unchecked legal immigration

With estimates that one of the immigration bills under consideration would allow anywhere from 100 million to 190 million new legal immigrants into the country over the next 20 years, both free market conservatives and libertarians, as well as humanitarian liberals and progressives should take pause. Robert Samuelson explains why at Real Clear Politics:

How fast can they assimilate? We cannot know, but we can consult history. It is sobering. In 1972, Hispanics were 5 percent of the U.S. population, and their median household income was 74 percent of that of non-Hispanic white households. In 2004, Hispanics were 14 percent of the population, and their median household income was 70 percent of the level of non-Hispanic whites. These numbers suggest that rapid immigration of low-skilled workers and rapid assimilation are at odds.

The difficulties are obvious. Competition among them depresses wages. Social services are stretched thin. In 2000, children of immigrants already represented a quarter of all low-income students in U.S. schools, reports an Urban Institute study. The figure is probably higher today. The study also reports that immigrant children are rapidly spreading beyond the six states where they had traditionally concentrated (California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, New York and New Jersey). This may explain why immigration has suddenly become such an explosive issue. '

Although we will always see the immigration of the skilled, talented, and/or wealthy to this country, immigration is largely the realm of the poor or oppressed. If we see the huge numbers of legal immigration that reports estimate would be allowed for, we are going to create a crisis at the lower economic rungs of our society. There are going to be only so many low paying jobs, and as competition increases for them, they are only going to pay less in real wages. The rest of the economic ladder can only absorb so much in social safety net costs before the economy as a whole suffers. Bringing in that many legal immigrants is anything but compassionate for poor legal immigrants looking for a better life. If anything, it is going to keep them buried at the bottom of society. I'm all in favor of robust legal immigration at the skilled and unskilled ends, but let's do it at sustainable numbers, shall we?

A word of caution on split government

I've seen an idea start to spread around the conservative blogosphere, and I'm nervous that people are buying into it. The idea usually goes a little something like this:

Remember what happened after the Republican Revolution in 1994? The split government led to lower spending, a budget surplus, compromise by Bill Clinton on Republican issues, etc., etc., etc.

This idea is usually presented as something of a silver lining to the possibility of Democrats winning Congress this fall. The problem is, it isn't a silver lining but a fantasy caused by people making the wrong comparison. If the Democrats take Congress, I guarantee you will not see any comparison to the post 1994 time frame. Back then, Republicans had momentum created by their conservative "Contract with America". They used those conservative ideas to try to paint President Clinton into a corner as a stereotypical Democrat at a time when stereotypical Democrats were not all that popular in this country. That's why split government accomplished what it did back then.

2006 would be a different story. Democrats would have momentum, and they certainly wouldn't use it to accomplish conservative friendly things like cutting spending. They would run Congress similarly to the way they did under Reagan, and if you recall they spent like drunken sailors under Reagan. Reagan had political capital to broker deals and to threaten legislation with vetoes, though. President Bush does not have that. What we would face would be terrible deals brokered by a weakened President that would see spending increase even more than it already has, some sort of tax increases, and a whole boatload of social legislation that would leave conservatives besides themselves.

The only silver lining to be had from a split government with Democrats in control of Congress is that it would bring many CINO/RINO Republicans back into the conservative fold for '08. That's all. So be very cautious when reading comparisons between a potential 2006 split government and the one that followed the 1994 election. They are two different beasts.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Two new pet peeves

I've got two new pet peeves, and I'd like to share them with everyone.

New pet peeve #1: Flip-flops worn at work.
I'm sorry ladies, but you are exclusively responsible for this pet peeve. You should not be wearing flip-flops in the office. The modern office is a cubicle farm that is encapable of blocking out noises. Therefore, when I am deep in concentration or in the middle of an important call, I can hear you walking from half way across the office. Flip, flop, flip, flop, flip, flop, flip, flop. This didn't begin to bother me until one hot day at work. On that day, three different people in my area were wearing flip-flops. And their feet were sweating. And they all walked around a lot that day, with their feet making a disgusting schhhhlip-schhhhlop sound. Now, in addition to disturbing me while I work, the sound of flip-flops make my skin crawl.

New pet peeve #2: Non-phoenetic unusual names
I'm a conservative, so I tend to prefer normal names, but I don't besmirch anyone their unusual names. I'll even try my damndest to pronounce it correctly. Just don't button hook me when I'm not expecting it by pronouncing the name differently than it looks. The most egregious sin? Silent syllables. C'mon, now. That's not even fair.

A strategy for more conservatism

Frustration with the Republican party's lack of conservatism has been boiling over lately and a lot has been written on the topic. One of the more disturbing ideas tossed about is for conservatives to just stay home on election day. Doing that accomplishes nothing. Literally. If you are frustrated, and i know you are, read this conservative strategy by Jim Geraghty. I'm not going to excerpt it because the entire piece needs to be read. Go. Now.

Back? Good. I'll briefly address the options he presents.
1. Boiled down, this is what Chris had said either in a post or the comments at the Badger Blog Alliance recently. Vote for the person, not the party. If you don't like a Republican incumbent, vote for his opponent in the primary. You do not need to defeat an incumbent in a primary to send a message. If an incumbent expects to win a primary with 90% of the vote, and they only win with 65% of the vote, then a strong message has been sent. If that person choose's to ignore it, he or she will feel the consequences in either the general election or the next time their seat is up for grabs.

2. Can't stand the candidates in a given race? Leave that race blank or write someone in. By voting in other races, you still exert your influence over the political whole. Leaving a race blank or writing in a candidate may not send a direct message to an incumbent RINO because it isn't a widely used strategy by American voters. The more it is done, the more influential the tactic will become.

3. Politics is pragmatic. I like very pure conservatives because they apply rightward pressure on politics, but you will find darn few elected officials that are pure conservatives on every issue. The reason for that is elected officials have to: A) Compromise to get what they want passed in most cases, and B) Need to appeal to more than just conservatives to win elections. You don't have to like that fact, but it is a fact. Deal with it.

I would add one thing. Staying home is defeatist. So is voting straight ticket Libertarian or Democrat, although to a lesser degree. If you want a more conservative Republican party, apply direct pressure to the wound, don't cut the arms and legs off to solve the problem.

A lame duck. With bird flu.

How squandered is the political capital of President Bush?

It is so squandered that I, a person he and the Republican party should want tuning into a prime time speech, ignored last night's address to the nation on his immigration plan. I am hopeless that they will find the right solution. I am convinced they are going to do the wrong thing for this country, and that is to temporarily tighted up on illegal immigration now, then when everyone is looking the other way, let things go back to as they were on the border with Mexico while massaging through an amnesty for the illegals that are already here. I have zero faith they will fix anything. And Democrats-you want to take back Congress? You don't even enter into this conversation because all you offer is opposition, not solutions. If you want to win anything, you'd better stop blathering and start accomplishing something.

Look, I favor legal immigration. This nation was built on the back of legal immigrants. Legal is the key word, here, though. Letting people into this country willy-nilly with zero controls is a strategy for disaster. Yes, I'd say that a lot of the illegal immigrants in this country are good people. Unfortunately, we have no filters to keep out the criminals, and yes, Mexico has criminals. It also has politicially disaffected guerillas. And the current border situation is a dream for any terrorist bent on causing us harm. Legal immigration creates American citizens. Illegal immigration is the recipe for a boatload of problems, and it is not in the best interest of America, and it is not in the best interest of those illegal immigrants who are good people. A nation serious about controlling its borders is looking out for the best interests of the nation as well as immigrants. Too many in Washington aren't serious about it, though, and that includes the President. He may as well take a vacation for his last two years of his term.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Must read of the day, 5/15/06

This piece in Commentary, entitled "Lee Harvey Oswald and the Liberal Crack-Up" is today's must read. It is an interesting look at how the Kennedy assassination and events before and afterwards have contributed to the current state of liberalism. It is a long read, but it contains a number of interesting thoughts.

Sight of the weekend

Seen: A bumper covered with stickers full of squishy 1960's liberal and environmental catch phrases like "Peace," "Co-exist," etc.

Where: On the bumper of a gas guzzling SUV that was tearing ass on eastbound I-90/I-94 near Mauston, Wisconsin. I was able to read the stickers because the driver of the SUV was driving extremely aggressively and nearly put both of us in the ditch by cutting me off-and fully intentionally at that.

Yep. Peaceful, co-existant driving right there. Good for the environment, too.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The government and your phone records

I'm noticing a lot of bloggers who are very upset over the government data mining phone records. I'm not prepared to say that you are all wrong, because I'm leery about the tentacles of government creeping into our lives, too, but my first instinct is that the anger is misplaced. As much as I hate to say it, your phone records are not private, they are the property of the phone companies to do with as they see fit. If you are upset that the government is data mining, do you get as upset knowing that the companies are selling your data all the time, and much of it is more sensitive than what calls are made from your phone number? Would it be better for you if the government paid for this data like any other company?

I am in favor of pushing back on the government regularly so it knows its bounds. I'm not overly worked up about push back on this issue, either, but the anger is a bit out of scale with the offense. The data mining of phone records, while something that we may not want our government involved in, was likely not illegal. In the modern economy, we willingly give over oodles of private information with every transaction we make, and that information becomes the property of and a revenue stream for every company we deal with. If you don't like the fact the government can access this data, then maybe you should start working with Congress to ensure that data that companies collect on you remains property of you alone and cannot be transferred. Then the data will be private, and then you can say that the government needs warrants to obtain it. The only problem is, doing so will significantly reduce the convience and fluidity of the modern economy.

All for naught

Drove the lovely Mrs. Jib and her sister to the Allstate Arena in Chicago tonight.

Braved the Chicago area traffic.

Fought the wind and rain.

Got there.


Lead singer had laryngitis.

Postponment decision made late.

Kinda pissed off about 4 hours in the car, gas, and tolls, all for naught.

Snow's job... starting off as anything but a snow job. I like Tony Snow, and I like how he's come out of the gate as Press Secretary today, blasting out emails correcting what the administration considers to be incorrect coverage by the media. He ain't going to make many friends in the press corps this way, but it is a necessary move to get the administration's side of the story told.

I'm rooting for Snow in his new position. He's a Leinie's drinker, so how could I not?

The sounds of crickets

From tonight through Monday, it is going to be a little quiet here. I've had a busy past month, and it continues still. Tonight I'm chauffering my lady and her sister to a concert in Chicago. Tomorrow evening I'll be driving up to Chippewa Falls for the Mother's Day weekend. My parents have dial up, but I try to avoid tying up their phone line. Then Monday night the beer league softball team will again be shooting for its first victory of the season. Hopefully after that things will settle back down a bit and I'll be able to resume my regular posting schedule. Until then, there will be sporadic posts as I get the opportunity to do so.

Gmail sucks

Gmail is an okay application but not a great one. One area where is particularly falls short is in group conversations. If you don’t use Gmail (and who doesn’t, it seems like), let me explain. When you have a conversation in Gmail, it stacks the responses. Whereas on other email applications, each response is its own separate email, in Gmail it becomes part of a thread attached to the original email.

This afternoon I started a lively little group conversation. Sometimes during group conversations, little sidebar conversations develop amongst participants. With Gmail, if you aren’t careful, you can easily send your sidebar email to the wrong person. That happened today (not to me, though). It was a bit embarrassing for the person involved and irritating for the person who got the mail. So today’s lesson is: Gmail’ers, always check and double check your to: line before sending.

Ah yes, but Gmail does not suck as bad as Outlook does. I emailed this post to Blogger in February or March. It never went through, so I re-wrote the post in Blogger. I also blamed Blogger for the problem. As it turns out, after I hit the send button in Outlook, this email and about 3 others hung out together in some shady back ally of the internet. Something last night finally kicked all 4 of them loose (there may have been more, I'm not sure). This is like sending a love via the U.S. Postal Service and seeing it finally delivered 13 years later...and two years after divorcing the addressee.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Justified job application falsification

Ugh. They're writing stories about Lechner again. With every word that is written about the turd, the value of my degree from UW-Whitewater is cut in half. I think I'm just going to start telling everyone that I graduated from UW-Eau Claire.

Congress not as interested in gas prices as you might think

Congress has been blustering about gas prices a lot lately, tossing out ideas of investigations and windfall profit taxes. If you thought they were serious about actually doing something substantive about chipping away at fuel costs, though, you were just fooling yourself. Example A:

President George W. Bush's proposal to drop a tariff on imported ethanol isn't likely to get through Congress, Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) told Agriculture Online Wednesday.
Johnson said Wednesday that there's too much opposition for that to happen.

"I think we're going to be able to beat this back. We have bipartisan support on the Senate side for maintaining the tariff," he said.

Next time you hear a blowhard in Washington whip him or herself into frenzy on gas prices, remember that it is all just political positioning. They don't really care about how much you spend on gas, all they care about is where their political bread is buttered, and in this case it is with farmers and the ethanol industry, not you.

Skateboarding 101

The Apocolypse is surely upon us:

The kids at Douglass Elementary School already had a climbing wall and a zip line in their gymnasium. Then their P.E. teacher learned to skateboard.

So the students are taking up skateboarding too. It's the latest in a trend toward physical education that's fun and tempts kids into staying active outside of school and perhaps years later.

And for once, the expectation is that the kids don't shower after class. I imagine most teachers will be offering extra credit for big scabs and raspberries, too.

Money, influence, or attention?

Sirius Satellite Radio, the brand that I bought my dad last Christmas, made Howard Stern a very wealthy man, and it brought Stern a lot of attention earlier this year when he switched over. Stern is still rich, but his influence and attention are waning, so now rumors are flying:

Forget the various rumors and rumblings. Howard Stern made it clear Wednesday morning: He's staying put on satellite radio.

"I'm very flattered terrestrial radio can't let go of me," Stern said on his morning radio show. "But I would throw up if I had to go back. I'm never going back."

Remember those words. The FCC was the perfect foil for Stern, and butting heads with them had the side effect of fans lavishing him with attention. I give it until 2008, and Stern will be back on terrestrial radio.

New! The Sharper Image Ionic Smog Machine!


Using a popular process called ionization, the air cleaners can actually generate ozone levels in a room that exceed the worst smog days in Los Angeles, a new study finds.

The devices are popular in urban areas. They are touted as getting rid of dust, pollen and other airborne particles.

I can't wait until they start issuing Ozone Action Days for people's living rooms.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Facebook, the drug

Heh. This video is amusing to an old fart such as myself, for whom Facebook is an exclusive club of the young.

You stink, Madison!

Madison, Wisconsin, isn't number one for families:
Where's the best place to raise your family in America today? How about
Louisville, Colo.?

So say Bert Sperling and Peter Sander, authors of Best Places to Raise Your
Family: The Top 100 Affordable Communities in the U.S. (Frommer's,

Damn, Madison! For such a self proclaimed great place to live, you didn't even make the top ten in this list.

(Obscene number) to 9

During the beer league softball off season, I assembled what I believe to be an extremely talented group of men to obliterate my local 'D' league. That myth lasted one game. Tonight, despite a pretty good night of defense on our part, we were destoyed by our opponent. I really hope things get better, because I'm not sure we can handle being obliterated like this too much.

Bzzp! Zap!

That's the sound of some liberals short circuiting because of this:
Rupert Murdoch has agreed to host a political fundraiser for Hillary Clinton
this summer, the FINANCIAL TIMES is reporting!

Murdoch's surprise
decision to raise money for Clinton in July, on behalf of NEWS CORP., parent
company of FOXNEWS and the NEW YORK POST, underlines a dramatic turn of
relations between Murdoch and Clinton, who in 1998 coined the phrase “vast
rightwing conspiracy” to denounce critics of her husband.

This is doubly funny. Not only are some liberals short circuiting over this news, the Kosites now probably feel vindicated in their anti-Hillary stance. See that shooting star over there? It used to be Hillary Clinton, 2008 Presidential candidate.

Monday, May 08, 2006

"We'll drill for that oil!"

I hate Cuba getting the upperhand hand on the U.S., but given my current opinion of politicos, I think that this is funnier than hell:
Few Americans paid much attention last year when Cuban President Fidel
Castro announced China would help explore potentially large oil reserves off
Cuba's northwest coast - not far from the Florida Keys.

But now - with gas prices climbing above $3 a gallon - the prospect of
China drilling near the United States has become a hot political issue as two of
the world's largest economies vie for new sources of energy.

Some members of Congress warn that China and other countries could lock
up oil supplies at a time when U.S. companies are barred from doing business
with Cuba because of a 43-year-old trade embargo.

"We sit here watching China exploit a valuable energy resource within
eyesight of the U.S. coast,'' said. Sen. Larry Craig, an Idaho Republican.

Whose fault is that, Senator Craig? Quit bitching and do something about it.

Ahh, but wait. Senator Nelson hopes to stop the Cuban drilling altogether:

But Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, worried that a Cuban oil spill could hurt the state's environment and $50-billion tourism industry, wants to block drilling in Cuba's northern waters.

"Any oil spill 45 miles from Key West is going to absolutely devastate all those delicate coral reefs, the fragile Florida Keys,and would endanger pristine beaches all the way up to Fort Pierce,'' said Nelson, a Democrat.

Yep. There ya go folks. Senator Nelson isn't unhappy because the Cubans might drill oil that we should have been drilling for years ago to prevent this current pinch we're in. He's unhappy because there is a one in one thousand chance some oil might spill. I bet he'd vote to tax oil companies profits derived from an artificially tight market, too.

I really hate saying this, but maybe we'll be better off if some Senators and Reps are embarrassed by Cuba harvesting oil we should have been on years ago.

Newest political fad: The 1970's

If you were a politician, one would think that you would do precisely the opposite of almost anything that was done in the hideous 1970's. Apparently, the 1970's are high fashion for today's politicos, though:

The reason why many states instituted gas rationing in 1979 - depending on your license plate number you could only buy gasoline on specified days - was, as today, the tightness in supply. The shortage in supply has not led to suggestions of rationing these days.

In response, Congress passed and President Jimmy Carter signed a windfall-profits tax on oil companies were making huge profits. Those prone to see conspiracies saw the oil firms as profiteers. By March of 1981, the cost of a gallon of gasoline in today's dollars averaged more than $3.10, slightly higher than now.

The windfall-profits tax may have been good politics, although it did not help Carter get re-elected.

But it was lousy policy. Between 1980, when the law took effect, and 1986, when a crash in energy prices made it irrelevant, domestic oil production fell 1.3 billion barrels. That's because the tax removed the incentive for companies to produce more, and at the margins they left their crude in the ground.

If a windfall profit tax had that effect in the 1980's, it will have that effect today. Keep it up, boys and girls of the swamp. You'll sink this economy yet.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The new perfume craze for lecherous teachers

Coming to a school teacher near you: Play-Doh perfume.
Call it "eau de Doh."

Play-Doh perfume is hitting store shelves as part of the venerable toy's 50th anniversary celebrations, Hasbro announced yesterday.
In the announcement, Hasbro said the perfume would likely appeal to "highly creative people who seek a whimsical scent reminiscent of their childhood."

And to teachers like Debra LaFave. And there is a joke about eating the Play-Doh here, but after having written & deleted it, I'll leave the punch line to you.


Dispassionate. Unmotivated. Hopeless. Alienated.

I'm not sure which is they right word for how I feel about politics and the Republican party right now. Maybe it is all of them. Both Congressinal and State Legislative Republicans have taken the starch right out of me with their horrific leadership the last couple of years. I have a tremendous desire to unplug myself from politics.

Now, there may be a Republican or two that would be short sighted enough to hope that I will (I won't, by the way). After all, with fewer people like me buzzing in their ears, the easier it is for them to rule their fiefdoms as they see fit. Unfortunately for them, if people like me start unplugging from politics, they are going to be woefully short of friendly voters come election day. The vacillation they show, the unsound policies they back, and the questionable positions they take all leave me wanting. The bad news for Republicans is that feelings like this in the electorate could spell disaster for them in this year's elections. The good news is they'll have two years to turn themselves the hell around before the next presidential election.

"Ruth did it on hot dogs and beer"

Sometimes, albeit not very often, you have to love Philadelphia sports fans.

"Hand Cannons"

Heh. I was reading a Slate article on Smith & Wesson's re-emergence as the hand gun market leader via their new big-bore hand guns when I came across a trade term that I'd never heard of before: "Hand cannons." Catchy. I like it a lot-almost as much as another term-"Street Howitzers."

Bush: World War III

Apparently, President Bush will be saying in a CNBC interview that he agrees with David Beamer's opinion that Flight 93 was, "the first counter-attack to World War III."

Perhaps that is true, but if it is, large swaths of the world haven't confronted their role in it yet. Until there is a terrorist event that inflicts massive casualities (we're talking thousands or more) in a first world country besides the United States, most of the world will continue to squirm in their attempts to avoid confronting reality. Reality is that there are people in this world that want to subject the entire planet to the rule of one ugly religion. If that ever happens, then this will become World War III. Until then, it will be the U.S. against radical Islam. The world should hope and pray that we can continue our resolve. If we don't, the scourage of terror will quickly and massively spread to all the nations of the world. There will be no common war front. It will be a war of many local-regional battles.

Friday, May 05, 2006

How a New York Times error ripples through America

A week and a half ago or so, I read a New York Times story about a new Airbus seating map that would have passengers standing in their planes during flights. Power Line reports on the Times' correction on that story:

On Tuesday, the Times ran a correction that acknowledged a fundamental error:

During preparation of the article, The Times's questions to one aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, were imprecise. The company now says that while it researched that idea in 2003, it has since abandoned it. The article also misstated the capacity of the Airbus A380 superjumbo jet. The airliner can accommodate 853 passengers in regular seats; standing-room positions would not be needed.
The problem with an error like that is that, because it is a New York Times story, it becomes fact and the buried correction never changes that. This afternoon I was listening to The Green House on 620 WTMJ AM out of Milwaukee. The show's news guy, Phil Cianciola, in reference to airlines getting greedy, alluded to the fact that we'll all be standing in airplanes like we do in subways, and I'm sure it was based off of this story. As it turns out, what Cianciola said on the radio to tens of thousands of southeastern Wisconsinites was incorrect, but it really wasn't his fault. It was in the Times, after all. Because of the Times' shoddy reporting, thousands upon thousands of Milwaukeeans now have a false view of where the airlines' business plans are headed, and it will be near impossible to clear this myth from the public consciousness. The New York Times, which likes to think of itself as the "paper of record" (even if it shies from that description) has done such a good job marketing itself as such that it really needs to hold itself to an impeccable standard. Unfortunately for all of us who appreciate fact and truth in discussions of the public realm, the Times does not. If some of you wonder why some of us are always so hard on the Times, this is a prime example. Every error by the Times further fouls public conversations, and it will remain that way until the Times takes up its mantle as the paper of record or until the paper is sufficiently discredited. Which ever occurs, it will be the choice of the Times.

A proposed trade with Mexico

With illegal immigration being the popular story of the day, this story got me thinking a little when I heard it on the radio yesterday:

Mexican President Vicente Fox will sign a bill that would legalize the use of nearly every drug and narcotic sold by the same Mexican cartels he's vowed to fight during his five years in office, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The list of illegal drugs approved for personal consumption by Mexico's Congress last week is enough to make one dizzy — or worse.

Cocaine. Heroin. LSD. Marijuana. PCP. Opium. Synthetic opiates. Mescaline. Peyote. Psilocybin mushrooms. Amphetamines. Methamphetamines.

And the per-person amounts approved for possession by anyone 18 or older could easily turn any college party into an all-nighter: half a gram of coke, a couple of Ecstasy pills, several doses of LSD, a few marijuana joints, a spoonful of heroin, 5 grams of opium and more than 2 pounds of peyote, the hallucinogenic cactus.

Look, Vincente Fox loves illegal immigration into the United States because it is a steam release for the Mexican ruling elite. They've dominated Mexico for years and years, and a significant underclass has developed. That underclass might have thought that Fox would be a change from the previous PRI, but he really wasn't. If the U.S. clamped down on illegal immigration, and those who were frustrated with the conditions in Mexico were forced to stay in Mexico, the ruling elite would face the possibility of a popular revolt within a decade or two. I understand the Mexican government's resistance to us treating our border like, well, a border-it's because they fear those frustrated Mexicans staying in Mexico. So here is what I propose. We'll take Mexico's frustrated underclass and give them the opportunity to better themselves. In exchange, Mexico accepts and keeps our narco-tourists. Straight up trade. What do you say, Vincente?

Zarqawi's got a gun

I have a solution to the problem of capturing or killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. We have Cheney, armed with a shotgun, go mano y mano with him, armed with an automatic weapon. From FOX:

But as the previously unseen video was shown, Lynch mocked al-Zarqawi, suggesting his weapon jammed and he was unable to fix it.

"It's supposed to be automatic fire, he's shooting single shots. Something is wrong with his machine gun, he looks down, can't figure out, calls his friend to come unblock the stoppage and get the weapon firing again," Lynch said.

"This piece you all see as he walks away, he's wearing his black uniform and his New Balance tennis shoes as he moves to this white pickup. And, his close associates around him ... do things like grab the hot barrel of the machine gun and burn themselves," the military spokesman added.

Make sure you go to the link and watch the video for yourself. I do think I'd place my money on Cheney.

Boycott MI3 with me

I'm not the boycott type person, but I'm going to make an exception for Mission Impossible III. First, I loathe Tom Cruise. I loathe his big fake smile. I loathe what he is doing to Katie Holmes. I loathe Scientology. That would normally be enough, but then tonight I went to the Chicago Tribune. I wanted to go to the Trib blogs that I read regularly when this happened to my screen:

Here's a tip for online marketers. People will respond to online advertising...unless you interfere with their online experience. This was a huge intrusion upon my experience at the Tribune. Not only did I not go to the official site to see more about MI3, I closed out the window and didn't read a damn thing at the Tribune's site. And now here I am, encouraging others not to see Tom Cruise's latest flick.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

R.I.P., Chuck Rooster

Chuck Rooster, ????-May 4, 2003.

Can you still consider this blogging?

So I'm going through my feed reader, catching up on this week. I get to Instapundit, and I see that I have 68 posts to read. I scroll down. I swear the words that Glenn Reynolds excerpts out numbers the words he writes two to one. I'm grateful that he takes the time to read a lot because his site is somewhere that I can go to cut through the clutter of sources, but is it still blogging if you add so little content yourself?

A note to the E.R. writers

Hi E.R. writers. You don't know me, but my wife and I are part of the reason you are making nice money from this gig. We've been long devoted viewers of E.R., and we rarely miss an episode. In tonight's episode, you decided to start out with the Africa story line. Sorry to say it, but we're sick of the Africa storyline. It no longer has major relevance to the main story. We turned the channel.

Now I know that you, the writers, have enjoyed interjecting your politics and world view into the show for a few years now. I think that is stupid, but hey, it hasn't hurt you too much yet. If you'd like to continue to make social statements via an E.R. that gets healthy ratings, I do recommend that the Africa storyline come to a conclusion. For a show that is getting long in the tooth, it is an unwanted distraction, and I suspect that we and others like us will be changing channels again if it looks like the Africa storyline may dominate and episode. Aging hit shows should avoid giving viewers a reason to change the channel because they just might find something fresher to watch in that time slot.


The lovely Mrs. Jib and I celebrated out third wedding anniversary by spending a couple of days in Chicago. The trip nearly started off very poorly, as I started getting cranky with the idiots who drive in Chicago and we had problems at our hotel. We arrived at the Best Western River North exactly at check in time. The hostess at the desk shuffled through some papers and then asked us to excuse her for a minute. I've been at enough hotels over the years to know that something was wrong. About ten minutes later the hotel manager came out and asked us to step aside and speak with him for a moment. Bracing for the worst, we were told, "We've had an unfortunate emergency guest stay extension." Now I could be wrong, but he seemed to be skirting around something with that statement. I was getting ready to get angry with the hotel manager, but given that sentence, I was pretty sure that I didn't want that room, anyway. My gut instinct was telling me something bad happened there.

The good news was that the Best Western sprung for a new hotel room for us down Ohio Street at the Comfort Inn. Our trip picked up from there. With a free hotel room in hand, we headed off to a nice dinner at the Chicago Chop House. From the Chop House, it was off to Wicked. If you are looking for a show to go and don't mind the drive to Chicago, Wicked is a must. It is an excellent musical that precedes and coincides with The Wizard of Oz, telling the story of Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West. The play itself is very good, but it is made better by its two stars, Kristy Cates and Stacy Morgain Lewis. Cates plays Elphaba (Wicked Witch of the West), and her voice is a show stealer. In fact, she would be a show stealer if not for the performance of Morgain Lewis as Glinda. Morgain Lewis is great at setting the audience up for laughs, and she has numerous opportunities to do so throughout the show. Three jokes did seem to fall flat during the course of the show, but none were lines by Morgain Lewis. Together the tandem made the show even better. Wicked comes highly recommended by both of us. I will say this, if you come in looking to pick at it from a political standpoint, you might be able to. In fact, I had a few things picked out to discuss, but it is a good enough musical that I was willing to allow a few subtle things slide.

The plan after the show was to spend some time at the Red Head Piano Bar, which was a block from our hotel. We ended up passing on the Red Head because our walk from the theater district back to our hotel took a toll on the lovely Mrs. Jib's feet. Wednesday was pretty normal Chicago site seeing things, the details of which I'll spare all of you. We'd have more pictures, but our best picture taking opportunities were on Tuesday night, and lugging along the Rebel XT was pretty impractical. We've got some great shots of the Oriental Theater and the Chicago Theater on my cell phone, but I still haven't figured out how to get pictures out of my cell phone and onto a computer.

Thank you to everyone who gave us some advice a couple of months ago on places in Chicago to eat & drink. We had a great time and we appreciate the ideas you gave us.

Getting back into the swing of things

You know, getting back into the swing of things is tougher than it seems sometimes. I've been out for two days, but for a week, week and half before that I was only able to partially keep track of all of the current stories. I now find myself way behind on every story. My RSS reader has so many stories and posts on it that it is going to take me another day to catch up, and even then I'm going to gloss over a lot of very good stuff. The moral of the story? Even if the off blog life is busy, make sure to try to carve out a little time to keep up, because catching up is tougher to do.

Free idea for the music industry

The music industry is a dinosaur that is devoid of new ideas, and that fact is keeping it from fully capitalizing on an era that should be enormously profitable for them. Given that, I'm going to share with them and idea that may help them make a little extra ching.

Last night and the night before, the lovely Mrs. Jib and I watched some Time Life Music infomercials. Music infomercials hold a special place in our history because before we started dating, we used to sit up late in the dorms singing along to them. As we watched and reflected the past couple of nights, I started thinking about how bizarre it is that music industry continues to push CDs on a public that is less and less interested in CDs. While my wife and I are still largely in the the CD era ourselves, with her new PDA and an iPod somewhere on the horizon, that is changing even for us. Rather than buy 150 songs on ten CD's, I'd much rather buy an iPod pre-loaded with Time Life's "70's Greatest Hits." And why limit it to iPod? Strike a deal with the 5 top selling mp3 player manufacturers, and give customers the choice of a unit to preload the music on.

For those who already have an mp3 player, preload the music onto various memory cards or flash drives. The CD is no more secure than either memory cards or flash drives, they just require the added step of ripping the songs. If a company were really concerned with securing their songs, they could easily encode the music in proprietary formats that are only playable on the players they have agreements with. Customers would pay a premium for this over the 99 cent per song download because large song sets such as the Time Life compilations would still take some time to download. The one flaw with this option is that memory is still a little bit on the expensive side, but the price of memory is continually dropping, and the price for 500 megabytes of memory is starting to come down towards the price of 500 megabytes of traditional CD space.

This idea works fine for large compilations, but what about single artist CDs? Well, maybe it is time for the music industry to abandon the single artist, ten to fourteen track album idea. Either begin encouraging artists to release 20 plus tracks for an album (the traditional double album), or combine artists onto one release. One of the music industries most profitable gigs for the last century has been to get you to buy music you don't want in order to get the music you do want. The current digital music system is killing that a bit by putting an emphasis on singles, but by expanding the size of releases and selling those releases on inexpensive, low memory drives or cards, the industry could continue to sell you music that you don't want. It would also have the added benefit of allowing them to continue to profit off of hard, tangible products. That CD, cassette, eight track, LP, etc, had a nice mark up for its manufacturing-this would preserve that for the industry.

Are there some flaws in this? Yes, but I'm just the idea man, working for free, here. They are flaws that could be worked out by those more technical than I, though.

Back in business

We're back from Chicago, and I'll be getting back into the swing of blogging as the day progresses. Later today I'll have a post on Chicago, Wicked, driving in Chicago, and a picture or two.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Off to Chicago

See you all on Thursday. I hope to have pictures and stories.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Joe Biden: Decentralize and split Iraq

Senator Biden wants to decentralize and split Iraq into ethnic regions. I'm going to have to side with the Sunnis and question the wisdom of this. The Sunnis oppose it because they stand to lose the most in the deal, being from a region that isn't a heavy oil producing region. I question it because in a society that is already contentious with ethnic division, do you really want to deepen that division by creating hard lines and borders that allow a form of ethnic nationalism to bloom? The regions will cease to be Iraqi; instead they will become fervently Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish. That geographical division is just asking for full fledged civil war. Talk about your Balkanization.

A quote to remember in 2008

John McCain is going to spend the next year and a half romancing conservatives ahead of the 2008 Presidential primaries. He's already been at it for several months, and I've seen a couple start to swoon. I just hope every conservative, especially conservative bloggers who enjoy their freedom to say what they want about politics, to remember this McCain quote, made on the Don Imus show last week (HT: Captain's Quarters):

"He [Michael Graham] also mentioned my abridgement of First Amendment rights, i.e. talking about campaign finance reform....I know that money corrupts....I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I’d rather have the clean government."

There is the true John McCain. He'd rather see government creep further and further into your rights than to see those rights be respected. Don't forget it as he starts whispering sweet nothings into the ears of all conservatives. (Audio here)

Loose Lips Sink Ships Award nominee

Clark Kent Ervin (drop the Kent already, Super Dork) is Jenna's nominee for a WTF award, and he is an early nominee for my Loose Lips Sink Ships Award. Here's why:

The book is 230 pages of score-settling and a drumbeat of "alarming security lapses" at DHS, Ervin writes. "I did my job, but the department's leaders have not done theirs."

Our colleague Spencer S. Hsu reports that publisher Palgrave Macmillan has printed 150,000 copies of Ervin's case, which singles out port security, air cargo screening and the borders as the nation's most vulnerable points.

I'm telling you, we're in an age of irresponsibility.

May Day

Well, today should be interesting. Hispanics across America are scheduled to skip work, classes and to forego any shopping. I doubt that we'll see a ripple from this effort, and I'm proud to say that the lovely Mrs. Jib and my sister-in-law will be doing a little shopping. I also look forward to seeing the reports of all the workers fired for their unexcused absences, and the wailing and gnashing of teeth that will follow.

You know what they say about men with green thumbs...

Is there any better way to scare men out of using pesticides than to tell them their willy will be smaller?

A renowned U.S. scientist who has documented fertility and sex changes -- including decreasing penis size -- due to environmental contamination says he wouldn't apply pesticides on his own lawn.

Delivering a special series of lectures this week at the University of Western Ontario, Louis Guillette has been drawn into London's lawn-care debate during question periods and talk-show interviews.

"The use of these compounds just for cosmetic reasons, just because you don't want to make dandelion wine from your yard or whatever, I think is inappropriate," Guillette, who is associate dean for research at the University of Florida, said in a lecture yesterday at UWO's Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.

I am skeptical. This might be true, but it also seems to be a clever way to make anti-pesticide inroads amongst men.

The age of irresponsibility

We really are living in an age of irresponsibility. Here's Case A: ABC's new ratings gimmick, the movie "Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America." And in what would seem to be a conflict of interest, ABC News reports on it.

Bodies piling up so quickly it takes dump trucks to haul them away. Barbed wire to keep whole neighborhoods quarantined. It's Hollywood's version of bird flu, a blur of fact and fiction that some scientists say could confuse the public.

"Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America," an ABC made-for-television movie, airs May 9, just as scientists are to begin testing of wild birds in Alaska that could herald the arrival of bird flu in North America. Scientists fear the bird flu virus could evolve so it could be passed from human to human, sparking a global pandemic.

You can take all of the other catastrophy movies and set them aside. They're relatively harmless because what they portray is unlikely to happen. This is a different case, though. The bird flu will eventually make it to North America in birds. It is also possible, although I think it unlikely, that it will become easily passed from human to human. If that should occur, it is going to require as much calm as possible to get through the pandemic with as little damage as possible to society.

What this movie does is burn a beyond worst case scenario into the public's mind. Should the day come that the bird flu transmits easily from human to human, this movie serves to be the spark of a panic. ABC has every right to make and show this movie, but what they are doing is grossly irresponsible, and it probably won't even accomplish what they are hoping for, which is big ratings. It looks like a terrible movie, and if it does garner big ratings, it is only because ABC scared people into watching. I, for one, won't be.