Monday, April 30, 2007

Give the guy a break, the water's cold

Okay, I'm tired and giggly, so that's my excuse for this post about a New York Times article on duck phalluses. There were so many snippets to take out of context and make fun of, but this one may have been my favorite.
When she first visited in January, the phalluses were the size of rice grains. Now many of them are growing rapidly. The champion phallus from this Meller’s duck is a long, spiraling tentacle. Some ducks grow phalluses as long as their entire body. In the fall, the genitalia will disappear, only to reappear next spring.

C'mon, I challenge you to read that article and not snicker.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

"...the first time in history that fire has ever melted steel."

Remember that snippet of a comment from Rosie O'Donnell, referencing her belief that fire from two planes could not have brung down the World Trade Center? It is absurd on its face, but just the same, I bring you this:
A section of freeway that funnels traffic off the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge collapsed early Sunday after a gasoline tanker truck overturned and caught fire, authorities said.

The heat from the fire was intense enough to melt part of the freeway and cause the collapse, but the truck's driver walked away from the scene with second-degree burns.

I'll be damned. It must have been a Bush-Rove-Cheney-Halliburton conspiracy to punish the Bay Area for Nancy Pelosi, because we all know fire can't melt steel.

Friday, April 27, 2007

I'm not sure you and I are looking at the same thing...

The NY Times reported today on a letter from George Washington that was found in the scrap book of a girl from the early 19th century. One of Washington's lines in that letter is as follows:

“The happiness of this Country depend much upon the deliberations of the federal Convention which is now sitting. It, however, can only lay the foundation — the community at large must raise the edifice.”

About that line, Ann Althouse had the following to say:

Very nice. The words evoke the notion of a living Constitution.

Only if that's what you really, really want them to evoke, Ann. Foundations tend not to be very malleable, nor do edifices change much once built. It seems much more likely Washington was talking about the community building a nation of itself upon the firm foundation the constitution. But if I have a few more beers and tilt my glasses just so, I guess I can see it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Found by the lovely Mrs. Jib on the back of a turtle cheesecake box sold by a popular school fundraising organization:
Serving size: 1/6 cake
Servings per container: 8
Huh? This is a whole, round cheesecake.

Smith: Students, Faculty "did all they could to survive"

Thomas W. Smith echoes what I said last week about the response of Virginia Tech students and faculty to Cho's rampage, except I'd give his column more weight than my post because Smith is a former marine who was trained in how to react to an ambush. Go read it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hamas has 'wings'

I found the first paragraph of this Reuters story quite interesting.

Hamas's armed wing declared an end to a five-month-old Gaza ceasefire on Tuesday by firing rockets into Israel, but the Palestinian government led by the Islamist group called for the truce to be restored.

So is this official? Hamas has 'wings'? If so, it doesn't matter much. One wing will still know what the other is doing in most situations. It would add a very IRA/Sinn Fein touch to the Palestinians. My bigger concern is if Reuters unilaterally decided to make this split. If that is the case, it is just another example of biased, terrorist friendly reporting on the part of Reuters because it attempts to split the violence of Hamas from the politics of Hamas, and that's just not possible.

A picture, a thousand words

I love this picture. It makes me think of nights out with some of my best friends.

Ethanol from carbon monoxide?

A company in New Zealand says they can do it.

New Zealand company LanzaTech, has announced it has secured US$3.5M in Series A funding, led by Khosla Ventures and supported by two existing New Zealand based investors. This funding will support further technology development, establishing a pilot plant, engineering work to prepare for commercial-scale ethanol production and positions the company to raise significant capital in the near future.

This technology could produce 50 billion gallons of ethanol from the world's steel mills alone, turning the liability of carbon emissions into valuable fuels worth over $50 billion per year at very low costs and adding substantial value to the steel industry. The technology will also be a key contributor to the cellulosic biofuels business as it can convert syngas produced through gasification into ethanol.

There is so much experimentation being done out there right now that it is hard to say what will be physically possible and what will be economically possible. This is an approach to ethanol that I could support...if it is economical and if the process is not an energy hog. I like the idea of finding ways to utilize both waste materials and wasted energy.

I recently had the opportunity to listen to a speech on biofuels by Jay Lehr of the Heartland Institute. My opinion of using corn as the feedstock for ethanol production remained unchanged-I still don't like it. If the science can advance enough to make the processes economical, I could get on board with using crop residue and some other types of biomass to make cellulosic ethanol, however. One attractive feature of cellulosic ethanol is that the production would create a byproduct that could be used to partially fuel the plant. I am not completely opposed to ethanol, just mandates of ethanol useage, heavily subsidized ethanol production, and energy inefficient ethanol production. Smart, economical ethanol could make me a fan.

Monday, April 23, 2007

So long, Boris

Boris Yeltsin has passed away in Russia. It is going to take a long time for Yeltsin's legacy to be written, and when it is I hope it is more for the good that he did in Russia than for the difficulties the country had during the transition from communism to whatever it is Russia is moving towards now.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A foreshadow of Fred Thompson stumbling blocks

I've been watching the love fest with Fred Thompson with great interest. I'm not a Fred Thompson acolyte, but I am open to hearing what he's all about. I'm a realist, too, which means that I know that Thompson, like all presidential candidates, will not have a smooth run of things if he chooses to join the race. Right now, he has the benefit of not having to stump and not having to be a target for other candidates and the media. If he runs, the magnifying glass will be on him, and the spotlight will be hot. So if you are already heady for a Thompson run, it might be best to prepare yourself for some of the issues that might be problematic for him amongst conservatives. If he can handle them deftly, then he deserves to be a front runner. If not, then he'll just be another candidate that doesn't meet the high bar conservatives are setting for this race.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Enough incompotence to go around...

...for Democrats and Republicans. If this story gets enough coverage, the American public is going to want to throw everyone out of office in 2008 and start over from scratch.

Back in the USSR

They keep getting closer.
At their first meeting with journalists since taking over Russia’s largest independent radio news network, the managers had startling news of their own: from now on, they said, at least 50 percent of the reports about Russia must be “positive.”

In addition, opposition leaders could not be mentioned on the air and the United States was to be portrayed as an enemy, journalists employed by the network, Russian News Service, say they were told by the new managers, who are allies of the Kremlin.

How would they know what constituted positive news?

“When we talk of death, violence or poverty, for example, this is not positive,” said one editor at the station who did not want to be identified for fear of retribution. “If the stock market is up, that is positive. The weather can also be positive.”

In a darkening media landscape, radio news had been a rare bright spot. Now, the implementation of the “50 percent positive” rule at the Russian News Service leaves an increasingly small number of news outlets that are not managed by the Kremlin, directly or through the state national gas company, Gazprom, a major owner of media assets.

The three national television networks are already state controlled, though small-circulation newspapers generally remain independent.

Russia has always been a stubborn and slightly backwards nation, as compared to most of Europe, the United States, and Asia. To believe that it would easily slip into Western world after the fall of communism may have been a little naive. For Russia, there is probably a happy hybrid of Westernism and "Russianism," to coin a word. Unfortunately, things like this are a good indicator that Russia is swinging further away from even a hybrid and towards, if not communism, at least a hard authoritarianism again.

Caution with the crazies

In the days following the Virginia Tech massacre, as we learned more and more about Cho Seung-Hui's very sick mental state, a lot of people started talking about how how we handle the psychopathic amongst us. Actually, how we don't handle them may be a better way of putting it. On the surface, I agree that we should be a little more willing and able to commit those who are so mentally ill that they are dangers to themselves and others. The topic really makes me cringe, though, because while they are cases out there that are obvious, this is still a very subjective area, the analysis of someone's mental stability. It is something that could easily be abused or handled irresponsibly. Let me give you an experience from my own college experience that may illustrate this. Caution, the story is a little long.

When I was in college, there was a business course that was a requirement for my major. Only one professor taught it the semester that I took it, and he struck fear into his students from the moment his first class started. He was originally from communist Eastern Europe, so he had a solid accent. He acted like he was pissed off every single day, and he was always serious. On the first day of class, he made us read the course syllabus and sign it, saying it was a contract between us and him. He'd teach us the material in the syllabus, and if we did the work, he'd give us a grade in return. He was also an absolute stickler for following directions. One day early in the course, he gave us a quiz. It was impossibly difficult for everyone. At the top of the quiz, the directions said "Sign your name and hand in." We all finished out quizes and turned them in. Next class, he handed them back and we all got zeros...except the guy who would normally have been the class wise ass. He signed his name and handed it in without doing anything else. He got a 100.

He pulled little games like that on us all the damn time, and frankly, it irritated the living hell out of me. Here I am, paying for my own schooling, and this guy is wasting my money by pulling games that are getting me grades from zero to 60 on a 100 point scale. One Friday he gave us two articles to read at the end of class. By this time, I'd figured him out enough to know that he was going to be doing something on these articles first thing Monday morning. Sure enough, there was another quiz. At the top of the quiz, there was a statement that said that we had read the articles and that we were only allowed to continue with the quiz if we had. There were two places for signatures...but no direction to sign it. So I didn't, even though I had read the articles. I took the quiz and handed it in. When I got the quiz back on Wednesday, I got another zero because I had not signed it. There was much discussion between he and the class over this quiz, so he told us that if we felt that we deserved a better grade, write why on the back of the quiz and hand it in.

So I thought I had this guy dead to rights. I had done the work and I had followed the instructions to a T. I wrote that on the back of the quiz, and I also wrote that he was in breach of his own contract with me per the syllabus. I had done the work, and he had given me a zero, an absence of a grade. I also said that if we were unable to rectify the situation, I was going to "go over his head to get my grade." To me, that was a clear statement that I was going to go to a Dean at the business college to address this if he wouldn't. I was terrified for the next class, but I was also anxious to see what was going to happen. I'd played his game, or so I thought.

I got the quiz back again. The grade had not changed, but there was a note on it that said, "See me in my office after class." I really did not like that, but I was also firmly of the position that we were going to hash this out and get it taken care of...and I still thought I had him cornered with his own logic. After class I headed up to his office, and he told me to close the door, which I did. I sat down, and he became quite angry, telling that he did not know my exact mental state, but that he was taking "go over his head" as a physical threat. He told me that he feared starting his car at night because he was afraid that I was going to "drop a ping pong ball filled with gasoline in my engine, causing it to explode." He told me that he was probably going to alert the business school, school security, and the city police of my "threat." I was very alarmed. If a long time professor, and Doctor, of a university makes a claim like that against a 21 year old college student, the college student probably isn't going to get the benefit of the doubt, even though evidence of any threat was non-existant except in this man's mind.

I ended up jousting and dancing with him rhetorically in that conversation well enough that when I left, he no longer was going to take my note to the authorities, but he still did consider it a threat. I don't know if it was life in Eastern Europe that had made him that paranoid and slightly deranged, if he was playing another game with me, or if he was just plain nuts. I do (and did) know this, though. If we were too loose about locking up the crazies in this country, he would have been able to play the system to get my ass locked up, even though I was the sane one in that situation. And that's why I cringe just a little bit whenever the public discourse gets into the subject of committing people. Yes, in cases like Cho, it is painfully obvious and there must be tools for getting those people off the streets. But when nerves and emotions are raw after a tragedy like this, we are always at risk of giving too much power to the government, and that's what I fear right now. I don't like giving government at any level subjective power without having it severely reigned in, even if that means that I'm a little less safe in public. I'd rather take my chances against a lone nut than the full weight of a government using its power irresponsibly. So while I'm sure we will look for ways to prevent the next Virginia Tech, I hope everyone out there is very cautious of what powers over us government may try to take for itself.

Post script
I ended up figuring out my professor well enough that on our end of year group project report for a role play that we had done, he wrote "Your leader (me) did a good job of keeping you out of trouble. He's going to make a fine CEO one day." I also got an A in the class despite the fact that most of my grades were below 60. But I still have a photocopy of what I wrote on that quiz, just in case I ever need to defend myself with it.

Friday, April 20, 2007


I know that in this post-modern, touchy feely Western world we aren't supposed to use that word. Tough. It is the only word that describes this:
The boy with the knife looks barely 12. In a high-pitched voice, he denounces the bound, blindfolded man before him as an American spy. Then he hacks off the captive's head to cries of "God is great!" and hoists it in triumph by the hair.

A video circulating in Pakistan records the grisly death of Ghulam Nabi, a Pakistani militant accused of betraying a top Taliban official who was killed in a December airstrike in Afghanistan.

An Associated Press reporter confirmed Nabi's identity by visiting his family in Kili Faqiran, their remote village in southwestern Pakistan.

The video, which was obtained by AP Television News in the border city of Peshawar on Tuesday, appears authentic and is unprecedented in jihadist propaganda because of the youth of the executioner.

The fury over NBC's broadcast of Cho video, pictures

I am sitting back reading and listening to all of the backlash against NBC for showing the video and pictures that Cho sent them, and a couple of thoughts sprung to mind. My first was, "what if Cho had mailed that material off to a blogger?" I have little doubt that most bloggers would have posted the material, even many of those who are criticizing NBC now. Because of that, I have a lot trouble taking the harping by my fellow bloggers seriously. As for the media critics, that's there pay check, to find something to complain about. My second thought was this: "What if NBC had held onto the material and not broadcast it?" I think a number of blogs and critics would have lauded NBC for its decision, but I think an even larger number of blogs and critics would be calling on NBC to release the material in the interest of allowing the public to better understand what was going on with this guy. And of course, that would have merely been a veneer of respectability on top of the significant voyeurism we have in this country. If NBC had waited, say, a week to air that material, the response to it would have been completely different.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Alec Baldwin, a real class act

A couple of weeks ago I was tempted to give Alec Baldwin his due when I read that he decided to cover the college expenses of a young woman who was going off to war in Iraq. I'm glad that I didn't, because he just keeps proving that he doesn't have much class:

The festering bad blood between movie-star exes Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger erupted Thursday when an angry phone message from Baldwin to his daughter was made public. On the recording, Baldwin can be heard berating his 11-year-old, Ireland, "You are a rude, thoughtless little pig."

"You don't have the brains or the decency as a human being," he says, apparently upset that she did not answer her phone for a planned call.

"I don't give a damn that you're 12 years old, or 11 years old, or that you're a child, or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the ass who doesn't care about what you do as far as I'm concerned. You have humiliated me for the last time with this phone."

I don't care how difficult his divorce and custody battle has been, and I don't care about the sides of the story. Parents get angry at children, but calling them names like "pig" is inexcusable.

Now that's not to say that Kim Bassinger does have class. She doesn't either. I entertain no doubts about what her intentions were in releasing this voice mail. Her intentions were to humiliate Baldwin, nothing else.

Miscellaneous drive time thoughts.

*I've heard just a little bit of talk this week wondering as to why no one tried to jump Cho Seung-Hui. Frankly, I think everyone did their best against him. Every strategic advantage was his-he had surprise on his side, in the hallways he had two long and narrow fields of fire that limited approachability, and inside the classrooms he had the advantage once he made it though the doorway. The only defense the students and faculty had was at the doors, and faculty and students were killed or wounded defending those doorways. There wasn't much more they could do.

*Americans spend countless hours stuck in traffic every year, yet none of us has used that time to figure out how to end gridlock.

*If I had to deal with gridlock every day, I'd eventually have to wire my car for blogging. I have too many good thoughts while stuck in traffic that seem to disappear by the time I get to a computer.

*Detroit actually has some very interesting architecture. It is a shame the city is stuck in a downward slide.

*I'm not a Ford guy by any means, but Ford Mustangs are fun to drive, none the less.

*Nissan Sentras, not so much.

*Western Michigan is nice area that I'd gladly visit on a long weekend. I'd like to hit some of the wineries, chocolate stores, and farm markets with the lovely Mrs. Jib sometime.

Hello Wisconsin

Ahhh, it is wonderful to be home. It was nice to miss the final snowstorm of the year last week, but it doesn't take long to miss home. The blogging shall now return to normal.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Canada: A waste of perfectly good tundra

Ugh. I had Canadian talk radio on this morning. They were talking aboot the Virginia Tech murders. What a nation of pompous asses (at least those in the east). And that's all I have to say aboot that.

Monday, April 16, 2007

What a terrible day

I spent a lot of time staring at a highway today, and it was very difficult to listen to reports of the massacre at Virginia Tech. I'm not even going to pretend to have the words for this. Just pray for the dead, the injured, and all of their loved ones. And hug your own loved ones. I'm a long way from home right now and I wish I could hug my own loved ones. And for me personally, I'm glad that WTMJ radio's signal carries well across Lake Michigan and well into western Michigan. It was better to be far from home and at least be able to hear the coverage from familiar voices like Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner, and the news team.

Incidentally, as Jeff Wagner's show progressed and after I lost the WTMJ signal and had to tune into other talk radio, I started to hear a lot of people talking about the political points of guns. Folks, there will be a time for that. Today and tomorrow are not it. We don't even know the details of this tragedy yet. Give it a few days, and then you will have all the time in the world to indulge in the political. But have some respect for the deceased and their mourning loved ones for now.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

...And you must not want a tip

I had a waitress tonight who was trying really hard to be friendly, but she was very awkward. It didn't help that I was having trouble hearing her (that'll be funny later in this post) due to the low din in the restaurant. So she brought me my bill and I slipped my credit card in the bill holder. She came back with the slip and said "99?" and then something I couldn't make out. I immediately got paranoid, thinking some code 99 rejection had come back on my card, an unhappy thought this far from home with open hotel room and car rental charges already on the card. I defensively said, "what?" She repeated herself, saying, "[Card member since] '99? You must be getting ancient." I think I'd have prefered to hear that my card was rejected. Also, it was a funny thing to tell someone who hasn't filled in your tip yet.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tobacco and Toys

In this little tourist trap of 7,000 people that I'm in, there are a lot of novelty shops. There are a couple that stood out to me as I drove through town because they sell cigars and "adult novelties". If it weren't for Bill Clinton, I would have never made the connection there.

Not a vehicle to tailgate out in the sticks

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Don Imus' unemployment is not a free speech issue

I had a chance to listen to some Sirius talk radio last night, a little today, and I've seen some talk shows on TV at night, and I must say I'm getting irritated by hearing people defend Don Imus on the basis of free speech. Don Imus still has free speech. Nobody sentenced him to hard labor for his comments. Nobody sent him to a concentration camp. He wasn't executed in the dark of night. What he lost was his far reaching platform for his speech, and it wasn't the government that took it from him. It was his employers, and his employers took it from him because they no longer wanted to be represented by the things Imus says. The lesson to take away from this isn't that free speech is being restricted, because it isn't. Imus could hop on Blogger tomorrow and start insulting anyone he wants. Freedom of speech does not mean that you are entitled to reach millions of people with your words. The true lesson to be taken away from this is that words have consequences, and if you say something stupid and awful, there is the possibility that people and organizations may choose not to associate with you any longer. And when you say something stupid and awful in the course of your employment, it may be your employer that chooses to cease its association with you.

A bee question

I have a bee question (tee bee?). I've read numerous stories on the phenomenom of bee colonies collapsing. I've also begun to read stories warning of the possible disaster looming if there are not enough honey bees to pollinate crops. Here's my question, though: How do we know the bees are dying? Almost all of the informational stories talk as though the bees are dying, but they also all have a line in them that say the bees are disappearing from the colonies with no bodies to be found. Maybe the bees aren't dying but moving on.

My father got me on this thought process. A couple of weeks ago we were talking over beers, and we were discussing the birds that visit his back yard. Last year they saw a number of birds in their backyard that they normally don't see in the city. The reason they saw many of these birds is because it was abnormally dry in their area last year, and fields out in the country became very hard. A number of birds moved into the well watered city to look for food. That led into a discussion of the honey bees that have took refuge in the corner of his porch last summer. I've encouraged their swift extermination, but he seems to have chosen to let them live there. We discussed the collapse of colonies and the possibility of that for his house hive, and he voiced an interesting thought. Maybe these colonies are not dying off, but perhaps there is something about their exisiting homes that is no longer beneficial, leading them to leave and form new colonies in more advantagous locations, much like the birds in his area adjusted their preferred locales when the summer weather made their existing ones harder to survive in.

I'll admit that I'm a bee simpleton. Maybe it is just not possible for this to occur, but I'd like to know if it is. If so, then commercial bee keepers do still have to worry, and the causation for the collapses still needs to be uncovered. However, if it is possible that these bees are relocating, than there really isn't anything to worry about crop-wise.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I have some cheap beach front property for you...

My drive across northern Florida today was on Highway 98, along Florida's Gulf Coast. I was struck by how many properties along the coast are for sale and seemingly sitting empty. If I had to guess, I'd say it must be impossible or horribly expensive to get flood insurance for these properties. In one sense, it is sad to see so many beautiful properties up for sale and seemingly not selling. On the other hand, it is encouraging to know that maybe the next time a major hurricane strikes this area, there might be less occupied human development in the way of its storm surge.

Northern Florida a wildfire waiting to happen

I was driving through northern Florida, and I can understand why they have fire advisories in place. That part of the state is a tinder box. Dry weather plays a part, of course, but after today I don't think that is the main problem. The main problem is the underbrush in the forests is ungodly thick, and there is so much dead vegetation mixed in that it is surprising they don't have more wildfires. The forest management plans may have allowed the growth of this underbrush as a nod to a more "natural" environment, but the consequences of that is this state will continue to have to deal with significant forest fires. There is just to much fuel laying around the forest floors.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

An anniversary for one of my favorite posts

Every once in a while I like to go back into my archives to see what I was writing about a year or two ago. Tonight I went back to April of 2006, hoping for a little inspiration. Much to my surprise, I found that tomorrow is the one year anniversary of one of my favorite posts: The death of the Republican Revolution. I still think it is dead on.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The next nine days at Jiblog

I'll be the first to admit that blogging has been anything but robust here. Unfortunately, for the next 9 days it will probably only get worse. I'll be busy during that time, and while I anticipate doing some writing, the frequency/consistency is going to be unpredictable. Consider my posts over the next week plus as "bonus blogging."

New Firefox Glitch

When I wrote my update to the last post, I discovered a new glitch with my browser. For some reason it refused to allow me to type an apostrophe. Every time I tried, the find function fired up. Closing out Firefox and starting it back up again solved the problem, but I think that one trumps all the freaky things Netscape has done to me over the years.

Global warming...except in Cleveland

Try telling the baseball fans in Cleveland that they are suffering from global warming:

After having today's home doubleheader against Seattle postponed, he weather-beaten Indians are packing their bags for a trip to Milwaukee tonight to prepare for a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in the Brewers' Miller Park, which has a retractable dome roof.

Major League Baseball decided to move the Indians-Angels series - scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday at Jacobs Field - to Milwaukee because in Cleveland, temperatures in the high 40s are forecast, along with rain Thursday. Unofficially, the games in Milwaukee will be at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 1:05 p.m. on Thursday.

Tuesday's starter for Cleveland will be Rick Vaughn.

Update #1
For $10 a ticket, my butt would have been in a seat for all three games if not for the fact that I am flying out of town at the butt crack of dawn on Wednesday morning.

Update #2
The Indians were originally going to have Rick Vaughn Glasses Night for their Tuesday game. Despite the fact that it still shows up on the schedule, they will not be handing out Rick Vaughn glasses at Miller Park.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

I declare shennanigans

Bull. B-U-L-L. From The Detroit News:
Credit Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally with saving the leader of the free world from self-immolation.

Mulally told journalists at the New York auto show that he intervened to prevent President Bush from plugging an electrical cord into the hydrogen tank of Ford's hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid at the White House last week. Ford wanted to give the Commander-in-Chief an actual demonstration of the innovative vehicle, so the automaker arranged for an electrical outlet to be installed on the South Lawn and ran a charging cord to the hybrid. However, as Mulally followed Bush out to the car, he noticed someone had left the cord lying at the rear of the vehicle, near the fuel tank.

"I just thought, 'Oh my goodness!' So, I started walking faster, and the President walked faster and he got to the cord before I did. I violated all the protocols. I touched the President. I grabbed his arm and I moved him up to the front," Mulally said. "I wanted the president to make sure he plugged into the electricity, not into the hydrogen This is all off the record, right?"

Let me start by saying this. If Ford has a hydrogen-electric car that you can accidentally blow up just by putting the plug in the wrong spot, then it is safe to say it is the next Pinto and it is going to be the last car the Ford Motor Company ever makes. Also, if this is the case, than it is Mulally and the Ford Motor company that are stupid, not the President. Second, while this story is obviously exagerated or false, that won't stop it from being enshrined in the left's "Bush is stupid" myth hall of fame. All it takes is enough morons on the left to bite on a story like this for it to be enshrined.

As it turns out, it is Mulally who is full of crap.

Unintended Consequences: Banning the Incandescent Lightbulb

As the political will to ban incandescent lightbulbs has picked up steam over the last several months, a number of smart thinkers out there have begun to think of the unintended consequences of such acts. The American Thinker has an article up which nicely outlines a number of these unintended consequences, from the increase of mercury waste to increased energy prices in off-peak hours with no reduction in coal plant numbers. I strongly suggest that everyone read it before legislation enacting these bans pick up much more momentum.

On top of the most commonly mentioned side effects of the bans, I have another that I've been thinking about since late this winter. On one particularly cold evening, I was sitting at my computer in my darkened living room, freezing my butt off. The furnace was running almost non-stop to keep the house at 65 degrees. I finally got up an turned on all of the incandescent lights in the living room. After a few minutes, the room felt warmer and the furnace, while still running frequently, took longer breaks in between cycles on. You see, the heat that many view as energy that is wasted by incandescent bulbs actually contributes to the warmth of a house in a colder climate. If we swap out our incandescents for flourescent bulbs, are we going to see a small but significant increase in the use of natural gas and heating oil as furnaces compensate for that lost heat? Most likely, and that little bit of extra burning of fossil fuels is going to eat into savings produced by the switch from incandescents to flourescents.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Hunting Wabbits and Varmints

Shh! Mitt Romney Hunts Wabbits & Varmints

Sigh. Politicians should always be themselves. When they aren't, they're more unbelievable than usual. The Mitt Romney example:

"I'm not a big-game hunter. I've made that very clear," he said. "I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will. I began when I was 15 or so and I have hunted those kinds of varmints since then. More than two times."

Varmints, Mitt? Ya know, just admit that you aren't a hunter. It isn't going to reflect badly on you. But now not only do people question your conservatism, they're waiting for Bugs Bunny to get the better of you.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

VA hospital takes wrong teste

Ouch. That's gotta hurt in more ways than one.
An Air Force veteran filed a federal claim after undergoing an operation at a Veterans Administration hospital in which a healthy testicle was removed instead of a potentially cancerous one.

Benjamin Houghton, 47, was to have had his left testicle removed on June 14 at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center because there was a chance it could harbor cancer cells. It also was atrophied and painful.

But doctors mistakenly removed the right testicle, according to medical records and the claim, which seeks $200,000 for future care and unspecified damages.

Ladies, that's why guys get nervous about any medical procedure down there. There is always the fear that something like this will happen.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Or bobber?

Next time, Fred

The voters were just saving you for a bigger office, Fred.

Nice move, Mr. President

Normally, I don't think I'd approve of this, but congressional Democrats have been unreasonable and obstructionist for most of Bush's two terms.
President Bush used Congress’s Easter break today to defy Democratic lawmakers and appoint three officials who have already drawn heavy criticism on Capitol Hill.
Naming the three while Congress is in recess allows Mr. Bush to avoid the Senate confirmation process. The recess appointments allow the three to remain in their posts until the end of 2008, virtually the end of Mr. Bush’s second term.

A great internet April Fool's joke...

...played on left wing blogs by Coptix.

Thoughts on a presidential announcement

As I mentioned over at the BBA, I was at Tommy Thompson's "official" announcement that he is a candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2008. For the most part, these announcement events are, well, uneventful. Still, I appreciate the opportunity to be at Thompson's announcement, and I have a few thoughts on the day's festivities. As for Thompson's speech, I think it was solid over all. From a pure stylistic standpoint, it was easy to tell what issues Thompson is passionate about and which issues he is not. His passion for issues is going to be a huge benefit for him on the campaign trail as long as he keeps it reigned in, but he may lose some people on those issues he does not get as excited about.

As for the substance of his speech, in my post at the BBA I stated that, "I think a few of his ideas are going to be on the edge of conservatism at best." I've changed my mind on that slightly. There are a few issues that Thompson has stances on that are not pure conservative issues. In fact, they divide conservatives. Some of those issues, including ethanol, health plans, and the line item veto for the President, could be beneficial to Thompson in the caucuses/primaries but come back to bite him in a general election. His Iraq plan has some promise. At the very least, it created a sense of hope, something I think a lot of people are craving right now. I was left wondering how feasible some aspects of his plan were, unfortunately.

As I left Messmer high school, my over all opinion of the Thompson campaign remained unchanged. He would need to end up 1st or 2nd in the Iowa caucus, because with primaries moving forward, that caucus is going to be even more important than it was before. His all out Iowa strategy is a good one, but we mustn't forget that all of the other candidates will be dumping resources into Iowa, too. Quietly keeping the VP doors open might be a good move for Thompson.

-Thanks to the nice folks from Madison that I carpooled with. I sat next to a few of them, and they patiently tolerated me, a total stranger, clicking away on my camera during the speeches.
-My apologies to the woman from WPR. I'm not sure if she was on the air at the point she asked to talk with me about the speech, but I just wasn't prepared to discuss it yet when I declined.
-A Journal Sentinel reporter asked some questions of us outside Messmer after the event. I was struck by his questions. It was clear that he already had his story formulated in his head, and he was searching for the quotes he wanted from Thompson supporters by asking carefully tailored questions. I can understand having the framework for a story in mind while asking questions, but was trying to gin up the supporting quotes for his thesis. It didn't appear that his thesis was all that favorable for Thompson.
-One question that seemed to offend the people I was with was, "do you think Mrs. Thompson is supportive of his decision to run?" I think I have an inkling as to what he had in mind with that question, and I'm just waiting to see what reporter goes there first.

Finally, I wanted to share this picture. I had a tough time photographing Thompson because of the relatively low lighting, my moderate quality equipment, and because my inferior photography skills. This one is amusing, though, and the look on Thompson's face and the laugh on Scott Walker's makes it seem like somebody had exhibited bad manners off-camera.

That's just wrong

I just saw a Clorox commercial. One of the children in the commercial whispered the following:

"I play with my poops in the toilet"

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! Never again, Clorox. Never again.

Expert A v. Expert B, gas price edition

Class, please come to order. Today's lesson is on the reliability of "experts".

Expert A:

Analysts say that the price reduction should hold during the coming days but won't translate into lower prices at the pump.

"Things are looking pretty bad for the upcoming summer driving season," said Flynn, citing a new government report showing that the U.S. stockpiles of gasoline fell by 5 million barrels in the past week, much more than analysts were expecting.

Flynn said he believes gasoline prices will head into record territory — currently a nationwide average of $3.07 — by the height of the summer season.

"This is the time of year when we're supposed to be building supplies, but it seems like the refiners just can't get ahead of what has been very, very strong demand," he said.

Today's report shows that the national supply of gas is at the low end of its average range for this time of year, meaning the United States will have less gas in the tank before the peak summer driving season in the coming months.

Analysts said that puts the country on the edge, making any disruption in supply — such as a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico refining regions or an expansion of the crisis in the Middle East — that much more dangerous.

"Everyone asks me, will we see $4 a gallon? And the answer is, there is a strong possibility that we may see $4 a gallon," said Flynn.

Expert B:

One of the nation's leading gasoline price experts predicted Tuesday that the days of high gas prices may soon be behind us.

Gasoline prices run in 10- year to 13-year cycles and 2007 is a turning point, said Ben Brockwell, director of data, pricing and information services for the Oil Price Information Service of Rockville, Md. Brockwell was the keynote speaker at a convention of the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association at the Marriott Madison West in Middleton.

Normal spring gas price increases came early this year, Brockwell said and he believes they've peaked. In the long term, Brockwell predicted that the buildup of supplies will cause an eventual correction in the oil futures market that could send crude oil prices tumbling to as low as $15 a barrel.

Madison gas prices averaged $2.69 a gallon for regular Tuesday afternoon, up from $2.51 a month ago and up from $2.64 a year ago, according to The national average Tuesday was $2.72 a gallon. The price of crude oil dropped $1.30 Tuesday to $64.64 a barrel.

James Williams, an energy economist with WTRG Economics of London, Ark., agreed with Brockwell's analysis.

He said gas prices could drop about 25 cents a gallon over the next two months because current gasoline margins aren't justified by the price of crude oil. Spring price increases came early this year, he said, because some refiners finished their spring maintenance early. Refiners switch at this time of year from winter blend to summer blend, which costs more because of more expensive ingredients.

Okay, class. What have you learned?

Iran to release British sailors

This seems unusual.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has met with some of the 15 British military personnel held in Iranian custody for almost two weeks, shortly after pardoning the group and vowing to set them free.

There has to be a backstory here, and if so, eventually that will be the story. It is difficult to believe Iran would return the sailors for no reason.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

If at first you don't succeed...

...try, try again.

The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season should be "very active," with nine hurricanes and a good chance that at least one major hurricane will hit the U.S. coast, a top researcher said Tuesday.

Forecaster William Gray said he expects 17 named storms in all this year, five of them major hurricanes with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater. The probability of a major hurricane making landfall on the U.S. coast this year: 74 percent, compared with the average of 52 percent over the past century, he said.

Last year, Gray's forecast and government forecasts were higher than what the Atlantic hurricane season produced.

There were 10 named Atlantic storms in 2006 and five hurricanes, two of them major, in what was considered a "near normal" season. None of those hurricanes hit the U.S. Atlantic coast — only the 11th time that has occurred since 1945. The National Hurricane Center in Miami originally reported nine storms, but upgraded one storm after a post-season review.

It looks to me like they learned three lessons. First, don't boastfully predict extremes-it makes you look pretty bad when you are wrong. Second, when predicting extremes, use vague, meaningless, wiggle-room words like "very active." Third, if you continue to make the same prediction (more or less), then eventually the law of averages will make you a prophet.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I love a rainy night

There was a great scene in our southern sky tonight, and I wish I had the photography equipment and skills to have recorded it. In the east-southeast sky was a full moon that was still low in the sky. The light of the moon was illuminating some fast moving clouds just below. Meanwhile, in the southwest sky there was a storm rapidly moving across the sky with lightning flashing in the clouds tops. I didn't have a wide enough lense to get them both in, and even if I did, it wouldn't have done the moon justice. On top of that, I wasn't sure how to handle the settings on the camera. I would have preferred to have held the lense open until a lightning flash, but the light of the full moon would have wreaked havoc with that. On top of that, the clouds were moving across the sky so quickly that a faster shutter speed and wider aperture would have been preferable. Since I didn't get it on camera, you'll have to recreate it with the 40 or so words that I gave you. Consider it low resolution.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Revealing a mystery beer

I have two apologies. The first is for the lack of blogging this weekend. I was in the land of milk and Honey Weiss, and that tends to not be conducive to blogging. This particular weekend I spent some time setting up a new computer for the Mother Jib. Secondly, I apologize for teasing the Leinie's drinkers out there with the new 'mystery beer'. I was informed that I was being selfish by writing about the new Leinie's but withholding my information. I agree. Now that I've had a pint, I'll fill you all in.

The mystery Leinie's beer is called Leinenkugel's "Big Eddy" Imperial IPA. As I understand it, this beer was brewed in Milwaukee and it was limited to less than 150 barrels. It also can only be found in the Madison and Milwaukee markets. I tried it this afternoon with a friend at The Great Dane in the Hilldale area of Madison. I understand it can be found at The Angelic, Genna's, Wonder's Pub, The Echo Tap, The Ivory Room, Concourse Hotel, The Edgewater, Paul's Club, and Romans' Club. I'm sure there are other locations, but those are the ones I've seen mentioned.

The beer itself is unlike any Leinenkugel product you are going to drink. I had mine at the Great Dane, and it was fun just to watch it served. They used a pump style tapper to serve it, and the bartender held it behind the bar for several minutes while the head subsided. The 9.5% alcohol content "Big Eddy" is bitter on the front end and very strong with hops. It is a quite flavorful beer and my companion and I both enjoyed it, although we both admitted that it wasn't a beer we'd be drinking in great quantities. It is a little heavier that most Leinenkugel brews, and the alcohol content is quite a kick if you haven't eaten first.

Now that I've had it, I encouraged everyone else to give it a try. It won't be a favorite for a lot of beer drinkers, but for others it will be a welcome change to such beers as Apple Spice and Summer Shandy.