Monday, July 31, 2006

A rare win, and ugly play

Monday was a rare night for the old softball team. We looked like we had our s*** together. Oh, I tried to single handedly destroy that in the first. I booted a ball off the heel of my glove at short. That runner scored. Then I had a second ball hit to me. I fielded it cleanly, but I had the jitters from the first E, so I double clutched which meant I had to get the ball off in a hurry. At first I though our first baseman was going to be able to stretch and catch my throw, which was down the line. He missed it by that much. It did not miss the rib cage of the runner, though. I throw pretty hard, and the thud was disgusting to most who witnessed it. I've hit runners with throws before, so I felt bad for the guy but I wasn't totally distressed about it. Despite the fact that I think his teammates thought I killed him for a minute, he came out of it sore but okay. I was relieved that he didn't have to leave the game; when I was in high school I was trying to throw a runner out at third from center and he was right in line with my third baseman. My throw hit him in the back of the helmet. That made a sickening cracking sound and I knocked him out briefly. That was probably the most unnerving thing I've done on a ball diamond, and I've had may fair share of injuries and inflicted my fair share as well.

Article of the day

This says it all:
Terrorists and their supporters have lost the right to complain about civilian casualties, since all they have done this entire war is target civilians. Every single one of the more than 2,500 rockets launched into Israel is launched into populated towns filled with women and children. Just today, another suicide belt meant to kill civilians in Israel was detonated harmlessly by our forces in Nablus.

So, don't cry to me about civilian casualties. Cry to those using your babies and wives and mothers; cry to those who store weapons in mosques, ambulances, hospitals and private homes. Cry to those launching deadly rockets from the backyards of your kindergartens and schools. Cry to the heartless men who love death, and who, however many of their troops or civilians die, consider themselves victorious as long as they can keep on firing rockets at our women and children.
That terrorists have been unsuccessful in killing more of our women and children is due to our army, God and our prayers, not to any lack of motivation or intention on their part. If you hide behind your baby to shoot at my baby, you are responsible for getting children killed. You, and you alone.

Read the whole thing.

Don't try this at home

It's dumb to carry liquid nitrogen like this. Still, pretty cool.

The new warfare

By and large, I can agree with this New York Times piece on the changing nature of warfare. We are in a transitional stage of history right now, one that is in some ways similar to the 1900-1930's period. State militaries will eventually adapt to the new threat from network style militias. In many ways the networked militias are a bigger threat to freedoms and liberties than fascism and communism, though, and it could be difficult to balance fighting these networked threats without giving up freedom and liberty too easily. That, along with traditional state based threats, could be the challenge of the next 20 years.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Speaking of unhealthy foods

Burger Boat sounds more like a place I'd willing go to cut years off my life through unhealthy food than a ship builder deep in the hip pocket of Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. Mmmmm, burgers.

Ban TV shows on food

They are an obvious culprit in our burgeoning obesity. Here I am on a hot Sunday, having an ice cold beverage and watching an half hour show on pizzas. I'm not particularly hungry, but the show is leading me to want a huge, unhealthy, Chicago-style deep dish pizza. If not for this show, I'd probably be watching a movie and not desire food at all...except popcorn. Say, maybe we should ban movies, too.

(For the clueless, also known as the Chicago city council, I'm pointing out the absurdity of blaming companies and culture for our fat and not ourselves.)

Defend this

If you want to rake Israel over the coals for proportionality, if you wish to skewer Israel with civilian deaths in Lebanon, if you desire to paint Israel as the bully in this fight, then defend Hezbollah against this: Photos that Damn Hezbollah.

Note to the record industry: Sign Megan Wyler

The other day I wrote a short little post on my frustration over not being able to buy the Megan Wyler cover of Johnny Cash's Walk the Line that Levi's uses in their commercials. I am getting surprisingly strong Google search hits for "Walk the Line Megan Wyler" and its many variations. So, as much as I am loathe to do so, here is my FREE word of advice to the record industry. Sign her and get that single out in a hurry.

(See commercial here.)

Pothead math calculations

Really, if we are looking for the next generation of math whizzes, maybe we should look to pot smokers. I've never seen so much math buzzing around a comments section in my life.

On second thought, the Cheeto stains on the final calculations would probably ensure disaster on any project.

Syria and Iraq's WMD

I just thought I'd link to this Iraqi memo and post the text here for posterity's sake. If it irritates those of you who get upset that I still think about Iraq's pre-war weapon supplies, so be it.
Subject: we have information about the location of Mass Destruction Weapons

On Moharram 10th (Arabic calendar), prior to US/allied invasion to Iraq, fifty (50) Iraqi trucks entered Syria as convoys (or groups), I met some the drivers of those trucks, they got no idea about the content of their trucks.

The loads basically came from some where in Baghdad, Iraqi intelligence were escorting the loads. During their tripe, those truck drivers were stopped and asked frequently by the intelligence officers about whether or not they got any idea about the content of their loads, the divers replied “we have no idea," then the officers would say “thank you."

Upon their arrival to Deayr Ezoor city/ Syria, the drivers were ordered to get down, elements from Syrian intelligence got into the trucks, they took the trucks to big barracks for downloading.

After that; Iraqi drivers got their trucks back, they got $200 as a reward. The drivers told me that it was their second time to bring such secret shipment; the first shipment was Moharram 1st.

I have a friend in Syria working in Syrian company, the man has ½ of the company, and the other ½ belongs to a Syrian businessman.

This Iraqi person, a former counselor at Iraqi embassies, has strong connections with Iraqi embassy in Syria, he knows all Iraqi intelligence men there, and he has no idea that I am working with the Iraqi opposition in Syria.

I used to visit him daily during that period to listen to the important news. When the trucks arrived to Syria, I visited him, told him “Iraqi weapons got inside Syria," he replied “who told you." I said “I have my own resources," he replied “don’t tell any one about that because actually it is inside."

Friday, July 28, 2006

A passing thought

If I started an annual conference called BlogHim, do you think I could do it without Martha Burke hectoring me?

"Pander and Run"

This criticism of Democrats had to come from the left, and I'm glad that it did. Peter Beinart takes Democrats to task for their stunt with Nouri al-Maliki in the Washington Post and in doing displays why The New Republic is one of the few liberal magazines I still read. While I view TNR as wrong more often than they are right, their approach to issues of the day is still one I can respect...most of the time. Unfortunately for Beinart and TNR, this is only going to put the magazine further into the cross hairs of the rabid left, even though his article appears in the Post.

Brewers trade Carlos Lee

It's official. The Brewer's have traded Carlos Lee. My thoughts on this trade are up at the Wisconsin Sports Bar. I will add one Jiblog exclusive thought. I hope that included in this deal is a psychiatrist to be named later for Francisco Cordero. The guy self destructed in April worse than Derrick Turnbow has of late.

The Chicago big box minimum wage

Here we go with another unintended consequence. Chicago is targeting big box retailers with a minimum wage increase. Unlike some of my cohorts on the right, I do not believe the big boxes will start a mass exodus to the suburbs. There is just too much demand in the city of Chicago to leave the city limits. Here's what will happen, though. The cost of living will increase in the city of Chicago as the big box stores raise their prices to compensate for the higher wages. That pay increase that their employees get will be partially washed out by those higher prices, making the increase in their buying power negligible at best.

Robert Charles Brown, mass serial killer

If his admission is true, then Robert Charles Brown is a man whose name we are all going to know very soon. He's confessed to 48 murders.
Robert Charles Browne, 53, told authorities the slayings occurred from 1970 until his arrest in 1995. He was in court Thursday to plead guilty to one of those killings — the death of another girl in Colorado in 1987.

Authorities so far have been able to corroborate his detailed claims in six slayings — three in Louisiana, two in Texas and one in Arkansas, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said.

Browne started the dialog on the murders with a creepy letter that sounds like it was written for a movie.

"Seven sacred virgins, entombed side by side, those less worthy, are scattered wide," the letter says. "The score is you 1, the other team 48. If you were to drive to the end zone in a white Trans Am, the score could be 9 to 48. That would complete your home court sphere."

This is the type of guy that it is difficult to not justify the death penalty for.

The memorial board

Lileks has a post up on his high school reunion. I skipped number 5 and number 10; I suspect that I'll skip some more before I finally go to one. One day I will, though, and I already dread looking at the memorial board honoring the classmates that have passed away. Lileks tells his story of the memorial for the dead at his reunion, and I found this part of the story very familiar:
Then you see the face that makes your knees go fluid.


It wasn’t that you knew her well, even though you’d been in school together since tot-hood. Perhaps you had a sneaky crush on her, like the rest of the nerds. She was smart, killer smart; she was pretty, achingly pretty, but she carried herself in a way that deflected your attention. She hunched, as though she was trying to draw in her beauty and keep it from spilling out, making a mess. Everything about her seemed an improvised defense. Her smile could melt coal. She died.

When I finally go to a reunion, that is the face that I really don't want to see in the memorial, and I know it is going to be there. When you graduate, you know that for some people, the best years of their entire life have just come to a conclusion. For others, you know that the best days of their lives are still on the horizon. She was one of those people. She wasn't part of any of the popular cliques, but she had tons of friends, was sharp as a tack, pretty, and was just generally great to be around. My mother only met her in passing and I believe that mom secretly wanted me to date her from that day forward (we were never that close of friends for it to be a possibility). Then on a Sunday morning one month after graduation, she died in a terrible country car accident. Even though we ran in different circles, the news was like a punch in the heart. People like her deserved a good, long life, and she wasn't going to have hers. Her legacy would live on when her parents donated her organs, saving the lives of countless others through the loss of her own. I still have a sadness for her, her friends, her family, and the family she would never have.

World War IV or Spanish Civil War?

Are we really in the midst of World War IV? I think it depends largely on one's perspective. The case for our current situation being World War III or World War IV has been well documented over the past week. Given that no major power is fully mobilized for war, even the U.S., I'm leaning towards not placing the World War title on current events quite yet. Instead, I'm viewing things as a regionalized version of the Spanish Civil War. With the U.S. excepted, the world powers are up to their elbows trying to maneuver current events and bend situations in their favor without actually getting militarily involved. That smacks of the hand that some of the then major powers played in the Spanish Civil War. My fear is that the current Middle East unrest is just the precursor to a much uglier conflagration that we could face down the road a little ways.

A fictional Jib

I received an unusual email today from a writer of fictional short stories. He is writing a story about a character named Jib in a setting similar to my real life setting. I guess he stumbled across Jiblog while researching it and he asked me a few questions. First, the coincidence is unbelievable. Second, it is a little creepy to think a fiction writer came up with something that is at least similar to my real life without knowing the first thing about me. I mean, Jib is not exactly a common nickname. Third, if this character wears the same size and brand of underwear as I do, I'm so getting a restraining order.

I kid. Hopefully this guy's story works out. I'd be interested in reading it.

Shame on me

I emailed in a couple of posts today. They never posted. If history is any indicator, they will show up on this blog in about 6 months or so.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Who's your celebrity doppelganger?

As I was scanning headlines on Wednesday, I saw a story about a website that will tell you what celebrity you look like. I tucked the link away for another day when I actually had time to mess around with it. Tonight I checked it out, and you can, too, at You'll need to register, but it is free.

All in all, I was disappointed. I uploaded my picture and was told that I looked most like Colin Firth. I don't look like Colin Firth at all. When I was younger and thinner, I was compared to a few celebrities, and I could kind of see where the comparisons were coming from. Not this one. Of course, it only got worse. The number two match was Bernardo Bertolucci. Number 3? Nancy Sinatra. I am cool with the number 4 match, though: Bruce Willis. Yippee kayay, mother...

I ran a picture of the lovely Mrs. Jib, and she should be pleased. Her match percentage with Maria Sharapova (66%) was higher than my top match of Firth. Oh, and I ran a younger, more svelt picture of myself...and I got Colin Firth again. Dammit.

Okay, this is actually really fun when you run pictures of people other than yourself. I ran a photo of my brother-in-law, father-in-law, and my dad sitting together. They came back as Alan Alda, Pierce Brosnan, Yehudi Menuhin, respectively. Completely inaccurate, but funny.

Damn you Levi Strauss!

Levi's has a new commercial out. I rarely pay attention to commercials, but this one has a female singing Walk the Line, and the song brings my attention to the commercial and then sticks in my mellon. So tonight I went on a quest for the song. What did I find? A whole lot of nothing. After much searching, I finally discovered that it was sung by Megan Wyler, and it is not commercially available. That agitates me. I'm so disinterested in most new music that I've only purchased on CD in the past 3 years. A song comes along that I'm actually interested in buying and it isn't even available.

(View commercial here.)

Landis fails drug test?

I don't know what exactly this means for Tour de France champ Floyd Landis, but it certainly isn't good.
Tour de France champion Floyd Landis tested positive for high levels of testosterone during the race, his Phonak team said Thursday on its Web site.

The statement came a day after the UCI, cycling's world governing body, said an unidentified rider had failed a drug test during the Tour.

A necessary warning from Victor Davis Hanson

I always find cautionary tales like this one from good classicists/historians troubling but necessary.

Think back to the Roman era of the "Five Good Emperors" - between A.D. 96-180 under the reigns of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antonious Pius and Marcus Aurelius - when all problems of the turbulent past at last seemed to have been solved. There was a general peace, ever more prosperity from Mediterranean-wide trade, and a certain boredom and occasional cynicism among the Roman elite. Few then had any idea that three centuries of war, revolution, poverty and scary emperors like Commodus and Caracalla awaited their descendants - all a prelude to a later general collapse of Roman society itself.

In our own new age of war, terrorism, huge debt, high-priced gas and frightful weapons and viruses that we try to ignore, we should remember that civilization's progress is not always linear. The human condition does not inevitably evolve from good to better to best, but always remains precarious, its advances cyclical.

Too many of us take civilization, the comforts of modernity, and prosperity for granted, and with each year we become less vigilant about protecting them.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Kudos to you, parents

I'm in the midst of a busy time of the year right now, and I am whipped. And I am by no means trying to put out a 'feel sorry for Jib' story here. I realize that what is busy for me is down right relaxing for many other people, most notably parents. Parents, my hat is off to you. Someday we will join your ranks, and when that day comes, I'm sure that I will discover that what I view as tired today is really boundless energy and alertness.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Dukakis immigration plan

In today's New York Times, Michael Dukakis and Daniel Mitchell criticize the House and Senate immigration plans. They then propose their own plan, one based on raising the minimum wage and which could be the most short sighted of the three.

There is a simpler alternative. If we are really serious about turning back the tide of illegal immigration, we should start by raising the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to something closer to $8. The Massachusetts legislature recently voted to raise the state minimum to $8 and California may soon set its minimum even higher. Once the minimum wage has been significantly increased, we can begin vigorously enforcing the wage law and other basic labor standards.
Americans will work at jobs that are risky, dirty or unpleasant so long as they provide decent wages and working conditions, especially if employers also provide health insurance. Plenty of Americans now work in such jobs, from mining coal to picking up garbage. The difference is they are paid a decent wage and provided benefits for their labor.

I don't think that Dukakis and Mitchell honestly believe this will work. Instead, I think they are trying to tie the minimum wage to a current hot topic, illegal immigration, because some Democrats are trying to make the minimum wage an issue to run on in 2006. I say this because they cannot seriously believe that this will work. It won't, and for two simple reasons. First, a higher minimum wage will increase the motivation for Mexicans to come here illegally, steal an identity, and work under the guise of legality. Second, the higher minimum wage will encourage more employers to dip into the pool of illegals in the undocumented work force who will work for less than the minimum wage. These employers of illegals will not be greedy, evil, capitalist pigs. They will be small business owners who operate on very tight budgets and who will face the choice of closing shop or breaking the law to save their businesses-you know, the mom & pop business that Democrats like to decry the loss of.

Dukakis and Mitchell are clearly trying to pull a bait and switch here, and I anticipate that we'll see more of this from Democrats in the coming months.

WFB questions Bush's conservatism

William F. Buckley has been questioning George W. Bush's conservatism for much of this year, if not longer. While I think WFB has plenty of room to question Bush's conservatism, I think the one area that he is focusing on, Iraq, shows that in the past year, conservatism may have passed Buckley by.

Conservatives, while stuanch in their opposition to Communism, have abhored foreign intaglements. I see no problem with that, and it is something Buckley has stayed consitently true to. The problem is that nothing in the Middle East can be considered just a foreign intanglement. The entire Middle East, whether Buckley or Europe care to admit it, has become a theater of war. If you just look at a map, it is very easy to decipher the importance Iraq plays in the geography of that war. Is it a tough slog? No doubt it is. But if one is to view Iran as the biggest threat to the Middle East and the West, then Iraq becomes the most important cog in dialing up the pressure on and isolating Iran. Buckley's current position would be akin to thinking that Italy or North Africa was a waste during World War II. I respect the man beyond belief, but I don't think WFB is correctly identifying Iraq's geopolitical position in the mess that is the Middle East. Without Iraq, making any inroads in the politics of the Middle East is futile. The Buckley of 1960 would have appreciated this fact much more than the Buckley of 2006.

If not for Willian F. Buckley and National Review, I wouldn't be a conservative today. Just the same, I think Buckley is wrong on this issue. I suspect that I can kiss any pipe dream I had of ever writing for National Review goodbye after this post, but I won't moderate my position on it.

What is good economic development in Milwaukee?

Before I even start this post, I will start by saying that I am not qualified for this discussion. I don't know the area I'm going to discuss well enough, so if you dismiss me completely out of hand, you may be doing so with good reason.

Good. Now that I have that out of the way, go read Casper's post.

Based on what I've read, I'm leaning strongly towards Capser's position. That puts me in opposition to both X-Off and Sykes, an odd position for me. My concern revolves completely around the housing issue. While it is possible that Ruvin plan could create a trendy new housing area in Milwaukee, it is still not a possibility that I have an strong belief in. Milwaukee's condo boom defies demographics. Yes, a good portion of it is second homes for some wealthy individuals. Milwaukee only has so much ability to absorb that extra demand, though. The city's population is in decline while wealthier suburbs grow. I'm not sure that there is demand enough to meet the potential Park East growth in condos. Yes, that bigger Ruvin investment is attractive, but what does it do to the larger Milwaukee real estate market? I could care less about the gas station. In fact, I think the Rana Enterprises proposal shoots too low for the area. The Ruvin condos makes me nervous, though.

Now feel free to eviscerate me in the comments. I'll be the first to admit that I understand the dynamics of Madison much better than those of Milwaukee. If you try, though, you had better be able to convince me otherwise.

Buzz is buzzin'

What an odd story.

THE first men to walk on the Moon reported seeing a UFO, a new TV documentary reveals.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon's surface after Neil Armstrong, says space agency bosses covered up their sighting.

I'm not much of a UFO guy myself. I find it difficult to believe that mass casual observance would not have detected it by now. This story leaves me wondering what Buzz was smoking.

Where in the world is Jib?

Busy. And it is just the standard summer stuff that comes up for anyone. I try to maintain a regularity in my postings, but there are just times when life has precedent over blogging. I'm incredibly jealous of bloggers who can crank 10 to 20 posts a day irregardless of the events of life. I'll always try to update as frequently as I can on a daily basis, but unless blogging suddenly becomes a gold mine, I don't think I can post at that level every single day. I guess that is part of what separates the 'A' list from guys (and gals) like me.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Another loss

Wow. Talk about poor morale. My team looks defeated before they even take the field now. One could easily mistake us for the French army right now. We put up a good fight against the top team in our league, but we still fell short. I'm not sure what to do at this point. As team captain, I'm beginning to feel like Rene Lachman or Davy Lopes. Maybe next week I'll throw a base to get them fired up.

I hit like crap tonight, but hustle helped. I went 2-3 with two infield singles and a walk and 3 runs scored. Also, we got our first half stats tonight. Apparently the league scores even more generously than I do, as they had me hitting .733 through last week.

Ireland and the Middle East not an apples to oranges comparison

Howard Dean makes yet another specious statement:
"If you think what's going on in the Middle East today would be going on if the Democrats were in control, it wouldn't, because we would have worked day after day after day to make sure we didn't get where we are today. We would have had the moral authority that Bill Clinton had when he brought together the Northern Irish and the IRA, when he brought together the Israelis and the Palestinians." ---DNC Chairman Howard Dean

If Clinton had accomplished anything of substance with the Israelis and Palestenians, the situation on the ground would look quite different right now. He did not. Also, his comparison of Ireland to the Middle East is faulty. The situation in Ireland had a certain political stability to it that the situation currently in the Middle East does not.

War torn Beirut

“…looks like war torn Beirut.” The preceding is a common figure of speech used by me and others in my circle. It refers to a place that looks like it has been through hell. For those of us of a certain age, the phrase holds significance because we used to hear it almost every night on the news. That, along with the video clips we would see, gave the term a lot of imagery. Thankfully, for many who are younger than us, the phrase did not hold as much meaning, and it was gratifying to see Beirut slowly become a worldly city again. The events of the past week have been unfortunate but have been made necessary by Hezbollah. Hopefully this is just a hiccup for Beirut, and the next generation that comes along looks at me and my friends with bemusement when we use what will hopefully be an antiquated and inaccurate phrase.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Keith Olberman a dunce

Keith Olberman was a hell of an anchorman on ESPN's Sport Center once upon a time. He really should have stuck with that gig, because he is out of his element in other areas of mass media. To wit, we have Olberman catering to the leftists who actually enjoy his gig. If the ratings are any indicator, there aren't even many of them.

Jib's eye view

This is a how a Wisconsin summer family gathering looks from a participant's viewpoint. Not pictured: The Lenie's Honey Weiss in the left hand.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Day pass for r&r

Today is Mrs. Jib's family's famous 'Cousins Weekend' in wild and crazy Lomira, WI. As such, there won't be much going on here today. There might be an update late tonight, otherwise I'll be back tomorrow.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Random thought

Sometimes particular wars are inevitable because your enemies want them. You have the choice of initiating and dictating the terms, or waiting and having the terms dictated to you. Most of the West has developed the habit of waiting and having the terms dictated to them. Israel can't afford that luxory.

An ugly admission

As little as I think of The Dixie Chicks, Taveling Soldier is still one of my favorite songs. Don't tell anyone.

Clarifying my position on bees

Tee Bee defends the bee in the comments to an earlier post of mine. In response, I'd like to clarify my position. I view any flying insect with the capability to sting as a bee. In my opinion, all of these creatures are to me as the Luftwaffe was to the Brits during the Battle of Britain. The difference is that I have no aerial defenses. Therefore, all of these insects are my mortal enemies. When I can, I will destroy them. When I cannot destroy, I will live to fight another day. Towards the end of my "stiff upper lip" years towards bees, a disturbing thing happened. I was stung on the hand and for the first time, I experienced localized swelling from a bee sting. I have not been stung since, in part because I now view my battle with flying, stinging insects as a battle of life or death. I respect Tee Bee's admiration for common, non-aggressive bees. As for me, the only bee that does not feel my ire is the bumble bee. It has never stung me, and it has never shown any interest in sticking around me long enough to do so. To me, the bumble bee is as harmless as the Canadian Air Force.

Duh, Volume 1,987,385,034,842

This is news?

Anti-war Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont has surged to a razor-thin 51 - 47 percent lead over incumbent Sen. Joseph Lieberman among likely Democratic primary voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 55 - 40 percent lead for Sen. Lieberman among likely Democratic primary voters in a June 8 poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

The moment Lieberman decided that he would run as an independent if he lost the Democratic primary, this poll became a foregone conclusion. Can you imagine how Republicans would have jumped ship on Arlen Spector if he did the same thing in 2004 against Pat Toomey? That's what is happening here. As much as we Republicans cheer on Lieberman's decision, party faithful see actions like his as horribly disloyal. These poll numbers are no surprise.

Which way does the left want it?

I don't want to make Joseph Nye the spokesman for the far left, but I'm starting to hear this more and more, so I'll use him as the example:

What a mess! Once again the extremists have prevailed, and capitalized on inept American policies. Bush's pressure for elections helped produce Hamas in the Palestinian Authority, Hezbollah in the Lebanese government, and his efforts to force regime change pressed Syria closer to Iran. (Italics mine).

I'll ignore the fact that the Palestinian elections were actually called by Abbas in an attempt to strengthen his political position. The point is this. For years, the left berated Reagan and Bush 41 for cozying up to dictators because they were "our assholes." Back then, the idea was that we were holding down the peoples of many nations and turning our backs on our own values by ignoring self determination with our support of dictators. Today, in some situations, we've swung much more towards the position the left used as a rhetorical club not that long ago, and they're bitching because we've done so. And some still complain because we aren't doing enough to open up Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sleeping through the storm

Almost everyone that I talked to today slept through this morning's severe weather. I woke up when my weather radio went off, announcing the storm warning. It was 3 a.m., though, so I risked it and went back to sleep. It must have been a good storm. I woke up to find a 15 foot long, 5 inch diameter branch down in my yard. Thankfully it missed the roof and any windows. Trees on your property are great, except possibly during storms. During storms they are damage waiting to happen.

How to turn Jib and his wife into winos

Here's how: Sell off quality wine at $1.99 a bottle in order to clear the glut of supply.
Australian wine is being sold off cheaper than water, as a glut of grapes pushes the cost of a bottle to below two dollars.

Bumper harvests for three straight years have led to a massive oversupply, with up to a billion litres of unsold wine in storage tanks across the country.
But for the consumer, it means quality wines are available at a fraction of the normal price as producers move their excess stock in unlabelled bottles known as cleanskins.

The lovely Mrs. Jib dreams of the day where we can have a wine cellar and casually have a glass of wine with dinner whenever we want (I have the more practical dream of a beer swimming pool). At a buck ninety-nine a bottle, we would never make it back to work.

Severe weather and a full stadium

I'm surprised that things like this don't happen more often.
A storm with 84 mph winds forced a two-hour, 12-minute rain delay before Wednesday night's contest between the Braves and the Cardinals.

Only a few minutes before the scheduled 7:10 p.m. CT start time, the skies darkened and heavy winds started at the new ballpark. The grounds crew immediately brought out the tarp and heavy rains started to fall a few minutes later.

"It was terrible," fan Jen Klimer said.

According to The Associated Press, 30 people were injured as high wind blew out press box windows, overturned portable concession stands and ripped the tarp at new Busch Stadium.

The baseball season is also storm season. We're lucky that storms walloping full ballparks is an uncommon event.

The season is over (the silver lining)

Note: I meant to post the following at The Wisconsin Sports Bar. Go there and read it with a virtual beer instead of here.
Well, at least the Gwynn family had a nice day today. Tony Gwynn Jr. got his first hit 24 years to the day that pops got his first big league hit.

Sorry, that's about all I got for silver linings.

The talent on this team has improved, despite what we are seeing on the field. The attitude of the team has also changed, as evidenced by their ability to fight and claw their way back in games, particularly at home. Those were two huge mountains they needed to get over to get back to winning ways.

Unfortunately, some other things that winning teams do, and that they don't, haven't changed. The defense is atrocious. We can attribute a little bit of that to young players, but the entire team has a problem with it. Even Jenks, who at one time in his career had been a very, very good defensive outfielder. Winning teams don't play defense like the Brewers do. Playoff teams certainly don't.

They are also still prone to making stupid baseball decisions. Just look at last night's game. Bill Hall got picked off by a mile, and Weeks got thrown out by a mile going from first to third on a ball that he never held up on to see if it would be caught first-not that it mattered, he'd have been dead as a duck either way. Stupid decisions on young teams can be overcome with experience, but the Brewers have to be careful to ensure that these guys get smarter out there. Stupidity on the diamond can infect teams. The most irritating thing about the poor decision making is that there is absolutely no excuse for it. Most of the these guys have been playing baseball since they were about 8 years old. If you haven't figured out how to play smart in that amount of time, you're just lazy.

Finally, the Brewers' habit of relying on Mike Maddux to work miracles for them is finally backfiring. Maddux is a hell of a coach and a minor miracle worker, but even a miracle worker can only do so much with the guys he has. I wouldn't give you a nickle for for all of the heads in the bullpen. Also, I haven't really wanted to say this because so many have pinned their hopes to the return of Sheets and Ohka, but let's remember that we have no idea what we're going to get out of Sheets for the remainder of the year. I don't expect ace stuff, that's for sure. Ohka may be the more significant return because he at least adds some consistency to the rotation. And that's provided his rotator cuff holds up.

I look forward to some exciting moments in this season yet, but I just can't see how the playoffs will be in the cards. Yost had best use this time to iron out some of the kinks in this team, because next year there will be tremendous pressure on them to compete for a post-season spot.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Milwaukee safest from natural disasters?

Another one of those city rankings has come out, and this one ranks how safe/dangerous the top 50 metro areas in the nation are. Milwaukee was tied for first amongst safe cities. I won't disagree with them about Milwaukee being pretty safe, unless you count sewage spills natural disaster. But number one? That's just plain odd. This is a city that was hit by a small tornado in March just 6 years ago. For those readers who aren't familiar with Wisconsin, we do get our share of tornados, but not in March! (And no, there is no such thing as a snownado). One would think that the tornado risk and maybe flood risk would drop it down in the top ten a little. I mean, look at Chicago. It is an hour and a half drive down the lakeshore, and it is 12th. An hour and a half makes a diference of 11 spots?

I just find the list slightly odd. There is the comparison above between Milwaukee and Chicago. Then there is Cleveland and Columbus. Coulmbus is a little further south of Cleveland than Chicago is from Milwaukee, but just a little. Cleveland is #3, and Columbus is waayyy down at #39. I hate to say it, but Lake Michigan and Lake Erie do not dappen thunderstorms that much. Why do a couple of ticks in change of latitude make that much difference?

What is Mumbai was once Bombay...

Mumbai is the official name of the city we once knew as Bombay. Given that, can anyone tell me why the AP is still calling it Bombay?

Stupidity of advocating for proportional use of force

The New York Times today discusses proportional use of force in the Israeli-Islamist conflict. I'm not going to comment on the Times' take on the debate. Instead, I'd like to look at idea of proportional response as a whole.

War is a brutal endeavor. There is no debate that is should be avoided in so much as it is possible. When war comes, though, proportionality is folly. War is not about only hurting the other guy as bad as they hurt you. It is about winning so they cannot hurt you again. In most cases, that means you have to put a bigger hurt on the other guy than they put on you, especially if your enemy is particularly fanatical about their cause. If you are going to worry about proportional force during war, you may as well lay down your guns and let your enemy shed your nation's blood and get it out of the way.

Another aspect that supporters of proportional force like to advocate is avoiding civilians. Again, avoiding hitting civilians is a good Western moral of warfare. Just the same, if you rule out or severely limit your military's ability to hit targets in civilian areas, then you guarantee that your enemies will take refuge in civilian areas. In fact, the recent Western fear of inflicting civilian deaths during war time may actually put more civilians at risk as the unsavory enemy uses them more and more as shields from Western military strength.

Discussion of proportional force is weasel talk from defeatists. Our enemies and the enemies of Israel do not care one bit about using proportional force. If we do, then at best we will accomplish a very bloody stalemate, and at worse we will ensure our eventual defeat.

Yeah, what he said.

Further Info
What they are saying, too.

Bush administration gives Israel a deadline?

If this is true, I'm disappointed because I thought the Bush administration would know better.

The US is giving Israel a window of a week to inflict maximum damage on Hizbullah before weighing in behind international calls for a ceasefire in Lebanon, according to British, European and Israeli sources.

When an enemy thinks that they'll be pounded indefinitely, it takes a psychological toll on them. Uncertainty can be hell. When they know that they only have to hold out until X date, though, it is easier for them to steel themselves mentally to wait out the worst or resist. This news makes Hezbollah a tougher enemy to crush because they now know that if they can hold out for a week, the pressure will probably lighten.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Is that a beetle? No, a yellow jacket nest

Ugh, stories like this make me not want to leave home.

To the bafflement of insect experts, gigantic yellow jacket nests have started turning up in old barns, unoccupied houses, cars and underground cavities across the southern two-thirds of Alabama.
At one site in Barbour County, the nest was as large as a Volkswagen Beetle, said Andy McLean, an Orkin pesticide service manager in Dothan who helped remove it from an abandoned barn about a month ago.

As a child, I was stung on the tongue and my life long fear/hatred of bees began. For a time in my late teens and early twenties, I'd put up a brave face, mostly so as not to embarrass myself in front of the ladies. By now, the lovely Mrs. Jib has seen me embarrass myself in nearly every way possible, so I feel free to run away from bees with my arms flailing and a high pitch squeal coming out of my mouth. If I lived in Alabama, I'd only leave home in a bee keeper's suit.

Comfort food for Israeli soldiers

I love this idea:
If your interested this is a organization called Pizza IDF which brings pizza and other types of food to Israeli Defense Force troops(IDF) in the field.
I have actually done this before it was very easy and safe. So if you are looking for a small way to show an American ally some support. This might be one way. The money spent also helps the smaller pizza shops they try to use to get their pizza. I would imagine right now the small mom and pop shops over their are having some rough days especially the ones in the north.

I just wish there was a way I could buy beers for American soldiers.

Natural beauty and risk

I've long maintained that the most beautiful places to live are also some of the most dangerous as they are prone to natural disasters. Frankly, Indonesia must be unbeliveably beautiful, because it certainly is dangerous. AP: Death toll from Indonesian tsunami at 339 so far.

(Editor's note: Despite the nonsensical grammar originally used in this post, it was written while completely sober)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Losing gets old quickly

I've played on a lot of losing softball teams in my day, but over the last three years I've been pretty spoiled. During those three years, I played on one of the top teams in one of the top leagues in the city of Madison. After moving back to my hometown league, I felt pretty good about the talent we had assembled in the lowest league on our night. Unfortunately, it just isn't coming together very well. Last night was 17-12 loss, dropping us to 2-5. We had two weeks off because of the 4th of July and a bye, and we looked rustier than an old Ford. After being spoiled for a few years by winning, going back to losing is tough to take.

Stats. 2-4 with a single and double. Season: 19-28.

The Israeli War of 2006

I have just a brief thought on the Israeli-Hamas-Hezbollah conflict. I don't think anyone really knows what the end game is going to be here. Many pundits are writing and discussing it with some very well thought ideas. Still, if you read 12 different pieces, you get 12 very different takes on it. Still others are maintaining a certain silence on events. That's a pretty good indicator that there aren't a lot of strong facts on which to base opinion and analysis of where this is all going. History turns in very unpredictable ways in moments of uncertainty such as this. It could all wash over quickly, but we may be best served by preparing ourselves for the worst. Either way, I think we'll have good idea over the next 3 to 4 days where this war is headed.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Squirrel house

These little bastards are on the verge of provoking me into a righteous rage.

Chemical weapons in Iraq

Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters has been diligently reading translated Iraqi documents, and he has reported on a mound of documents that provide strong circumstantial evidence as to Iraq's pre-war possession of chemical weapons. We are really at a point now where people's minds have clouded over on WMD, though, and it will take a document that clearly slices through the haze. One of the latest documents that he covers comes close.
Exercise: Demonstration of the effect of poisonous chemical agents on living things through the use of the agent CAS [or SAS, but more probably the former]

1 Time of the exercise: 0830
2 Date of the exercise: 4/15/2001
3 Purpose: To acquaint the members of the base with knowledge of the effect of poisonous chemical agents on living things through the use of the agent SAS
4 Participants: All base members
5 Supervision: Lieutenant Colonel `Abdu al-Razzaq Hamad Nayif
6 Positive points: The exercise was carried out successfully.
7 Negative points: None.

Chemical Officer
Lieutenant Colonel
`Abdu al-Razzaq Hamad Nayif

Ed probably says it best at the conclusion of the post:

It looks like Iraq had enough chemical weapons material left at Talib to do some serious training -- and one has to wonder why they would do so much training, unless they intended on deploying WMD during an attack.
I will say this much-it is possible that Iraq trained with chemical weapons out of fear that, say, Iran had a stockpile. It isn't very likely, though, and it doesn't change the fact that Iraq had to possess the very materials they were not allowed to possess in order to carry out these tests.

Provisional Man Law

The lovely Mrs. Jib and I were discussing Man Laws tonight. I told her that under the Man Law Code, I am allowed to make one provisional Man Law that is in effect until such time that they can be heard by the men of the squared table. My provisional man law is that if a wife falls asleep on the couch with an alcoholic beverage that is only partially consumed, the husband is allowed to consume said beverage so that it can achieve its intoxicating purpose and not die a stale death. She claims that I forfeited that right when I violated a Man Law by taking home two beers from someone else's house after I had put them into my host's refrigerator. I told her that under the tuck rule, I was allowed to bring home one beer for me and one for her because she was with me. I put this to you men out there-am I on shaky Man Law ground here, or am I justified?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Breakdancing baby

You just can't go wrong with a break dancing baby on a warm summer night.

An ounce of knowledge...

...can be a dangerous thing.

Take for instance this post by Raymond Learsy at HuffPo. He tries to take the Washington Post to task for their story that asserts that much of the run up in oil prices is due to political fears of future oil supplies, not current supply and demand.
But then, quite gratuitously, added: "Though oil prices set a record for the New York Mercantile Exchange, which started trading in 1983 they still didn't match the all time inflation-adjusted peak. A quarter-century ago, after the Iranian revolution and the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war, the price of crude oil climbed to over $90 when expressed in today's dollars".
What the Post didn't tell us, were the same parameters applied to gold, which after all is meant to be a bellwether for inflation and political risk, we would be paying circa $1700 per ounce today. Gold was selling at over $800 per ounce at the time and inflation base of the Post's calculation. Gold closed today not, I repeat not, at $1700/ounce but rather at $670/ounce! So, thank you Washington Post. We are all going out immediately to our neighborhood jewelry stores and maxing out our credit cards on gold rings, bracelets, necklaces, and tiepins.

Truly, truly an over-simplified and faulty comparison, Mr. Learsy. Economists adjust for inflation so they can compare prices over time. Note that I said "compare prices over time." Just because inflation occurs over time, it does not mean that commodity prices hold constant with inflation. The real dollar value of gold only means a few things. First, gold is much cheaper now than it was then. Second, people are less worried about current inflationary pressures and are investing less in gold because of that. Third, and inversely to the second point, other investments like the stock market are providing better investments because current inflation is stable, removing demand from gold. Fourth, there is no fear that large portions of the gold supply will be taken off the market anytime soon-the fear which is driving oil prices up. What it does not mean is that gold and oil prices are both directly pegged to inflation.

Inflation is a factor that can influence commodity prices by influencing supply and demand levels, but commodity prices are not directly tied to inflation. Commodity prices are driven largely by current supply and demand and future supply and demand possibilities. That means that my one dollar can conceivably buy more of a commodity today than it did 25 years ago in real dollar terms. Pegging oil prices and gold prices directly to inflation shows an utter lack of understanding of economics.

When I first read Mr. Learsy's post, I treaded lightly because he certainly has some fine credentials and I was concerned that I might be wrong. After reading and re-reading Learsy's piece, I'm quite convinced that his analysis is completely off the mark and very lacking in the basic functions of economics.

Stripper free marketeering

I was looking through my trackbacks when I noticed that Independent Sources had picked up on my post on ethanol and sugar price controls. Very interesting post. The best way I can sum it up is that the author believes in a variant of trade that I am going to coin "Stripper Free Marketism." And the post includes pictures. And I fully concur.

Gunfire from the Mexican side of the boarder

The new Mexican government would be best advised to start taking security on the long American border seriously.
South Texas sheriff's deputies on Thursday were investigating whether Mexican gunmen who fired on deputies and Border Patrol agents from across the Rio Grande had crossed into the United States.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino said 200 to 300 shots were fired from automatic weapons Wednesday night, but no one was injured on the U.S. side, and police didn't fire back.
"There is no doubt about one thing, that we were shot at from the Mexican side," Trevino said, "a barrage that lasted over five minutes, maybe even seven."

We in this nation show remarkable patience with what goes on along our borders, but if activities like this become commonplace, we will lose patience with it. Once we lose patience with it, we (and when I say we, I mean we citizens not we Government) will hold the Mexican government (and our own) accountable for these actions. Foreign individuals firing across the border on our security officials is a very war-like activity, and if it becomes common, Americans will view it as such.

Geopolitical lesson

Okay. It is September 15, 2001. You are in the administration of the United States, and 4 days ago your nation was attacked and thousands of your private citizens were gruesomely murdered. You look at a world map, but particularly at the map below. What conclusions do you come to? I will tell you right now what conclusions the Bush adminsitration came to.

1. The most troublesome nations for the security of the United States, because of their outward expressions of aggression, are Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea (not pictured).
2. Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, and Sudan are also problematic, but despite their roles in radical Islam, they are all influenceable through soft power.
3. Unless we decide to mobilize for complete and total war, we need to maintain stability in portions of the Middle East while we take care of business in others.
4. We have the international will to eliminate the threat in Afghanistan.
5. We have justification under U.N. resolutions violated by Iraq to eliminate that threat.
6. We also have the ability to stage the military for war with Iraq.
7. As of this date hypthetical date, military action with Iran is undesireable because we cannot effectively stage the military, even though Iran may be the heart of the threats to this nation.
8. If we make Afghanistan and Iraq our number one and number two priorities, though, we can place a pincher on Iran that will further our ability contain them, and, if necessary, wage war with them.
9. North Korea is a completely undesireable place to wage war because it can rain destruction upon Seoul before we can do a thing about it. They are also secondary to the events of 9/11-the threat from them is their ability to arm our Islamist enemies with terrifying weapons of destruction.

The above would be a reasonable analysis of the situation on September 15, 2001. Now, looking at those 9 points and the map below, can you begin to understand why we've done the things we've done over the past 5 years? It is true that the first two stages of the war on terror have not completely eliminated the threat of terror, but then again, they never could. They were designed to both disrupt our terrorist enemies and also to give us a base strength in the Middle East from which we could use soft or hard power to further set back Islamism in the next stages of this war. Unfortunately, too many are already looking to wrap up our war on terror, as they do not understand that we are truely only at the end of the beginning of this conflict.

Geography time

There is a lot going on in the Middle East right now, so it is time for Geography class. Please memorize the countries and capitals on this map. You will be quized on this. Failure to pass the quiz will result mocking and ridicule. (Click for enlarged version)

Radical Mexica Movement calls Paul Harvey a "top racist" Nazi

I've pissed and moaned on this page about 620 WTMJ in Milwaukee placing Paul Harvey in their lineup, but I'm going to have to rethink that criticism. The reason I'm going to rethink it is because the self proclaimed 'radical' Mexica Movement loathes him:

The Mexica Movement calls Harvey and McIntyre "the top racist Nazis in this campaign against our people" who, they say, "are promoting racist hate against our people and they are promoting an atmosphere of fear in our communities."

Saying McIntyre has "incited bomb threats" against the MeCHA-supported school in Los Angeles, and that Harvey – "the other monster" – is "proud of the racist genocide that Europeans committed against the Indigenous people of this continent," Mexica calls the almost universally loved elder statesman of talk radio "the KKK of the radio airwaves."

I loathe radical ethnocentrics, and groups like the MeCHA, La Raza (The Race), the Mexica Movement, and Voces de la Frontera (Voices of the Border) are dripping with ethnocentrism. I find myself in a position where I wish radio stations all across the country could find more time on their airwaves for Harvey.

Friday, July 14, 2006


I talk with people all over the country every day. I pride myself in scrubbing away any Wisconsin or Midwestern accent that I have during these conversations. There is one thing I just cannot get past, though, and that is saying "hunderd" when I mean to say hundred. When I am pointedly thinking about it, the correct pronunciation comes out of my mouth. The second I stop thinking about it, I'm right back to "hunderd." I think I say hunderd a hunderd times a day.

PSA: Jack Palance is still alive

I just thought I'd pass along the fact that Jack Palance is still alive. I offer this public service because I thought he died years ago.

This also gives me the chance to tell an odd side story. My wife and her siblings are movie, music, and TV nuts. I am not. She and I were playing some movie game one night against her brother and sister when I witnessed one of the most terrifying things I've ever seen. The answer to the question at hand was Jack Palance. My sister in law turned to my brother in law and this is the exchange I witnessed:

Sis in-law: He was on Hollywood Squares...
Bro in-law: Jack Palance!

Honestly, those two creep me out.

Walmart: No prosecutions for theft under $25

Walmart has a new shoplifting policy. They won't prosecute first offenders that shoplift less than $25 in merchandise.

Wal-Mart is moving away from what it called a zero-tolerance policy on prosecuting shoplifters and will now only prosecute anyone caught taking merchandise worth $25 or more, according to a published report.

The New York Times reports the change in policy, citing internal documents from Wal-Mart that say it will now only press charges against those between the ages of 18 and 64 who take at least $25 worth of goods. Formerly its policy was to press charges against anyone who took at least $3 in goods.

When I first read this, I thought "what the hell are they thinking?" Then I reached way back into the vaults of my memory to the days when I was in retail management. Do you know what I realized? Not very many people shoplift less than $25 in merchandise, anyway, and the ones that do are usually first timers making a stupid, one time mistake. Even those that steal CD's or DVD's usually take multiple products that add up to over $25. In fact, with one or two exceptions, I can't remember sitting in a loss prevention office with shoplifters that tried to steal less than $50 in merchandise.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The randomness of the Google search

I'm not really sure how it happened, but I somehow became the number two result for this Google search term. I suspect that I'm getting a handful of visitors everyday that leaves here very disappointed.

Fort Atkinson baseball on

How cool is this? The little ball field in the town I live in, the one with tree branches that are in play and which I drive by every single day, the one I've watched games at, drank cheap beers at, and taken photos at, is on Hat tip York.

The return of 'Crib Notes'

Two years ago during the infancy of this blog, I used to post a collection of my daily thoughts which I called 'Crib Notes'. I gave up on Crib Notes because most of the material was full post worthy. I haven't had much time today to think through full posts, and I'm going to be tied up for most of the evening, so here is a special edition of Crib Notes.

*The arc of Demcratic thought on budget deficits has been interesting over the past 11 years. In 1995, they claimed that the Gingrich led Republicans were going to achieve a balance budget with smoke and mirrors, and that it would vanish by 2002 or 2003. Then, once accomplished, they claimed it as a Clinton/Democrat victory. Then when it did disappear right around the time they had predicted, they could not toss those old grenades without fragging themselves. They have effectively framed Republicans as just as big of tax and spenders as themselves since 2002, though.

*The above point was inspired by a Mickey Kaus column in the May 22, 1995 issue of The New Republic.

*I haven't commented on Israel/Hamas/Hezbollah/Palestine/Lebanon/Syria/Iran because I haven't ironed out my opinion yet. Instead, I'm content to watch events unfold and take things from there. I will say this, the Middle East has been a gas tanker waiting for a spark since at least 1979, probably longer. The sparks just keep falling closer to the gas every year.

*Am I the only one who was pleased to see that Cheney has gotten under Putin's skin? Can anyone say good cop-bad cop?

*I read this on Kevin Barrett and academic freedom, and while I don't completely disagree with it, I will say this much. There is only one way to send a message to UW that parents are more concerned with quality of education than vague, nebulous threats to academic freedom, and that is by sending your kids to the University of Minnesota.

*This one is gross, so be warned. With the news that Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro might not make it, how much of his sperm do you think has been harvested since his injury? One would think Barbaro would have some very valuable genetic material to his owners.

*Back to politics. I don't think liberals could win the war on terror. Here's my reasoning. For liberals, the world is a wonderful array of various shades of gray. To our Islamist enemies, it is quite black or white. To them, the war is about conquering or dying.

*Here's a thought on prisoner exchanges for kidnapped Israeli soldiers. If Hamas or Hezbollah kill 8 Israeli soldiers to kidnap 2, and then demand 1000 prisoners in exchange for the two, then Israel should treat it as a quid pro quo. Israel gets its two soldiers back, and Hamas/Hezbolah get 200 live prisoners back and 800 dead ones. But I doubt Hamas/Hezbollah would be too fond of a quid pro quo exchange.

*The politicking between groups that are pro-abstinence and groups that are pro-safe sex is tragically comic. Both work off of the faith that people can be trusted to make the right decision in a sexual situation (Say no or wearing a condom), and neither can accomplish their goals without the other. Yet they fight each other.

Military geography

Part of my collegiate education was spent in the History Department. I honed my geekiness there (thank goodness the lovely Mrs. Jib came along before the History did). As such, I developed an interest in all things military. That's why I'm looking forward to scouring this site on Military Geography. I haven't looked at it in depth yet, but if you share my pathology, check it out.

Correcting a wrong

Why don't I have Patrick McIheran blogrolled? He clearly has great taste and a refined sense of humor. I'm going to have to do one of my thrice yearly blogroll updates.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Quote of the Day

"The unforgivable crime is soft hitting. Do not hit at all if it can be avoided; but never hit softly." ~Theodore Roosevelt

The nature of war

With the U.S. now assuring detainees of Geneva rights, I think this thought that I had randomly jotted down a couple of weeks ago in my Moleskine is timely:

War between people who love life and people who welcome death is invariably fought on the terms of those who welcome death.

We may be taking the high road here, but it won't change the fact that radical Islamic terrorists will dictate the brutality of the battles.

Elisberg's "50 questions"

I don't know who Robert J. Elisberg is, but he is obviously famous and important enough to be part of Arianna Huffington's blogger club. On Thursday, he posted "50 Questions to Ask Any Republican." I guess I don't really see the point, but it has been a while since I've partaken in a pointless task so I am going to answer his questions here without any prodding from any lefties. Without further adieu, here we go.

1. What are the Top Seven best things that the Bush Administration has done?
Jib: Responding aggressively to radical Islamic terrorism, removing Saddam Hussein, responding proactively to the Clinton recession, continuously fighting against higher taxes, nominating good jurists to Federal courts, working through complicated diplomacy in regards to North Korea instead of relying on force, getting private account reform to Social Security in front of the nation despite the lack of reform,

2. Is the Iraq War is going well?
Jib: It certainly hasn't gone as quickly and smoothly as the Gulf War, but the project has been much bigger. It is difficult to say it isn't going well when you consider that Iraq has settled on a constitution and has developed a representative form of government more quickly than we did in the infancy of this country.

3. After three years thus far, when do you think Iraq might be able to "stand up" so that America can "stand down"?
Jib: Between 1 year and 2 years from this date. A little less than the amount of time it took for us to "stand down" in Germany and Japan after WWII.

4. For his part in the event, how would you rate the job the President did protecting New Orleans from devastation?
Jib: The responsibility for protecting New Orleans from devastation cannot be place on one President, or just the Federal Government, or just the state of Louisiana, or just the City of New Orleans. This disaster was facilitated by people at all levels of governments and the local community over 50 years. Giving a grade to one President is to place complete responsibility into one individual, which patently unfair. In the big picture, all levels of government performed poorly. The President's performance was fair at best.

5. How do you think the rebuilding of New Orleans is going?
Jib: Couldn't say, I haven't been there. I have talked with people in both that area and on the coast of Texas, and they describe rebuilding efforts from the hurricanes as slow.

6. When Dick Cheney and the oil company and energy executives met in private to plan America's energy policy, how much of their goal was to benefit consumers?
Jib: Can I get a citation on when this grand summit of the evil Cheney and the evil Oil Barons met to develop this Communist 5 year plan you are describing? If I were to speculate, I'd say that any conversation on national energy policy considers the well being of the national economy but not customer service, so to answer your question, not much specifically.

7. Do you believe in the President's call for an Era of Personal Responsibility?
Jib: Yes

8. Since Republicans control the White House, Senate and House of Representatives, how personally responsible are they for conditions in America today?
Jib: Partially, without a doubt, and their influence will continue to be felt 10, 25, and 50 years from now. Just like the actions of previous Democrat and Republican Presidents and Congresses have influence in the current conditions in America today.

9. Why do you think they haven't been able to find anyone who can verify that George Bush ever showed up for National Guard duty in Alabama?
Jib: Who the hell cared who George W. Bush was back then? That's your answer-nobody.

10. Would you want Donald Rumsfeld to plan your daughter's wedding?
Jib: Okay, bizarre question. No, no more so than I want government planning my retirement. But if he could bring some kickass fireworks to the reception, I'd appreciate that.

11. Are you aware that no government in the history of civilization, other than the Bush Administration, has lowered taxes during a war?
Jib: Great! Make that my 8th accomplishment of the administration

12. Are you married?
Jib: Yes

13. Do you personally feel threatened by gay marriage?
Jib: Nope. That doesn't mean that I think it is right.

14. Since getting elected, do you think the President has been more a uniter or a divider?
Jib: I think his best of intentions has been to be a uniter. Tough to unite with an opposition party that really has no motivation to unify with your party, though. The minority party doesn't regain the majority by unifying with the majority, and Democrats know it.

15. How do you explain the President's approval rating going from a high of 90% to the current mid-30%?
Jib: Two things. It has become quite common for second term presidencies to take a big popularity hit. Bush compounded this by pursuing some policies that really pissed off his core supporters. Most second terms (Truman excepted and Nixon excluded) end on a popularity high note, though. Bush can never top his post 9-11 high (and God help us if something happens that replicates it), but he'll rebound nicely by the end of his term.

16. Do you like the government collecting personal data on you without a warrant?
Jib: Not particularly. If I start chatting with al Qaeda in my sleep, though, I fully support them spying on my ass.

17. How much money do you have in your bank account, stocks and investments?
Jib: Less than you do, bucko.

18. What's your partner's favorite sex position?
Jib: It's called "The Taxpayer." I get to play the part of "Big Government."

19. If you have nothing to hide, why aren't you answering?
Jib: What? I did.

20. Should we build a wall along the Mexican border?
Jib: No. A good electric fence will do. We can use it to tie the California and Texas power grids together.

21. Why isn't anyone building a wall along the Canadian border?
Jib: When was the last time an illegal Quebec immigrant stole a social security number, and address, created a false identity, and worked here illegally, all while refusing to assimilate? Wait, check that last item. Besides, the environmentalist in me knows that it would impede the movement of the poor moose or caribou or something.

22. Does that terrorist gang arrested in Canada count as a threat?
Jib: Yes.

23. If you shot someone in the face while drinking, how fast would the police show up to arrest you?
Jib: Depends. I live in Wisconsin, so it may take a while. If I did it in Milwaukee, the answer to your question would be "never."

24. If Donald Rumsfeld had planned your daughter's wedding three years ago, would the guests still be there?
Jib: Huh? Are you trying to compare Iraq to a wedding, you fool? To answer your question, yes, if it were a hell of a party.

25. Even if no laws are broken, do you think it's okay to reveal the name of a covert agent?
Jib: Nope. Especially if you are married to her.

26. During your lifetime, approximately how often have you changed your mind?
Jib: Enough times.

27. Why shouldn't people dismiss you as a flip-flopper?
Jib: I don't change my mind on the toppings I like on my pizza because of the current popularity of pizza toppings. Likewise, I wouldn't change my mind on my support for a war just because of the latest poll, especially if my vote facilitated that war.

28. Where do you think the Weapons of Mass Destruction might be?
Jib: Most likely Syria, in the Bekka Valley. Although I'm sure Syria is doing its damnedest to make sure they are never tied to them.

29. Where do you think Osama bin Laden might be?
Jib: Either along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan or Iran. Most likely the former, though.

30. Is it fiscally responsible to cut taxes, increase spending and create a $9 trillion federal debt?
Jib: On the cutting taxes, yes. On the increased spending, no.

31. Are you glad liberals passed such programs as Social Security, Medicare, the Civil Rights Act, women's suffrage, federal deposit insurance, unemployment compensation, rural electrification, child labor laws, minimum wages and the 40-hour work week?
Jib: More or less, yes, although several of those programs have significant flaws. Whatever happened to those kinds of liberals, and why won't the liberals of today fix the flaws?

32. What are the Top Ten best things that conservatives have given to America?
Jib: Reagonomics. Star Wars. The fall of Communism. The end of the Carter presidency. The ideals of the Contract with America. Welfare reform (nope, that wasn't Clinton's). National pride during the 1980's. The end of stagflation. A marginally more reasonable taxation policy. A strong, confident, and extremely talented military. Keep in mind, we conservatives are not about giving Americans bigger, more faulty, and more bloated government programs, like those listed in question 31.

33. If you were on life support, would you want a doctor you'd never met making a diagnosis about you via remote television?
Jib: It depends. Does this doctor want to see me live or die?

34. Do you think man-made greenhouse gases have anything at all to do with depleting the ozone layer?
Jib: Umm, I though CFC's depleted the ozone, and CO2 was the greenhouse gas.

35. If Donald Rumsfeld had planned your daughter's wedding three years ago, and guests were still there, how many factions would they now be split into?
Jib: Two. The pro-chicken dancers and the anti-chicken dancers.

36. How good is it that the terrorist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was killed?
Jib: Very good.

37. Are you aware that in 2002 the Pentagon knew where al-Zarqawi was and presented three separate plans to kill him, but the Administration refused to act each time?
Jib: Yes. Thank goodness Bill Clinton was never did anything like that with the architect of all of this terrorism, Osama bin Laden.

38. Is George W. Bush the kind of guy you'd want to sit down and have a beer with?
Jib: Well, I'd have a beer. I'd insist on a soda for the President. It would be pretty cool if Cheney were on shotgun with us, too.

39. When he started talking about being a Born Again Christian, would you want to stay or leave?
Jib: I'm fine with it. I'm a Christian, but the stodgy Lutheran kind, not the Evangelical type. Still, tolerance, right? Isn't that what a good liberal is full of?

40. Is Ray Romano the kind of guy you'd want to sit down and have a beer with?
Jib: Sure.

41. Would you want him to be President?
Jib: Depends. Is he a good conservative?

42. Does the Administration have an environmental policy that benefits the environment?
Jib: Yes. By defeating John Kerry, they reduced the level of hot air in the atmosphere by 50%.

43. Since George Bush campaigned for President strongly against nation building, in what ways are our actions in Iraq not nation building?
Jib: Funny how watching your nation attacked can change your perspective, isn't it? Or did your perspectives of the world not change?

44. What's the maximum amount of time you'd want to spend alone with Dick Cheney?
Jib: Depends on when my wife expects me home for "The Taxpayer."

45. After dismissing Saddam Hussein's old Iraqi army, was it a good idea to let them keep their rifles?
Jib: What difference was it going to make? Over half of them had already fled the military. And the Middle East isn't England-weapons are pretty easy to come by. Good idea? No. Big difference maker? No.

46. Would a policy that allows torture be something that makes you proud as an American?
Jib: If it prevented the deaths of thousands of my fellow countrymen, I think I could probably live with it.

47. Has the Mission been Accomplished?
Jib: The set piece military conflict with the nation of Iraq has, yes. The "Mission" of stamping out Islamic terror is no where near complete, though.

48. Do you feel comforted that Dick Cheney is a heartbeat away from being President?
Jib: Yes.

49. If Donald Rumsfeld had planned your daughter's wedding, and guests started fighting and were killed, would you expect to be allowed to view the caskets when they were returned home?
Jib: Yes, but I would be adamantly opposed to the press photographing them.

50. How glad do you think George Bush is that he's no longer active in the National Guard?
Jib: Probably pretty good. He is 60, you know.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Danica Patrick to NASCAR?


T.J. Patrick, who has managed his daughter's career since her childhood, was at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, holding exploratory talks with some Nextel Cup teams and sponsors about the possibility of Danica leaving the IRL for NASCAR as early as next year
If she does make the jump, it will be a true test of her talent. NASCAR is, whether open wheel fans like it or not, the best of the best of American racing.

(Disclaimer: This post is a blatant effort to drive traffic. If you came here from a search for Danica Patrick, here are some pictures)

The diplomatic chess game we don't see?

Are we playing a high level diplomatic chess game in Southeast Asia?  I ask because there has been ample (and short sighted, in my opinion) criticism of President Bush over the past week in regards to the administration’s approach to North Korea.  I think the administration has correctly identified that China is the key to North Korea, which is why we will not depart from the 6 party talks.  On top of that, look what has happened in the week since North Korea launched its 7 missiles.  Japan has increased its talk of military build up and of the possibility of using preventative, offensive strikes, a possibility that surely unnerves China and North KoreaTaiwan began rumblings about doing its own missile test, which surely irritates and unnerves China as well.  Finally, and perhaps more coincidentally, India tested a medium range missile.  All of this may serve to show China how undesireable a wild and wooly SE Asia is in their own backyard, and may up the ante for them to dial up the pressure on North Korea in exchange for having us dial back Japan and Taiwan.


This is an alcoholic who doesn't screw around:
According to Neddermeyer, he showed up for work on April 21 and saw that there had been a spill of fuel alcohol. Hundreds of gallons of 190-proof alcohol were held in a 6-inch-deep holding pond that was about 30 feet by 24 feet.
"I am a recovering alcoholic, and I thought about the availability of this alcohol throughout the day," he wrote in a statement later provided to state officials. "Curious about the taste and its effects, I dipped into this lake of liquor and drank what I considered to be 2 to 3 ounces. The next thing I remember is waking up in Crawford County Memorial Hospital."

His blood alcohol content was .72! I once had a roommate that was so drunk that when he was puking, it just rolled out of his mouth and dribbled down his chin. We got him to a hospital 3 hours after he drank the vodka spiked beer that messed him up, and he was a little over .20. .72 is fraking pickled folks, and I mean pickled in the literal sense. They could have sold this guy as a cannibal bar snack at a BAC of .72.

Monday, July 10, 2006

USDA: Sugar ethanol not profitable in long run

Thank goodness for the USDA. They were around to tell us that it is cheaper to make ethanol from corn than from sugar.
Making ethanol from sugar could be profitable with the current high demand for the gasoline substitute, but it probably won't be for long, the Agriculture Department said Monday.
The report concluded that sugarcane and sugar beets were nearly 2 1/2 times as expensive to turn into ethanol as corn.

Now if you've been following the ethanol industry at all, the first question that will pop into your head is probably, "how does Brazil do it, then?" Good question. I'll let the last paragraph of the article explain it:

Some lawmakers from those states have been pushing sugar-to-ethanol, citing the model of Brazil, which produces ethanol made from sugar cane. But Collins noted that Brazil has cheaper sugar than the U.S.

Now, why is that sugar is more expensive here than Brazil? Ah yes, that's right, the lawmakers from "those states" that produce sugar have made sure that we prop up the price of sugar. Sugar producers could be very competitive with corn in the manufacture of ethanol if they just got the government out of the free market.

The tight ship Mexico

Imagine that. Not only does Mexico regulate immigration much more tightly than we do, it also runs its elections tighter than we do:

Mexico has developed an elaborate system of safeguards to prevent voter fraud. Absentee ballots, which are cast outside the view of election officials and represent the easiest way to commit fraud, are much harder to apply for than in the U.S. Voters must present a valid voter ID card with a photo and imbedded security codes. After they cast a ballot voters--just like those famously pictured in Iraq last year--also have a finger or thumb dipped in indelible purple ink to prevent them from voting again.

In the U.S. opponents of such anti-fraud measures as photo ID laws claim they will disenfranchise many voters and reduce voter turnout. But John Lott, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, notes that in the three presidential elections Mexico has conducted since the National Election Commission reformed the election laws "68% of eligible citizens have voted, compared to only 59% in the three elections prior to the rule changes." People are more likely to vote if they believe their ballot will be fairly counted.

Imagine that. There is less chance of voter fraud in Mexico City than Milwaukee. No wonder the UN wanted to monitor our elections.

The North Korean wildcard: Japan

I feel like I repeat this way more than I should, but I'm a big proponent diplomacy that is spoken softly in the shadow of a great big damn stick. As we continue on with North Korea, I think we may be seeing the most affective big stick imaginable shadowing over North Korea and, to a lesser extent, China. That stick would be Japan:
Japan said Monday it was considering whether a pre-emptive strike on the North's missile bases would violate its constitution, signaling a hardening stance ahead of a possible U.N. Security Council vote on Tokyo's proposal for sanctions against the regime.

Japan was badly rattled by North Korea's missile tests last week and several government officials openly discussed whether the country ought to take steps to better defend itself, including setting up the legal framework to allow Tokyo to launch a pre-emptive strike against Northern missile sites.

The last thing either of the Koreas or China want is to see Japan start fiddling with it's 'defense only' military policy. This may be just the big stick that makes the soft speak more effective.

Endangered bees

Bees creep me out. On top of that, my neighborhood is bee central. Despite that, bees are apparently in jeopardy.


...stinks. I lay in bed all night, and I get one hour of sleep. 6:30 rolls around, and I finally get tired.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Unintended consequences: Democrat edition

This is amusing. So Democrats want Tom Delay on the ballot this fall? They just may get their wish:

Former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay suggested Friday that he may not be ready for retirement just yet, a day after a federal judge ruled that his name must remain on the November ballot even though he resigned from Congress.

They won't have Tom Delay kicking them around, then again, maybe they will.