Thursday, May 31, 2007

Blue moon


This moon was surprisingly difficult to photograph, mostly because the relative humidity is so high that my lense filter would fog up, and stay fogged, the entire time I was outside shooting.

Only Congress can make an internet hoax a reality


The era of tax-free e-mail, Internet shopping and broadband connections could end this fall, if recent proposals in the U.S. Congress prove successful.

State and local governments resumed a push to lobby Congress for far-reaching changes on two different fronts: gaining the ability to impose sales taxes on Net shopping, and being able to levy new monthly taxes on DSL and other connections. One senator is even predicting taxes on e-mail. (ital mine)

Next up will be emails from Nancy Pelosi asking for your bank account information so she can get $42 million out of William Jefferson's freezer.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bush administration on the wrong side of an issue, again

For me, this story says it all about my frustrations with the Bush administration. They are going to wade into the free prevent a company from doing a safety test on all of its products.
The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.

The Agriculture Department tests less than 1% of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. But Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone tested its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive test, too.

A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. The ruling was to take effect June 1, but the Agriculture Department said Tuesday it would appeal — effectively delaying the testing until the court challenge plays out.

If Creekstone Farms tests all of their animals, it will be far from compulsory for other beef producers to follow suit. Will it give Creekstone Farms a marketing advantage? Certainly. Will their beef cost more and also have a higher margin? Most definitely. Will there still be a huge market for cheaper, less-frequently tested beef? You bet your rump roast. Not only is the Bush Administration acting very unconservatively by wading into this free market issue, it also looks stupid for trying to keep a company from doing product safety testing on all of its meat.

Looking forward to 2008, correcting the errors of 2006

When you have a necessary choice between the ideal, the imperfect, and the bad, it is obviously in your best interest to choose the ideal option.

When you have a necessary choice between the imperfect and the bad, choosing the imperfect is also in your best interests.

When faced with a necessary choice between a bad option and a worse option, it is still in your best interest to choose the bad over the worse.

The only exception to the above occurs when the situation is dire and calls for a scorched earth policy. A scorched earth policy makes things much worse immediately with no guarentee that one day things will be better than they are now, however, and are best left as last ditch efforts at survival.

So now you are probably wondering, "what the hell is the point Jib is trying to make here?" My point is this: Next time you are in a voting booth, apply the logic above. Last fall we conservatives grumbled mightily about our Republican choices in the midterm elections. I suspect many of us went to the scorched earth plan well before it was justified. As a result, we collectively chose the 'worse option' with no guarentees that things will be better down the road.

Additionally, realize that, as a self reliant conservative, if you don't like your choices at the polls again in 2008, you are partly to blame. Before and during the primary elections, you have the freedom to recruit, support, campaign for, and donate to a candidate you find satisfactorily conservative. The blame game played by a lot of grass roots conservatives in 2006 has to stop before 2008 or Democrats are going to own Washington for a long, long time. We all have some ownership in who is and is not chosen to represent us, and thus share in the blame for lousy candidates and representatives. Do something about it.

And yes, as an on again, off again complainer in 2006, I'm going to take a couple of big doses of my own medicine.

Terrorism dry run confirmed

This is disturbing.

A newly released inspector general report backs eyewitness accounts of suspicious behavior by 13 Middle Eastern men on a Northwest Airlines flight in 2004 and reveals several missteps by government officials, including failure to file an incident report until a month after the matter became public.
"Agency management was not only covering up numerous probes and dry-run encounters from Congress and other federal law-enforcement agencies, it was also hiding these incidents from their own flying air marshals," said P. Jeffrey Black, an air marshal stationed in Las Vegas.

Homeland Security officials initially denied the complaints and blamed passengers who reported the incident to the press as behaving hysterically. However, the inspector general report shows that air marshals had the group of men under surveillance before they boarded the plane.
"What is disturbing to us as pilots is that there are now a number of incidents like this taking place across our industry and the vast majority of our flights are still defenseless," said Captain David Mackett, president of the Airline Pilots Security Alliance.

"If I were a member of Congress, I'd be asking some hard questions about why such a small percentage of flights have armed pilots or air marshals aboard, while the TSA whistles past the graveyard, asking us to believe none of this is related to terrorism," Mr. Mackett said.

Read the whole thing. I'll have more on this later in the day, as well as links back to previous posts on this incident. I'd be surprised if this story doesn't get a lot of play in the blogosphere today.

One Billion Mercury Spills

Dennis the Peasant (via Moxie) goes after the One Billion Bulbs project. I have my own project, the One Billion Mercury Spills project. In this project, I'm calling on the world to slip one billion compact fluorescent light bulbs into their garbage bags instead of properly recycling them. The goal of this project is to see how long it takes for people to get up in arms over mercury seeping into the ground water via normal human disregard for recycling. If you toss a CFL in your garbage, make note of it in the comments, anonymously. I don't care enough to actually keep a count, but maybe somebody will tally the comments to see where we're at.

Additionally, I may start a futures market on the appearance of the first doomsday MSM piece on the environmental hazards of CFLs. Or I may not. Again, I probably don't care enough to actually set it up. But we all know that piece is going to happen, it is just a matter of when.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Who's creepier? People on the internet or high school coaches & admins?

I have conflicting opinions on the story of Allison Stokke:

In her high school track and field career, Stokke had won a 2004 California state pole vaulting title, broken five national records and earned a scholarship to the University of California, yet only track devotees had noticed. Then, in early May, she received e-mails from friends who warned that a year-old picture of Stokke idly adjusting her hair at a track meet in New York had been plastered across the Internet. She had more than 1,000 new messages on her MySpace page. A three-minute video of Stokke standing against a wall and analyzing her performance at another meet had been posted on YouTube and viewed 150,000 times.

"I just want to find some way to get this all under control," Stokke told her coach.

Three weeks later, Stokke has decided that control is essentially beyond her grasp. Instead, she said, she has learned a distressing lesson in the unruly momentum of the Internet. A fan on a Cal football message board posted a picture of the attractive, athletic pole vaulter. A popular sports blogger in New York found the picture and posted it on his site. Dozens of other bloggers picked up the same image and spread it. Within days, hundreds of thousands of Internet users had searched for Stokke's picture and leered.

First off, if this were my daughter, I'd be pissed about a chunk of the internet ogling my teenage daughter, no doubt about it. I'd also be very, very concerned for her safety. On top of that, I believe people are entitled to a certain level of privacy. On the flip side, when you're an elite performer in your level of athletics, you become a public figure whether you like it or not. Images of you become part of the public domain. With that comes hassle, but also income opportunities that most people can never realize. Stokke now has to deal with being a celebrity and a sex symbol, which is creepy when you consider that she was probably 17 in the picture getting all of the attention. But were people as creeped out by the pictures of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera when they were 17? Some, perhaps, but not a ton of people.

Oddly, my biggest gripe is with the uniforms some schools are putting their underage female athletes in. Girls' volleyball teams and track teams are trotting out onto their fields of play in skin tight, curve hugging uniforms that leave absolutely nothing to the imagination. Not too long ago, say, when I graduated in the mid-1990's, girls' teams did not wear skin tight uniforms like these. There is no one that can convince me that these outfits improve the performance of high school level girls. Personally, I think the high schools are irresponsible for putting their female student athletes in these uniforms. Had Stokke been wearing a track uniform circa 1990 or so, I guarentee her picture would not have garnered anywhere near the level of attention it has gotten.

Stock up on your tequila

Soon, a margarita is going to cost you an arm and a leg, because the blue agave is the latest victim of ethanol.

Mexican farmers are setting ablaze fields of blue agave, the cactus-like plant used to make the fiery spirit tequila, and resowing the land with corn as soaring U.S. ethanol demand pushes up prices.

The switch to corn will contribute to an expected scarcity of agave in coming years, with officials predicting that farmers will plant between 25 percent and 35 percent less agave this year to turn the land over to corn.

"Those growers are going after what pays best now," said Ismael Vicente Ramirez, head of agriculture at Mexico's Tequila Regulatory Council.

Hurrah to all the farmers who are cashing in on high corn prices created by the ethanol craze, but sooner or later people are going to figure out that corn based ethanol isn't the answer.

It's affecting the price of steak, too.

Checking off the reading list

For the record, I am jealous of the lovely Mrs. Jib. Unencumbered by a blog, she easily knocks off 90 books a year. Thankfully she resorted to the library for her reading list several years back. Otherwise, we'd be building an addition this summer just for her books.

As for me, I tend to slog through. Travel is a huge reading aid for me. Time on an airplane and sleepless nights in a hotel are precious times for me to catch up on my reading. Over a recent stretch, I started a book in my pile, "1776" by David McCullough, and I bought and started another, "Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right: How One Side Lost its Mind, and the Other Lost its Nerve," by Bernard Goldberg. This weekend I finished Goldberg's book (I recommend it for your apolitical friends), and soon I anticipate finishing McCullough. I have the utmost respect for bloggers who receive advance copies of books from publishers and actually read them; personally, I think they bluff their way through reviews rather than actually read them as I find carving out the time for just a few books difficult.

In anticipation of getting through "1776," I picked up "The Reagan Diaries." I was out of town the week before it came out. I mistakenly thought it came out that week and frantically searched through a mega-bookstore in search of it. But I have it now and it will be my next project. After that, I have every intention of finally cracking into a couple of books on Vietnam that Chris from Spottedhorse recommended to me. They've been sitting on my nightstand waiting to be read for a long damn time now. I look forward to reading them, but they are are going to be a daunting task given my inconsistent reading pattern.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Indianapolis 500-Are you watching?

The Indianapolis 500 is just about to begin. This race used to be a must watch for my dad and I when I was young. I don't think we'd ever watch the Southern 600 later in the day. Over the years, though, NASCAR became much more interesting to watch, and frankly, the racing is better. This year, I plan on catching a little bit of the Indianapolis 500, but tonight's NASCAR race is still the main attraction for me.

So are you going to watch the Indy 500? Do you even care about the race? If you do, who do you plan to cheer for? As for me, I have a moderate interest in the race, but if I don't watch all of it, it won't bother me. And I decided who I'm cheering for just this morning while watching the pre-race. ABC did a short little thing on Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, and Sarah Fisher. Every time they showed Fisher, they showed her with her helmet on. So I'm going to cheer for the woman who ain't get any media love. Go Fisher.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Yes, we guys are pigs. Milka Duno edition.

Most women out there who read that headline will probably nod in agreement and move on, but let me get into a little more detail, starting with this article excerpt:
Peter Baron isn't at all worried.

Well, maybe he's just a bit concerned about Sunday's race.

After all, it's only the second Indy Car race for his team and that race just happens to be the biggest open wheel race on the planet – the Indy 500.

Baron's driver is Venezuelan Milka Duno, who has challenged Danica Patrick for the title of most popular driver with the fans during the month of May.

Duno will start in the 29th starting position, which itself is a triumph for the team.

Okay, the two most popular drivers in Indy racing are women. The only problem is that neither really has any reason to be fan favorites-neither has accomplished very much in Indy Car racing. A couple of years back, when Patrick burst upon the scene, this blog was innundated with traffic from guys looking for her pictures. Patrick's popularity was in part due to her being the women's favorite in the race, but largely due to the fact that she's hot. So why is Milka Duno surpassing Patrick in popularity? I imagine there are two reasons for it, although Duno has had success racing in Venezuela. But let's face it, we guys are pigs. Her past racing success isn't what is making her popular. Something else is. I'll let you figure out what it is.

War movie weekend

I've mentioned this here before, but I am a sucker for the war movies that pepper cable TV on Memorial Day Weekend. Last year, AMC and TCM had a very full weekend of war movies and the History Channel had a Band of Brothers marathon. Interestingly, all three channels seem to have pulled back this year. For AMC, the war movies do not begin until Sunday. At TCM, the war movies don't really kick in until Memorial Day. And the History Channel seems to have a truncated Band of Brothers marathon on Memorial Day. I'm very disappointed in all three channels this year as I suspect program directors are pulling back out of a belief that the viewing public is very anti-war right now.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Sirius web store Siriusly sucks

I just want to pass along a note to Sirius Satellite Radio. Guys, a year and a half ago I bought one of your radios and a subscription for my father as a Christmas present. I got to play with it a little when I set it up, and I got to play with your service some more in rental cars over this time. I like your service. For a year and a half now, I have been periodically tempted to cave in and add a radio and service for myself at the discounted rates for second subscriptions. I'm a practical guy, though, and I've talked myself out of it. This week, my wife played the devil on my shoulder, and with her encouragement, tonight I set off to finally buy that extra unit and subscription. Unfortunately, your website sucks. For almost two hours now I've been trying to make my purchase. First I tried on Firefox. Everytime I tried, I couldn't finish the purchase. So I moved over to IE. At first, your website ceased to operate when you asked me to sign in for the second time in order to complete the purchase. Now it just won't accept my sign in. I'm giving up for tonight. Hopefully when I wake up tomorrow, my wife and that devil are still exerting a strong influence on me and I'll try your miserable website again. I know me, though, and chances are when I wake up the practical angel will have taken over and you'll be lucky if I consider doing this again in six months. In the meantime, get your damn website operating in a user friendly manner, ok?

A pretty good Eugene Kane column

I know that for many of my fellow conservative Wisconsin bloggers, Eugene Kane is a lightning rod. More often than not, I prefer not to even give Kane any extra attention that pixels at this blog might provide. His latest column ain't bad, though. Via a good post by Wiggy.

Tag, I'm it

I'm not exactly sure what it is I'm supposed to do here, so I'll just follow Marcus's lead as best I can.

1. All things considered, I'm not a very material guy. Everything has a utility to me, and as long as it continues to work for me, I'm usually happy. In other words, I'm not the type of person who has to have the latest and greatest car or computer or camera, etc., as long as the ones that I have are doing their job to my satisfaction.

2. I'm incredibly vain about my softball playing prowess. I've only just come to that conclusion as my body has slowed ever so slightly and I've noticed that younger players are starting surpass me and my skills. I now get madder about not being able to do what I could five years ago than I do about losing.

3. I'm handier around the house than my wife realizes, mostly because I resist taking on Quixotic projects. (She'll dispute this one, of course).

4. I'm a direct descendent of a Chippewa Chief who at an advanced age stopped the removal of his people from Wisconsin to Minnesota with a face to face meeting with a U.S. President. I'm also a direct descendant of Abe Lincoln's maternal grandfather, which also makes me a very distant cousin of Tom Hanks. Additionally, both of those facts are the result of research by family members, and I have a need to independently do the research myself to verify it, but I just haven't gotten to it. Yet.

5. When I was sixteen, I cracked my sternum in a collision in a baseball game. It hurt like hell to sneeze, laugh, and even breath hard for most of that summer, but I never went to a doctor for it. To this day, when I stretch my chest I can make my sternum pop much in the same way you might crack your knuckles. And if you're wondering, the other guy ended up with a broken jaw.

As always, I don't tag others with memes. If you want to do the meme, consider yourself tagged and say that I was the one ya got it from.

Cemetaries search for new revenue streams

I can't blame them, especially old cemetaries that are filling up. There are only so many plots to sell and maintenance costs that are perpetual. They need ways to bring in revenue.

Historic cemeteries, desperate for money to pay for badly needed restorations, are reaching out to the public in ever more unusual ways, with dog parades, bird-watching lectures, Sunday jazz concerts, brunches with star chefs, Halloween parties in the crematory and even a nudie calendar.

I've been both creeped out and fascinated by cemetaries since my teens. Growing up, one of the popular places to watch the Fourth of July fireworks in Eau Claire was a vacant portion of one of the city's cemetaries. Invariably, extended family members and I would go on a walk through the "occupied" portion of the cemetary. We'd look at head stones and ask out loud, "I wonder what their story was?" As a teen, I'd occasionally ride my bike through my hometown cemetary and be amazed by some of the famous names I'd see on headstones. In college, part of an art history final assignment was done on some of the architecture in a local cemetary. Our cemetaries are the final resting place of the actors of our history, and all to many of us are more scared by them than curious about their eternal occupants.

My second book idea was to tell the stories of some of the people in cemetaries around the area when I grew up. I never followed through on that one purely because it creeped me out a bit, but who amongst us hasn't asked the question that my cousins and I asked in that Eau Claire cemetary, "I wonder what their story was?" Why did they pass so young? What happened during their time at war? Why did they have their dog buried next to them? If a cemetary were to tell some of those stories, I'd probably open my wallet to hear them or read them. And I'd be glad to do so because it would help preserve the memories of our dead and of those people on whose shoulders we stand on in our communities today. As long as the fine line between revenue generation and disrespecting the dead isn't brazenly crossed, I say good for the cemetaries.

Side note
To me, one of the saddest trends of the last thirty years is that of cemetaries forbidding above ground headstones and monuments. Yes, in ground headstones help keep maintenance costs down, but the cemetaries of old tell us a lot about their occupants with the wide variety (might I even say diversity?) of headstones and monuments. The small limestone headstone of a man next to the even smaller limestone headstone for his dog says something about the man (yes, it exists) as much as the huge monument.

The common sense of Gene Simmons

While I can guarentee that Gene Simmons and I are not kindred political souls, I have to admit that he is right on some of the major issues of our day. Radar has an interview with him that I recommend. Here's a sample:

RADAR: You seemed to have a deep respect for the soldiers you met at Camp Pendleton. What did you come away with?
GENE SIMMONS: It is embarrassing what's happening to America nowadays. I'm embarrassed. The same thing happened in Vietnam, and I lived through that era. It was unbelievable. The answer seems to be, from some political experts, just get up and leave and the bad guys will decide, "Hey let's disarm and everything's going to be okay." I'm so fucking sick and tired of such idiotic behavior.

A social conservative he ain't, but he ain't all bad. It seems he actually uses that melon of his.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Iraq, the ten year plan

It is an unpopular position right now, but I'm on board with former Assistant Secretary of Defense Bing West: We need to be in Iraq for at least ten more years, in one form or another.

Can an Adviser Model work as Plan B? At the grass roots, yes. An aggressive corps of advisers and their Iraqi brethren can prevent the country from cratering. However, stability in Iraq depends on two other factors. The first is the commitment to national unity on the part of the ministries and political parties. On May 17, Ambassador Ryan Crocker said, "What I see is an awareness and focus on the part of the Iraqi leadership that reconciliation is key to Iraq's success." Obviously, Crocker has to be proved right in his judgment. To date, the top Iraqi leadership has been much weaker—and more selfish—than the bottom.

The second factor is U.S. steadfastness. There is no full exit or abrupt departure without serious adverse consequences. "If you leave quickly, we'll redistribute our units and go back to where we have local support," Lt. Gen. Ali Ghaidan, commander of the Iraqi Ground Forces, told us in a recent interview. Such consolidation, which seems logical, is the adjustment President Nguyen Van Thieu tried to make in South Vietnam in 1975. But once South Vietnamese units began to pull out of the more remote areas, panic set in and events cascaded out of control. South Vietnam had a very experienced army; for the Iraqi army to try such adjusting—meaning, pulling out of the tough Sunni areas like Qaim or Fallujah—risks total chaos.

This war will be fought for another 10 years because there is no central authority controlling the extremist groups among the dozens of gangs that compose the Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias. This is a bottom-up war that will be fought out in dozens of cities, towns, and farming communities. The core strength of the Iraqi security forces lies at the battalion level of the army, which is the least sectarian institution in Iraq. These battalions, paired with police departments, are the key to the war. Left abruptly on their own, they would fall apart. Like Afghanistan—where we have 30,000 soldiers fighting and advising—Iraq is a commitment for a decade.

Is West's proposal for advisers the best plan? It may well be. Although I'd argue for a significant U.S. base in the Kurdish region of the country as well, just to make Iraq's neighbors think twice before doing anything rash.

New parenting tips: Let your child believe you're an imbecile

I may be childless, but even with my lack of parenting experience I can tell you that this advice from and CNN is expedient at best and asinine at worst:

Never did I envision how challenging raising a stubborn and feisty toddler would be. Thankfully, I've now learned several great toddler-taming strategies that work quite well. Sometimes, I've found, you need to save the "I am the parent! Do as I say!" approach and try a little creative thinking.

Act like an idiot

"Even the most defiant toddler will take pity on us if we seem like total incompetents," says Harvey Karp, M.D., author of the DVD and book "The Happiest Toddler on the Block." The trick is to convince your child that you should be helped, not resisted:

• Be forgetful. If she's refusing to put away her toys, pick up a few and put them not in the toy box but in some other unexpected place, like the bathtub or a kitchen cabinet. When your child balks (she knows where things belong, even as young as 2), say innocently, "What? I'm putting your toys in your toy box!" She'll likely take pity on you and help you put her stuff where it really belongs. ( "I did it myself!"external link )

• Be wrong. Next time you foresee a battle getting your toddler in the stroller, try squeezing into it yourself. Chances are good she'll announce, "That's mine!" Finally her possessive streak is good for something.

• Be incompetent. Put your coat on backward and place your shoes on your hands. Say, "I'm ready to go, are you?" She'll laugh, straighten you out, and get her own shoes on for once.

Don't worry: Your child won't really think you're a boob, says Dr. Karp. This is just a fun tactic, like playing hide-and-seek and pretending you can't find her.

Actually, that is exactly what you are teaching the child, that you are an incompotent boob. Better to struggle and remain a role model, a parent, than to trick a child into doing something but begin to lose the child's respect.

Perfect burger? Pshaw.

Just in time for the Memorial Day weekend, the Washington Post offers up tips for the "perfect burger." The article is fine as far as offering general tips, but if you make your burgers per their instructions, you'll merely have a good burger, not a perfect burger. Through much trial and error, I think I've come pretty close to perfection. I'd offer up my secrets, but I'm still selfishly hoarding the compliments for my burgers.

I will offer up one tip. Mix things up in your ground beef. In other words, find ways to add flavor to the burgers. My patty recipe requires seven ingredients. You'll be surprised at what it does for your burgers without taking anything away from the traditional beef taste. Beyond that, do some hard thinking on your burger process (yes, process), experiment a lot, and you'll discover some secrets of your own that lead to great burgers.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

History re-discovered

It's a rare find for the Brown County Historical Society: A 143-year-old hand-written letter by General Ulysses S. Grant turned up in Green Bay.

A few weeks ago, a volunteer was cataloging old folders and boxes inside the Historical Society's library at the Historic Hazelwood Museum when he came across a letter.

"When he turned it over and looked at the back, the signature said U.S. Grant, and so he came out to my desk and said, 'I think I found something sort of interesting,'" the historical society's Wendy Barszcz recalls.

She immediately began research and discovered she had a piece of Civil War history. "I must say I was a little shook," she laughs, "but then very excited."

I'd be willing to bet that there are a lot of great historical nuggets that are 'lost' out there in poorly organized community historical societies.

Yeah, but what does the middle finger tell them?

A quick look at the lengths of children's index and ring fingers can be used to predict how well students will perform on SATs, new research claims.

Kids with longer ring fingers compared to index fingers are likely to have higher math scores than literacy or verbal scores on the college entrance exam, while children with the reverse finger-length ratio are likely to have higher reading and writing, or verbal, scores versus math scores.

Scientists have known that different levels of the hormones testosterone and estrogen in the womb account for the different finger lengths, which are a reflection of areas of the brain that are more highly developed than others, said psychologist Mark Brosnan of the University of Bath, who led the study.
Call me a science doubting skeptic, but their hormonal causation seems just a little too simple and general to be accurate. A lot of things can go into aptitude besides just hormone levels experienced in the womb.

Bird flu deaths drop in migratory birds

This is good news that you probably won't hear about anywhere else:

“In the first half of 2007, countries reported fewer deaths of wild and migratory birds, which could indicate the disease is coming closer to the end of a cycle. Reversely poultry flocks still continue to be infected in some countries and that shows the international community needs to keep up its high level of prevention and control measures of the disease in animals,” commented Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE.

The disease remains endemic in at least three countries ( Indonesia , Nigeria and Egypt ) and continues to appear in previously unaffected countries. These events offer valuable opportunity to further identify the complex issues in dealing with the disease.

Continued vigilance is necessary, of course, for a virus that has been as lethal as this one. Just the same, the world didn't come to an end yet because of the bird flu, and don't expect the media to remind you of that.


Earlier this week Jiblog passed the 100,000 visitor mark. That number was important to me for a long, long time, but as traffic here began to even off, I started to get more and more embarassed that it has taken this long to get there. Tonight I had a moment of clarity. Despite the fact that it has taken longer than I planned to hit that number, it is still an accomplishment and a testament to those of you who visit this site on a regular basis. I'd like to thank all of you who visit Jiblog. It makes it a lot more pleasant to write when you know someone is reading and cares enough to agree or disagree with you.

Now visit twice as much so I get to 200,000 faster ;-).

Romney response to McCain's wise-assed quip

I have been, and remain, lukewarm to Mitt Romney's presidential candidacy. His response to John McCain's response to his opposition (follow that?) of the immigration bill is sharp, though:
I guess it just shows that, even when he's wrong, he's amusing.
That one sentence is incredible. In it, Romney mute's McCain's comment about varmint guns. He also makes McCain look small for making the comment. Finally, he holds his ground respectably. One sentence does not a President make, but it was enough to make me at least consider Romney as potentially presidential. Still, Romney has a big weakness, and that is that he currently is as vulnerable to the flip-flop charge as John Kerry was in 2004.

Ethanol myths

If you weren't following the Wisconsin blogosphere last year when many of us were writing continuously about the weaknesses of ethanol, then get yourself caught up with this column by John Stossel. Stossel does not have enough column inches in his syndicated column to get into detail, but he nicely outlines some of the various problems with ethanol.

ABC News, Loose Lips Sink Ships Award Winner

The media really is vapid. ABC News doesn't understand the meaning of the word "covert."

The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a "nonlethal presidential finding" that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions.

Now I will say this much-I don't rule out the possibility that this little nugget is meant to be out there and to be seen by Iranian eyes. After, how many of us really have confidence in the CIA to pull off an operation such as this? It could be that a piece of information like this will add to any paranoia and power struggles in the Iranian government right now. At least that's what I'm really, really hoping it is, because otherwise ABC showed horrendous judgement in running with this.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Iraq, Iran, proxy wars, and a summer offensive

It will pay to keep a close eye on whether this comes to pass this summer:
Iran is secretly forging ties with al-Qaida elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition forces intended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for full military withdrawal, US officials say.

"Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq and it's a very dangerous course for them to be following. They are already committing daily acts of war against US and British forces," a senior US official in Baghdad warned. "They [Iran] are behind a lot of high-profile attacks meant to undermine US will and British will, such as the rocket attacks on Basra palace and the Green Zone [in Baghdad]. The attacks are directed by the Revolutionary Guard who are connected right to the top [of the Iranian government]."

The official said US commanders were bracing for a nationwide, Iranian-orchestrated summer offensive, linking al-Qaida and Sunni insurgents to Tehran's Shia militia allies, that Iran hoped would trigger a political mutiny in Washington and a US retreat. "We expect that al-Qaida and Iran will both attempt to increase the propaganda and increase the violence prior to Petraeus's report in September [when the US commander General David Petraeus will report to Congress on President George Bush's controversial, six-month security "surge" of 30,000 troop reinforcements]," the official said.

Logically, this only makes sense. With congress's vacillation on the war, and with key dates being bandied about, it would only make sense that our most significant state enemy in the area, Iran, would work behind the scenes to try to drive us out of Iraq and claim the country as another of its vassals (see Syria). If Iran does ratchet up the violence this summer, the blood of many U.S. soldiers and Iraqis will be on the hands of a congress which has done nothing but act irresponsibly in a time of war.

Jimmy Carter is a crazy old hoot

It's the damndest thing. Towards the end of the 90's, I was starting to feel sorry for Jimmy Carter, which was odd for me since despite the fact that I thought I was Democrat for many years, I never really liked him. I thought he was rehabilitating his legacy. I thought maybe, just maybe, ol' Jimmy might be remembered fondly by history for his post presidency, if never for his presidency. I even participated in Habitat for Humanity in college. Then as the 21st century marched on, that thought quickly crumbled. He has been destroying his post-presidential legacy more efficiently than he destroyed his presidential legacy. President Carter, I'd just like to offer you a little advice. You got your Nobel Peace Price. Now you are just making a tremendous ass of yourself, all over again. Retire. Write books about your rural upbringing. Continue to build homes with Habitat for Humanity. But when it comes to politics and foreign affairs, just shut the hell up. Our current position is more than a little in part to your presidency. You have no standing from which to criticize, and doing so just makes you look like the crazy old bastard you may indeed be.

Good luck in future ventures, Jessica

As my Wisconsin readers know by now, 620 WTMJ in Milwaukee has opted to replace Jessica McBride's show with the new syndicated show from Dennis Miller. There has been much discussion about the nature of her firing, specifically because of a skit McBride performed last week. To be frank, I don't think it was the wisest of skits to run. When a child dies tragically from gunfire, it is probably best not to involve them in a skit. Just the same, that was just an excuse for WTMJ. With their changes in the past week, it is easy to surmise that this was just a convenient excuse for them to replace McBride with Dennis Miller.

Jessica is a big girl...nobody likes to be fired, but as a high profile personality in a big city, it happens, especially when your job is to discuss contentious issues. McBride's skit, while perhaps not the best decision, was still sympathetic to the murdered young girl. She does not deserve what some of Milwaukee's biggest demagogues are brewing up-to lose her teaching job at UW Milwaukee. I would encourage everyone to show their support to McBride as Milwaukee's Mike McGee/Jackson tries to take her down out of his purely personal bile for efforts the right in Wisconsin makes to shine a light on the depravity of he and his father.

I've noticed a number of my fellow Wisconsin bloggers are showing their support for Jessica with a lot of indignation. That's fine...but you could also be showing your support by updating your blogrolls so you send people back to her old/new blog. I'm just sayin'...

24 Spoiler

No, I'm not going to recount the final episode for you...I can't, I was on a softball diamond while it was on. But the Associated Press is happy to present a spoiler. I offer this up to any Jiblog readers who, like me, became disinterested in this season with the recovery of the suitcase nukes and the return of Audrey. If you haven't seen the finale and Audrey's return shut down your interest, too, hit the link. Seems like a disappointing ending. The lovely Mrs. Jib and I were waiting for it to be announced in dramatic fashion that Josh was Jack's son.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Next time, yard work first, gun play second.

I had the opportunity to go to the Badger Blog Alliance's Spring Shooting Event this morning. Thanks to Chris for the generosity he showed with his time, ammo, and firearms. Next year, I think I'll try to get my yard/home project work done first, and then go to the event. I left the firing range early to work on the yard and the home projects, and they left me awfully damn cranky. I was much happier this morning after firing guns.

Friday, May 18, 2007

In re Christopher Hitchens and God

Christopher Hitchens is at the center of the atheist universe this week. Not only does he have a new book out on the matter of God, but he also had ample opportunity to empty his bowels of some of his anger and hatred towards God and man with the passing of Jerry Falwell. As far as I'm concerned, Hitchens can waste his energies and his passions any way he wants, including by hating God and God's followers. What I do not understand about Hitchens and other atheists of his ilk is their deep, personal animosity towards something they do not believe to exist. It is a vibrant hatred that most people can only summon for the real and the tactile. It is an emotional hatred that is not disconnected from its subject, but deeply invested in it. In a lot of ways, that hatred is just as irrational as Hitchens and his ilk consider faith and belief to be themselves.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Here they go again

In the 1980's, Reagan's amnesty plan for illegal aliens did not work. Throughout the 80's and 90's, the number of illegal immigrants in this nation swelled. In the 21st century, congress had the opportunity to send a message that we will not give a free pass to those whose very first action in this country is break our laws, bypassing the immigration system that many good, hard working, law abiding people go through in order to call themselves Americans. Congress is close giving in with an all new amnesty and some more empty promises (fence, anyone?).

Oh, my kingdom for a Washington politician with a spine. And my kingdom for a Republican that learned a lesson from 2006.

Firefox Bloat

I'm not the only one.

Anecdotal reports of problems, from sluggishness to slow page loads and frequent crashes, have begun circulating in web forums, along with increasingly loud calls for Firefox to return to its roots. The alleged culprit: bloat, the same problem that once plagued Mozilla, the slow, overstuffed open-source browser spawned by Netscape that Firefox was originally meant to replace.

"Remember when (Firefox) was the 'light' browser, and if you wanted to load it down that was your choice? Let's go back to that," summed up one reader in a Wired News poll this month aimed at identifying the most urgently needed Firefox fixes.

Damn Netscape and its stupid IE/FF engine. That was my favorite bloated browser.

Veronica Mars cancelled

This is going to make the lovely Mrs Jib angry. You wouldn't like her when she's angry.

The CW network canceled the cult hit "Veronica Mars" and will try to pick up steam in its second year with series about the snobby rich, transplanted families and a bounty hunter for the devil.

The network, created out of the ashes of the former WB and UPN, had already ended the long-running family dramas "7th Heaven" and "Gilmore Girls." On Thursday the ax fell on "Veronica Mars," which starred Kristen Bell as a wisecracking teenage private eye.

I'm going to see her tonight and it is going be all, "The lovely Mrs. Jib ANGRY! The lovely Mrs. Jib SMASH!" Not pretty, folks. Not pretty.

I've spoken with her. She blames all of you out there for not watching Veronica Mars. Fortunately, I'm exempted as a member of her household.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

This is a study?

I hope these guy didn't get a grant for this.
When it comes to guaranteed paid vacation, U.S. workers don't seem to get a break.

While the French get 30 days of paid leave and most other Europeans receive at least 20, the country with the world's biggest economy does not guarantee workers a single day, researchers said on Wednesday.

I'm not even going to touch the stupidity of the article and its preachy tone. That much is self evident. The most important point to take away from this article is the fact that the bar must be absurdly low on reaching "researcher" status these days. The U.S. government doesn't guarentee vacation time and holidays? Really? They must have done some extensive studies to uncover that fact.

So is hail a concern for today?

I am amused by today's forecast:
Showers and thunderstorms likely after 1pm. Some storms could be severe, with large hail and hail. Partly cloudy, with a high near 63. Northwest wind between 10 and 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

So look out for those storms today with large hail...and hail.

Jerry Falwell, 1933-2007

As a stoic, mind-your-own-business Lutheran, I never identified very much with Jerry Falwell or his politics. In fact, I've been known to grumble about Falwell's opinions from time to time. Given that, I really wasn't sure what to write about Falwell when I learned of his passing. Strangely enough, this began to frame it for me in my mind. You may not have liked the man's ideas, but when even his perhaps arch enemy can say something good about him in death, the man could not have been bad.

Rudy's gleaming moment

At tonight's Republican debate, Ron Paul was asked about Iraq. At first, his response was quite reasonable. Then Paul overplayed his hand and Rudy Giuliani crushed him. In a week with much discussion of Rudy's position on abortion, this was huge. He clearly re-established himself as the national defense candidate, reducing the significance of his pro-abortion stance...for now. Rudy won himself the soundbite of the debate, and that'll play into his poll numbers for the next few weeks. I know that I won't vote for anyone that tries to shovel the moonbat BS on me that we were responsible in any way for 9-11, and I don't think the average American voter will, either. The radical Islamists of Al Qaeda made a cold, rational choice to murder 3,000 people that morning, and they made their decisions based off of bigotry and a sense of religious superiority. That did change things for the medium term, whether Ron Paul cares to admit it or not.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I love the cigar

Fred Thompson responds to Michael Moore's debate challenge, and while his response was top notch, my favorite thing is the cigar. What politician is willing to be publicly seen with a cigar in his mouth these days? Even Bill Clinton kept his in the privacy of the Oval Office (thankfully).

Ken Herrera out at WTMJ

Just got off the phone with Ken Herrera, who's in pretty good spirits for a guy who just lost his job.

He's pretty philosophical, after 30 years in the business, and among the most interesting parts of our conversation is the fact that he and his wife really want to stay in Milwaukee. Radio jobs for a guy at his level aren't exactly in abundance, but he'd happily make the leap to p.r.,

I liked to listen to Herrera during my morning drive. Nothing against Jon Jagler and Gene Mueller, but I may just switch back to listening to Bob and Brian.

What is in the water in Japan?

Err, maybe that was a bad question to use as a headline, because a leg was found in a Tokyo river on Monday. But that pales in comparison to this.
A teenage Japanese boy has been arrested after walking into a police station carrying a severed human head and claiming to have killed his mother.

The 17-year-old went to a police station in the town of Aizuwakamatsu, north of Tokyo, carrying the head in a sports bag, Japanese media said.

The beheaded body of a woman was later found at the boy's home, police said.

Japan has been in the news for a number of shocking murders recently. That's something you don't hear much of out of that country.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Charlie Munger, my new hero

I like his bluntness here:
At Berkshire's recent annual meeting in Omaha, an investor asked CEO Warren Buffett for his thoughts on ethanol. Maybe because Buffett lives in corn country, he punted the politically delicate question to his right-hand man, vice chairman Charlie Munger.

Munger, never one to mince words, replied that it was silly for the government to plow billions of dollars into a making energy from a food staple, which might lead to higher prices of many foods.

"Running cars on corn is about the stupidest thing I ever heard of," Munger said. "Our government is under tremendous political pressure even though it makes no sense."

To which Buffett replied: "Well, Charlie, we'll be sneaking you out of Omaha tonight."

I recently wrote my first words ever that were sympathetic to ethanol, but those words came with a lot of caveats. And they in no way supported ethanol from corn. I think Munger hit the ball square on the sweet spot in Omaha.

Gifts for Mother

I have discovered a true joy in life. In my family, gifts are purchased with insight and the hope that the recipient really loves what they got. For almost thirty years, that's how my gift shopping has been, and with my father, that's how it still works. Last year I got onto something that is even more fun, though. I started taking my mom out on little shopping trips to pick out her own gifts. She gets exactly what she wants, she gets the thrill of a free shopping trip, and we get to spend some time together. I recommend it to anyone, even if only once a year.

Brett Favre wanted a trade after Pack missed Moss

Surely you've heard about this by now. If you want to toss in your two cents, I've got an open thread up at the Wisconsin Sports Bar.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


This may be a little difficult to decipher, but look closely at this picture of the squirrel that lives in my parents' backyard.

The squirrel has grey, bushy hair on its lower half and closely cropped, darker hair on its top half. Last year black squirrels innundated the town my parents live in, and their working theory is that this squirrel was the result of a black squirrel-grey squirrel union last year.

Presidential dynasty talk is silly talk

I just want to be on the record as having said that discussions of a Bush-Clinton presidential dynasty, like these, are just plain silly. What we've seen over the past 20 years is a bit of an anomaly. Trying to say that Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Chelsea Clinton, and George P. Bush, or some combination thereof, are going to swap the presidency in the coming years is absurd. It ignores how fickle American voters can be as well as the ever marching forward nature of our national life. Look, there was a time where people thought that maybe the Kennedy's could be a presidential dynasty in this nation. That didn't work out, did it? Well, neither will the scenarios raised in these fanciful Bush-Clinton discussions. It may be fun fodder for thought, but it just isn't realistic.

Saturday in the park

I was up in the land of milk and Honey Weiss this weekend and Saturday I had a little bit of free time to go to the 300 plus acre Irvine Park. The weather was gorgeous, and I made a bee line to an abandoned bridge towards the back of the park known to locals as the "Rumble Bridge" or the "Rumbley Bridge." For as long as I can remember, this bridge has been a place that young lovers have gone to carve their initials.

In my younger days, I had what I thought was an incredible idea. I was going to run an ad in the local paper, asking those in the city who had put their initials on the bridge to tell me the story behind them. I was then going to photograph those initials and compile all of these stories in a book. Life happened, though, and I never even started my plan. Still, eventually the bridge will be repainted and all of this rich, local history will disappear.

So after some time reminiscing, I headed through the rest of the park. I have posted many pictures of Irvine Park here over the years, but this particular Saturday I witnessed something I had never seen in person there before-a wedding.

Planning an outdoor wedding in Wisconsin is always a huge gamble, especially in May when you can get almost any weather. This young couple hit the jackpot. I left the park wondering if their initials were back on that bridge somewhere.

Friday, May 11, 2007

McCain masters half of the story

To John McCain, President Bush's low approval numbers are the big thing hurting Republicans.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Thursday he believes President Bush's low approval ratings are hurting the GOP yet won't affect the party's 2008 nominee.

"I don't think there's any doubt that when the president's polling numbers are low that it harms the Republican Party in general, but I think that when it comes election time that the overwhelming majority of Americans will choose their candidate on the basis of that individual candidate's qualifications, vision and record," McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press.

I'm not going to be as hard on McCain as I could be because the AP only gives that partial quote. I would, however, just like to remind the Senator that congress's numbers have typically been even lower, even when his party controlled both houses. And the 2006 losses for Republicans, while aided by the President's unpopularity, were driven in large part by voters' disgust with what McCain and his party accomplished and failed to accomplish during their majority. The Senator is just as much a part of the problem as the President. If he doesn't get that yet, then I seriously question whether he can woo the American people in November of 2008.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The next cool kids lightbulb: The LED

Right now, all the cool kids are agog over compact flourescent lightbulbs. That won't last longer than the first report of mercury seeping into ground water at landfill sites, though. The AP writes about the next "cool kids" light bulb: The LED.
Established players in the lighting industry and a host of startups are now grooming LEDs to take on the reigning champion of residential lighting, the familiar pear-shaped incandescent light bulb.


Much of that reduction would be possible with today's technology, using compact fluorescents, or CFLs. But consumers haven't warmed to them. The light quality hasn't been satisfactory, most take time to turn on and aren't dimmable.

The LED has advantages over the CFL in most of those areas, and judging by this week's Lightfair trade show in New York, it could be a serious challenge to the CFL in a few years. What holds it back is chiefly price, but LEDs are already an economic alternative for niche uses.

I am much more sympathetic to LEDs than I am to CFL's. That doesn't mean that LEDs are better than incandescents, though, at least not yet. LEDs still do not give off a terribly warm light. In fact, many 'white' LED bulbs still have an eery, bluish hue because of the difficulties in creating white LED light. While some advances have been made on white LED light, that young technology is still very expensive, leaving most people with the cheaper blue-white light that will sour them on LEDs. Additionally, LEDs do not yet fan light out in the same manner that incandescents and CFLs do. I'm sure there will be engineering solutions for that problem, but until their are, LEDs will still fall third in line behind incandescents and CFLs in their ability to light up rooms. And I hold to my belief that incandescents have come to play a part in household climate that is grossly underestimated. LED's will not make up for that loss of radiant warmth, either.

Vlad Putin, master of historical perspective

President Vladimir V. Putin seemed to obliquely compare the foreign policy of the United States to the Third Reich in a speech on Wednesday commemorating the 62nd anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany.

The comments were the latest in a series of sharply worded Russian criticisms of the foreign policy of the United States — on Iraq, missile defense, NATO expansion and, more broadly, United States unilateralism in foreign affairs.


“We do not have the right to forget the causes of any war, which must be sought in the mistakes and errors of peacetime,” Mr. Putin said.

“Moreover, in our time, these threats are not diminishing,” he said. “They are only transforming, changing their appearance. In these new threats, as during the time of the Third Reich, are the same contempt for human life and the same claims of exceptionality and diktat in the world.”

The Kremlin press service declined to clarify the statement, saying Mr. Putin’s spokesman was unavailable because of the holiday.

Sergei A. Markov, director of the Institute of Political Studies, who works closely with the Kremlin, said in a telephone interview that Mr. Putin was referring to the United States and NATO. Mr. Markov said the comments should be interpreted in the context of a wider, philosophical discussion of the lessons of World War II. The speech also praised the role of the allies of the Soviet Union in defeating Germany.

If one day Vlad Putin finds U.S. tanks on the doorstep of Moscow, then he can take that line. Until then, he should probably store away his Nazi boogeymen.

The 9-11 C-O-N-Spiracy grows on the left

This, via the Corner, is just nuts.

Democrats in America are evenly divided on the question of whether George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance. Thirty-five percent (35%) of Democrats believe he did know, 39% say he did not know, and 26% are not sure.

And some of you on the left wonder why people call you moonbats, unhinged, and detached from reality. You may be a perfectly rational and reasonible, but a lot of those you associate with are not or they're barely hanging on. Call it guilt by association.

Scotty's ashes are missing

The company that sent James Doohan's ashes into space are having trouble finding the payload that contained them back since the re-entry of the vehicle:
After a successful blastoff from New Mexico's Spaceport America on April 28th, the UP Aerospace SpaceLoft XL rocket and its payload nosed into space on a suborbital trajectory. As part of launch operations, the rocket was tracked by specialists at the neighboring White Sands Missile Range.

While all went well with the flight, the rocket components parachuted into rough and tumble terrain. Repeated searches within the landing zone have come up empty.

Jerry Larson, President of UP Aerospace, has told me that the general location of the rocket hardware is known within some 1,300 feet (400 meters) or so. But given the dense vegetation on the side of the mountain being searched, along with equipment available to the search team, pinpointing the exact locale has proven a tough assignment.

What, is it too expensive to include a quality GPS tracking device with the cargo when you are responsible for the cremated remains of more than 200 people?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Where in the world is Jib?

Hint: If I were 4 years older, I'd be thinking about announcing my candidacy for the Republican nomination for President.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sarkozy wins in France

Congratulations to French President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy. I'd like to caution my fellow Americans against thinking that this will mean that our relations with France will suddenly become all rosy and buddy-buddy. All it means is they'll make us want to pull out our hair a little less frequently.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Cinco de Mayo

Today I am thankful for my current neighborhood. Previous to that, I lived in a neighborhood with a somewhat high population of Mexican immigrants (of both the legal and illegal variety). We all have our holidays that we celebrate, and during which some of us over imbibe. That's no big deal to me. Cinco de Mayo was a mess in the old neighborhood, though. I could usually count on a large, drunk contingent outside my door until the early morning hours. I could also usually count on multiple people vomiting outside, sometimes multiple times. On one special May 6th, there was a large puddle of vomit outside my front door. I don't miss that in the least. So happy Cinco de Mayo, and if you drink too much, stay the hell away from my house, please.

Fraley hits nail on the head on McGee

Brian Fraley puts into words why I was hoping the McGee story would not get big:

Michael McGee, Senior’s radio ’show’ has been on thin ice for a long time.
This is how his show works. He himself sells sponsorships and then he purchases the airtime from his station. That arrangement hasn’t been working out so well lately. It has been especially troubling since the easy flow of public monies via OIC was cut off to McGee. Sponsors just don’t want to be associated with his garbage.
But failing on the basis of the marketplace of ideas would be embarrassing. To go down as the Warrior, he needed to be the victim of a white backlash.

For several months on the radio and on this and other blogs I’ve commented that his schtick is victimhood. Now that he’s said something outrageous enough to lose his airtime, he can proclaim he is the victim of conservative rich white men, thus further cementing his position in the pantheon of people kept down by ‘the man.’

There is one diference between my thoughts on this and Brian's, and that is that I'm not sure he'll lose his airtime. And even if he does, he'll resurface. There is only one explanation for why McGee went on Fox 6 and continued his inflamatory line-because he stands to benefit from it. He doesn't care what most of Milwaukee thinks. He cares about what a small, hateful segment thinks. That's his target market.

It's out there, now. Continue to light him up, folks. The only hope for keeping him off the air is if his own listeners and supporters find him too radioactive and walk away from him. Unfortunately, I think this might just end up bonding them to him even tighter.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Quiet Friday

Scanning the headlines this morning, it looks like it is going to be a pretty slow news day. Everybody must be waiting for the D.C. Madam to name her names on 20/20 tonight. And I have a prediction on that: Most of the country will hear the names and let out a collective, "who?"

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A message to my fellow Wisconsin bloggers on the right

Keep your powder dry. What Michael McGee, Sr., said was deplorable, but now is not the best time to amplify his message by going after him. Condemn him, yes. A family is trying to cope with a sudden and personal tragedy, though, and our making McGee's words a bigger story isn't going to help them with that. The next time he displays what a horrible, ugly person he is, blogswarm the hell out of him. Not on this, at least not right now, though.

Well, I still don't think this was the right thing to go after McGee on, but it's out there now. Later I may comment on why I don't think this was the right thing to go after McGee on, but for the rest of the story, hit up my fellow bloggers or watch the Milwaukee news. As for me, I have some more anniversary celebrating to do, and I won't be on for the remainder of the evening.

Reflections on an anniversary

Four years ago today, a Saturday, Mother Nature blessed us with a truly beautiful day. Historically, May 3rds in Wisconsin are unpredictable. You can experience cold, damp, gloomy days, and you can experience gloriously sunny and warm days that are harbingers of a coming summer. Our May 3rd four years ago was the latter. It was the day that the lovely Mrs. Jib and I planned to walk down the aisle and commit ourselves to each other for the rest of our lives. I still look back on that day with amazement for a lot of reasons, but for one in particular. Without going into detail, it was a difficult week for my family, most of whom lived 4 hours or more away. And our day did not go off without a hitch-in fact, there were several. Yet despite those facts, those few bad things that could ruin a wedding day, everything seemed to work out for the best. We were blessed that day, and I was blessed to have the lovely Mrs. Jib in my life. I like to think our wedding day is a microcosm for the rest of our lives. There will be bumps in the road from time to time, but we'll find the way to make the most of them. Thanks for a wonderful 4 years, babe, and here's to many, many more.

A piece of unsolicited blogging advise

Store it away in the back of your noggin. It may actually make sense for you one day. Anyway, here it is: Sometimes a story isn't worthy of the effort, even if you can shed light on it.

That is all.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A case for Chinese 'justice'

If there was ever a person that deserved the worst of Chinese 'justice', it is this guy:
A U.S. man accused of raping his daughter and putting the video on the Internet has been arrested in Hong Kong, U.S. authorities said on Wednesday.

Kenneth Freeman, 44, a former sheriff's deputy from Washington state, was on separate lists of most wanted fugitives kept by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

The video of Freeman and his young daughter was one of the most widely downloaded child pornography videos in recent years, U.S. law enforcement officials said.

The arrest, which took place on Tuesday, was based on a formal request by the U.S. State Department.


China and the United States do not have an extradition treaty but when the Chinese were informed about Freeman they agreed to help, the officials said.

Extradition? Why bother? Let's just ask the Chinese to handle it. I'm sure they could find a fitting sentence for this scumbag.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bernie's Chalet was offensive to the eye

Sorry, Brian (and seemingly every other Brewer fan in the state). I never really liked Bernie's Chalet all that much. It hurt my eyes with all of its 1970's style. I always expected to see Bernie in bell bottoms, disco dancing around the stadium, and snorting lines of coke off the brats.

Respect the chickens on May 4th

I just want to remind everyone that Friday, May 4th is International Respect for Chickens Day. And the reason I'd like to remind everyone of that is because May 4th is the anniversary of the day that Chuck the Rooster's voice was forever silenced...and my neighbor's garage started to smell bad. So if you get hungry on May 4th, remember: Eat a cow, not a chicken (the smug bovine bastards).

I'm hoping for a trilogy

Chris, aptly described by James Wigderson as the "Sam Kinison of the political blogging," is letting Spotted Horse 2 trot off into the sunset. I'm glad that the Wisconsin Sports Bar is rockin' and I'm hoping he'll still participate with us at the BBA, but I'm secretly waiting for the day when Chris's dander gets back up again over politics and we see Spotted Horse 3 trot towards us over the horizon.

The Reagan Diaries

As a former history student, the idea of reading a president's diaries from when he was in office is exciting. Especially if that president is Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Reagan saved his most private and dramatic thoughts for a handwritten book -- a diary in which he recalled his running frustration with the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, his fear that Armageddon was near and coughing up blood on the day he was shot.

Diary excerpts, released by Vanity Fair magazine on Tuesday, also reflect on the troubled relationship he had with his son Ron, his preoccupation with the "mad clown" Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his personal chemistry with Mikhail Gorbachev during arms-control talks.

Reagan hand-wrote diary entries every day of his eight years in office from 1981 to 1989 except for when he was in the hospital after being shot on March 30, 1981, about which he wrote, "Getting shot hurts."

The full version of "The Reagan Diaries" will be published on May 22 by HarperCollins, a unit of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

The book can be pre-ordered at Amazon and the Vanity Fair excerpts are here.

Bad idea, Fred

Before my comments fill up with Fred Thompson supporters, let me just say that I'm not opposed to Fred Thompson's campaign. As someone who is hell bent on staying undecided until late in the year, though, I'm filled with a healthy dose of skepticism. And if Thompson goes through with this, mark my words, he's sunk.

Thompson, his wife and advisers in Washington and Tennessee also are drawing up plans for a new style of campaign that would rely heavily on technology and his celebrity status to avoid some of the slogging through the snow in Iowa and New Hampshire that is normally required of White House hopefuls.

The advisers say Thompson, who plays District Attorney Arthur Branch on NBC's "Law & Order," is researching ways to use technology -- including the Web, videoconferences and teleconferences -- to harness the enthusiasm for his candidacy among grass-roots bloggers and activists. The campaign also would rely on large events, such as those that have in part supplanted country-store campaigning for some in the Democratic field.

"Well-known candidates can do things a little differently," explained one adviser. "You show up, you're accessible, but you don't have to go to every county seat several times.

Originally, the idea of a late-start campaign for Thompson looked like something of a lark, but the phantom candidacy is accelerating.

Not too long ago, a lot of smart people were saying that technology was going to revolutionize business. The internet and video were going to remove a large expense for businesses-travel. Companies would be able to have virtual meetings with all of their clients, any time they wanted. Something funny happened on the way to that utopia. The technology got better, but face to face is still preferred. Many businesses have learned that the best way to make connections and develop relationships with people is still face to face. There is an impersonal nature to using to technology, and the relationships do not develop as well. If Thompson does this, he will not be your 2008 nominee. One of Thompson's advantages is his celebrity, but only if he puts in the face time.

Could late primary states be in the driver's seat?

This just occurred to me as I thought about this already too long presidential race. The conventional wisdom to this point has been that a front loaded primary season will select a nominee very early. But what if it doesn't? The fields in both races look like they'll be huge. A lot of the candidates will be underfunded, but there just may be more incentive to try and hang around long enough to get to that giant clump of primaries. It is conceivable that 3 or 4 candidates in each party could come out of that front loaded part of the season with a chance to win the nomination still. That would really shine a bright spotlight on the remaining primaries. It would also make all the states that lept forward to have their voices heard look foolish. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if at least one of the nominations wasn't decided until very, very late in the process.

A late night, can't sleep thought...

After the session on diversity in the blogosphere at the Wisconsin Blog Summit, I should note that I'm holding down the Native American/Norwegian/Heinz 57 end of the blogosphere. I think I can break that down into percentages if necessary for the diversity profile of the blogosphere. I'm like a cute, adorable pure bread puppy: I come with papers. But I think the lovely Mrs. Jib is the holder of my papers until she decides to put me to sleep, so you'll have to ask her if you can see them.

(This is a You Had To Be There Blog Post Production)