Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I hope all of my readers have a fun and safe evening. May you all have a great evening that is short on stupid things, both said and done.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Rest in Peace, Netscape Browser

It is a sad day. AOL is finally pulling the plug on Netscape.

Netscape Navigator, the world's first commercial Web browser and the launch pad of the Internet boom, will be pulled off life support Feb. 1 after a 13-year run.

Its current caretakers, Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, decided to kill further development and technical support to focus on growing the company as an advertising business. Netscape's usage dwindled with Microsoft Corp.'s entry into the browser business, and Netscape all but faded away following the birth of its open-source cousin, Firefox.

I loved the Netscape browser, and I used to scrap with anyone over the topic. Once they released 8.0, though, the writing was on the wall. The browser used either Firefox or IE to render the page, which made it pointless to use it instead of one of the other two. I still have 7.x on my laptop. I think I'll fire it up for old time's sake.

"It does not serve our interests"

Really? Ron Paul supporters, can you honestly say this guy is ready for prime time? Just because he may appeal to you on two or three topics does not mean this guy deserves any support.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Large Mammal?

I just have to make a quick comment on my Truth Laid Bear ranking. I noticed that I am in the "Large Mammal" category today, a place I haven't been in a long, long time. Did they change their metrics or something?

On Bhutto

I agree with this post by Mark Steyn over at The Corner. I'll also add one thing-was I the only one who would cringe when seeing Bhutto amongst crushing throngs of people since she returned to Pakistan? For such a high profile and controversial person, it always seemed unnecessarily risky.

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated


Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide attack at a campaign rally that also killed at least 20 others, aides said.

Bhutto's supporters erupted in anger and grief after her death, attacking police and burning tires and election campaign posters in several cities. At the hospital where she died, some smashed glass and wailed, chanting slogans against President Pervez Musharraf.

The death of the charismatic 54-year-old former prime minister threw the campaign for the Jan. 8 parliamentary elections into chaos and created fears of mass protests and violence across the nuclear-armed nation, an important U.S. ally in the war on terrorism.

Pakistan was already a tinderbox. In the short to medium term, this is only going to make it worse.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Peace on Earth

With everyone hustling and bustling about in an effort to get a month's worth of Christmas shopping done in less than 72 hours, I can think of now better time to share one of my favorite Christmas cartoons. In 'Peace on Earth', wildlife celebrates Christmas in a post-WWI, post-man world. Enjoy.

Leave sledders alone!

Helmets for sledders? Really?

Those figures, coupled with a new study that reports sleds reach average speeds of 19 miles per hour, have some health officials wondering how far to push the helmet issue.

"The challenge that we face is that it's not the norm - nor is it likely to ever be the norm - for kids to wear helmets while sledding," said Bridget Clementi, injury and prevention manager at Children's Hospital and Health System. Clementi said the Injury Free Coalition for Kids recently compared the average speed of a sled at 19 mph with the average speed of a kid on a bike, which is 10 to 15 mph.

Many parents have made it a habit to make kids wear helmets on their bikes, Clementi said.

"We don't want to kill the fun, but we are starting to look at reaching out to parents on sledding safety," Clementi said.

Clementi said parents should be aware of where their children are sledding and be around to supervise if necessary. She said children should slide feet first and parents who ride with small children probably should practice bailing out so the child knows what to do in case of an emergency.

As a voluntary measure, I'm fine with it. It may even be a good idea in an overly protective sort of way. But anytime helmets start getting brought up for anything, it isn't long before do gooders try to mandate them. It does concern me, though. As we form this bigger and bigger bubbles around kids, we may protect the few from severe injury or even death, but for a larger number we are preventing them from learning a good, if painful, lesson about not doing stupid things and how to be careful when doing risky things.

Plus, I have to add in an old fart's "back in my day." Back in my day we played a game that was kind of like football. We drew a line in the snow. One of us would sled down the hill and another would stand in front of the line. If the sledder went over the line, he won. If the defender prevented it, he won. And if the defender knocked the sledder off his disk, there was bragging rights. Talk about a good way for a boy to toughen his hide while experiencing his first half dozen concussions...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Will a strengthening La Nina break global warming trends?

That's what forecaster Joe Bastardi is saying in a column at (Just a reminder, a La Nina is the cooling of ocean currents). Here's the paragraph that ties things together:
3) Suppose it gets close or breaks it be a little bit (the record for strongest La Nina). It is still a sign that the oceanic responses to the warming cycle is working! This is what happens in nature, so it's a major thorn in the side of people blaming people. There is not rout and the fight is one to take the earth back to where it was 25-30 years ago when the talk was of ice age (and it will be again). It is simple; look at history and one can see it. But suppose it is right, or close, the implication of this COLD event cannot be underestimated as far as what it means to global temps. This has to be factored into the entire system, and the development of questionable land-based data with suspect thermometers and heat islands has been given unearned credit in the global temps. But it's interesting to note how there is not a lot of attention being given to this La Nina as far as what the LONGER TERM CLIMATIC IMPLICATIONS ARE. It simply gets blamed for everything that goes wrong with the weather, and then somehow it's caused by global warming, which it is, but not human-induced, simply part of the natural cycle.

Is he right? Well, we won't know until we see how his forecast of a very strong La Nina plays out. It'll sink a lot of global warming ships if he is proven out, however.

Don't squeeze the Charmin

What a crappy wedding:
Here comes the bride, all dressed in white ... two-ply, extra soft toilet paper. Lovebirds Jennifer Cannon and Doy Nichols of Lexington, Ky., plan to get hitched Wednesday in a public restroom. She'll be wearing a gown fashioned from glue, tape and Charmin Ultra Soft and Ultra Strong toilet tissue.

The intricately detailed dress was designed by Hanah Kim, winner of the 2007 Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest, sponsored by

That's one bride you really, really hope is wearing a white dress.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm jealous of today's camera readied society

I'll admit, I am. I also admit that it is for purely selfish and vain reasons. It seems like all of the local broadcasters today have some sort of a program where viewers can submit prep highlights that they recorded, and we get to see some amazing highlights on fairly regular basis. It is a great feature, and it is even better for the kids that make the plays because they get the chance to see it and record it for posterity.

When I was a prep athlete, way back in the early 1990's, that just wasn't the case. Only a fairly small number of people had video cameras, and their footage rarely, if ever, made it to the news. Well, I was good high school baseball player. I wasn't great, otherwise I'd have had a college baseball career, but I was good. One year we were playing our rivals and we had our ace pitcher on the mound. I was playing left and we had a one run lead in the bottom of the seventh, but our rivals had two on and two out. The batter hit a line drive into the gap in left center and I knew I had to get on my horse to make the play or they were going to win. I sprinted towards the left center gap at an angle that was almost parallel to the infield. As the ball and I got closer, it was clear to me that the only chance I had was if I made a play on the ball at the last instant. I waited until the ball seemed like it was going past me and I dove to my left at almost a 90 degree angle to the plane I was running on. I can still feel my toes on my right foot pushing off the ground as I dove. I never saw the ball hit my glove and, more importantly, I never felt it hit the glove. I hit the ground hard and blacked out for a moment or two, knowing I had missed the ball. Next thing I knew, the centerfielder was yelling, "Show the ump the ball! Show him the ball!" I opened my eyes and there, snow coned in the tip of my glove, was the ball. It was in there so precariously that I was afraid to get up, and by this time I was laying on the ground with my feet facing the infield, so I just held my arms up as high as I could in that position until I heard the out called.

I was on cloud nine as I ran into the dugout. When we got done with our little post game ritual, two parents of a guy on the other team came up to me. They had been video taping their kid's game and they had the catch on tape, and they wanted to know if I wanted to see it. I politely declined because I was kind of modest. In retrospect, I really, really want to see that tape. Today, it would have been emailed into to some TV station and it probably would have been played or placed on their website. Back then, it just went into somebody's video library, destined to be forgotten or recorded over with an episode of Oprah.

I should have tried to buy it off of them. As it is, I have no video of my playing days to torture my kids and grandkids with. That would have been a good one.

Woman Writes Her Ticket to the Naughty List

A note to all the ladies out there-Santa's jollies are for Mrs. Claus only.
Santa Claus says that a woman who sat on his lap was naughty, not nice. A Santa at the Danbury Fair mall said the woman groped him. "The security officer at the mall said Santa Claus has been sexually assaulted," police Detective Lt. Thomas Michael said of the weekend complaint.

Sandrama Lamy, 33, of Danbury, was charged with sexual assault and breach of peace. She was released on a promise to appear in court on Jan. 3.

Police quickly found and identified Lamy because the woman was described as being on crutches, said Capt. Bob Myles.

She should fight this on the grounds that she was just putting on a public performance of the Nutcracker. And while I feel for the Santa (despite the jokes), at least that was one patron we didn't have to worry about peeing or puking while on his lap.

California's Crazy

California is a state that is considering the possibility of declaring a budgetary emergency because of a growing deficit crisis. It is also a state that is actively looking to exacerbate the problem:

SACRAMENTO — California moved significantly closer to enacting a broad expansion of health insurance coverage on Monday when the Democratic-controlled Assembly passed legislation that has the backing of the Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

While the plan wouldn't begin until 2010, it will cost an estimated $14 billion, and if history is any indicator, it will probably cost a lot more than that. Sooner or later, that throbbing money sponge in Sacramento is going to be slapped with the reality that, even in California, money doesn't grow on trees.

My favorite part of the plan is that it assesses a levy on-get this-hospital revenues. It'll make the very health care it is providing more expensive to pay for.

I'm also quite fond of this:

Mr. Schwarzenegger has countered by saying there should be no linkage between the revenue measures needed to balance the budget and those needed to pay for the health insurance plan. He also argues that the health plan is intended to bring down costs by encouraging healthy habits, better management of chronic diseases, and electronic record-keeping. That, he says, should ultimately reduce the state’s health care expenses and help California fix its structural budget problems.

Yep. No linkage. No linkage between a huge budget deficit and adding a ton of new spending that will very likely exceed estimates. And 'free' health care doesn't bring down health care costs. Think about it-if your employer paid every dime of your health care, you'd probably go to the doctor for every nick, scratch, and cold, wouldn't you? Ya know, just to be safe and prevent bigger problems, right? And would you ever once question the price? Probably not.

Here's what will happen if California goes along with this plan. First, there will be a health care crisis. There will be more demand for health care than supply. We'll hear about how packed the doctor's offices and the emergency rooms are, and most of it will be with health issues that do not require attention, all in the name of preventative care. Health care providers will be justified in increasing their prices, and then they'll tack on a little extra, because hell, nobody is pressuring them about prices, anyway. Plus the hospitals will tack on some more to recoup the levy placed on them by the state. Then we'll here about how much more expensive the plan was than anyone thought, and more onerous taxes and fees will be set in place, plus likely restrictions on the prices providers can charge if they want to be paid by the state. That in turn will send the best doctors who can earn the best money with their work out of state because it won't be worth it to practice in California anymore. Then we'll hear about how poor the health care is in California, how much malpractice there is, and how doctors are unable to afford their malpractice insurance. And the downward spiral in health care will continue in the state.

Great plan, Guvernator. May other states learn from your mistakes.

What were you doing when... heard the Berlin Wall had fallen?

I was laying in my bed suffering from mono, the kissing disease I somehow acquired without kissing. And you?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A quick thought on the Democratic primaries

It is great to see Barack Obama drawing blood on the Clinton campaign. Everything that happens in the Democratic race that makes Hillary Clinton look vulnerable is only going to be beneficial for Republicans going into the general election...if she wins the nomination. If Obama wins the Democratic nomination however, he may be as much if not more of a threat. Just look at what is happening now. He and his campaign are inexperienced in presidential politics. Despite that, they are taking chunks of flesh out of the Clinton machine. The Republicans should be quietly cheering for the Clinton campaign to land some successful round houses on Obama in the next month. If he can overcome her and build up a head of steam, he may be a very, very difficult opponent to overcome in the general election.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

National Champs!

I'd like to take a moment to congratulate my alma matter UW Whitewater. Today the Warhawk football team beat a dynastic Mount Union by a score of 31-21 to win the school's first DIII national championship. After losing to Mount Union in each of that last two years' championship games, this is sweet vindication.

Could Reagan even live up to the Reagan Standard?

Peggy Noonan has a piece up at the Wall Street Journal that is spreading around the conservative blogosphere like wild fire because of this paragraph:

I wonder if our old friend Ronald Reagan could rise in this party, this environment. Not a regular churchgoer, said he experienced God riding his horse at the ranch, divorced, relaxed about the faiths of his friends and aides, or about its absence. He was a believing Christian, but he spent his adulthood in relativist Hollywood, and had a father who belonged to what some saw, and even see, as the Catholic cult. I'm just not sure he'd be pure enough to make it in this party. I'm not sure he'd be considered good enough.

Most bloggers are linking to this as a reaction against Huckabee and the 'Evangelicals' in the party. I would like to take a moment to remind everyone that Ronald Reagan is the standard by which all conservatives are judged, however. I don't disagree with Noonan's assesment-Reagan probably would have difficulty in this current environment. However, if Reagan the 1980 candidate couldn't live up to Reagan the 2008 standard, perhaps we on the right have done a disservice to conservatism with our beatification of Reagan. That's not to say Reagan wasn't a great conservative, but he wasn't the perfect conservative that he is often portrayed as today. Hell, in his own day he had to deal with unhappy conservatives. Take this entry from The Reagan Diaries, dated Monday, July 28, 1982:

The "Conservative Digest" came out--an entire issue devoted to cutting me up and down and crosswire. John Lofton and his compatriots seem to be determined to paint me as a turncoat conservative. The tone is one of devoted but now disillusioned followers. H--l, in 1980 they held a secret meeting trying to persuade Al Haig to run against me.

Reagan's pragmatism has been glossed over in many conservative circles, and that is a huge disservice to present day conservative candidates and the conservative movement in general. The fact is even Reagan, the conservative standard, took criticism from his right during his presidency. Too many conservatives today expect candidates today to be the perfect conservative that they perceive Reagan was. The fact is that a perfectly ideological conservative would never get anything done during his or her term because that individual would be unable and unwilling to make the trade offs that get things done in our political system, let alone appeal to enough voters to win an election. The mythical Reagan standard-a standard that Peggy Noonan and others don't even think Reagan himself would meet today-is only going to hold the conservative movement back in an iron clad gridlock. It won't be until conservatives accept the real Reagan standard that this movement will be able to move forward again.

Don't overlook the little gifts

Just in my relatively short (nearly) 32 years, I've watched the culture of Christmas gift giving move towards bigger, better, and more expensive. I won't claim that I'm not a participant in that culture. There is a certain pleasure as a gift giver in wowing the person that you are giving a gift to. I've spent the last several days consumed with "stocking stuffers," though. Some of these gifts I'm giving as "stocking stuffers" would have been standard gifts themselves 15 years ago, and I must admit, they are much more fun to search for and buy than the big gifts. I also anticipate that they will be much more eagerly received because they are unexpected surprises. So my advice to you this Christmas is to not get overly absorbed with the big gifts because you can wow with the right small gifts, too. Thought still counts.

Rest in Peace, Triticale

The Wisconsin Blogosphere lost one of its own on Thursday when the blogger Triticale passed away. The Milwaukee area bloggers got to know him much better than I over the years. I knew him only through his blog and his comments at other blogs. I wish I had taken the opportunity to hit a few more Drinking Rights so I too would have known him better. May God's blessings be with you, Tom, and may he comfort your family.

Friday, December 14, 2007

My Greatest Post Ever

I'm all by myself here at home tonight. So, minus the company of my beautiful wife, how did I spend my evening? By firmly shoving my head into my own navel. Translation: I read my own archives for most of the evening. Over the years I've been blogging, I've had many posts that I've been proud of. I've had posts that have been recognized on the big blogs, and I've had posts that have been mentioned on TV and radio. But after sifting through my material, I think this innocuous post was (perhaps sadly) one of my best pieces of insight:

Almost every time you hear a story of a UFO sighting, there is some reference to the blinding speed at which the craft traveled. That begs one question: If UFOs move so fast, why do they never create a sonic boom? Physics, people, physics.

I've still never been given a satisfactory answer.

I must say, I was in rare form on December 17, 2005. Earlier that day I also offered what might have been my best piece of advice: If a cat is trying to bite you, shove your finger in its mouth. The cat's contrarian nature will take over and it will spit out your hand, rejecting the urge to bite you.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

So does this mean men with big beer bellies are tippy?

I don't know, I'm just asking. After all, this study presumes women have evolved to better handle the front loaded abdominal weight of pregnancy.

Pregnant women do not tip over, and the reason has a lot to do with an evolutionary curve, researchers say.

Anthropologists studying the human spine have found that women’s lower vertebrae evolved in ways that reduce back pressure during pregnancy, when the mass of the abdomen grows by nearly a third and the center of mass shifts forward considerably.

Even without the benefit of advanced study in biomechanics, women tend to deal with the shift — and avoid tumbling over like a bowling pin — by leaning back. But the solution to one problem creates another, since leaning puts even more pressure on the spine and muscles.

And that, report researchers from Harvard and the University of Texas in the current issue of the journal Nature, is where evolution enters the story.

Anthropologists have long known that the lower spine in humans developed a unique forward curve to help compensate for the strains that arose when the primate ancestors began walking upright. Researchers looked for a mechanism that compensated for pregnancy’s additional burden as well.

What they found, said Katherine K. Whitcome, a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard and the lead author of the paper, was evidence that evolution had produced a stronger and more flexible lower spine for women.

So by this logic, when I head out to the malls to finish my Christmas shopping, I should be seeing massively beer bellied men spontaneously tipping over left and right like those scare goats that pass out when startled. After all, men don't have the evolutionary advantage that women have in this regard. Right? If so, maybe it is time to ban Santa due to the tipping hazard he presents around small children.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Ron Paul blimp is a go

Thanks to everyone for your support in reaching our first goal of $200,000 the blimp will fly for the Tea Party! As a next step, we need to receive $400,000 in total sponsorships by December 21st to keep the blimp in the air through the New Hampshire primaries. Please sponsor the full Ron Paul Blimp Tour now!

Next up for Paul supporters will be the Ron Paul foam finger and the Ron Paul beer helmet. And it will all be paid for with with Ron Paul gold doubloons.

RIAA: No ripping your CDs

And you thought this post was just satire. The RIAA proves it is satire personified.

The RIAA's brief makes the novel contention, contradicting its lawyers' arguments at the Supreme Court in MGM v. Grokster, that making personal copies of songs from one's CD onto one's computer is an infringement.

I'm telling you, it is only a matter of time before they sue some toddler for singing along to Barney.

Recording artists make the bulk of their money from touring and licensing. Sooner or later they are going to realize that the music is a promotional vehicle for making money, and they are going to cut the recording industry out of the loop completely. Until then, watch who you sing in front of.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

10 compliments to wow an older man

Okay, before I get going on this post, read the one below this to get the context. My number 11 to their list is number 1 on this list.

Back? Good. Their crummy list inspired me to come up with my own list for the guy over 30. Enjoy.

1. You've distributed that extra weight nicely. Hey, we all get older, and most of us pick up some extra weight. Telling us we look like a Greek Adonis when we aren't is only going to make us laugh.

2. Wow, honey. The kids don't hate you. A good parent is going to have a certain amount of conflict with their kids over the years. If the kids think you are a buddy, you are guaranteed trouble. If they truly hate you, you are guaranteed trouble. But if they merely don't hate you, you just might be on the right track to good fatherdom.

3. Snort, snort, snort, I'm gonna pee! Older guys are still dumb, but we are a little bit wiser than the young guys. Telling us we're funny doesn't cut it, nor does the fake laugh. But snotting and peeing yourself does.

4. Thanks for remembering the bread. Look ladies, we're guys. Our heads get filled up in our youths with things like Paul Molitor's on base percentage in 1987 (it was .438, if you were wondering). If Barbies came with statistic filled trading cards, you'd understand. Sometimes there ain't enough room in the brain to remember the bread, especially if we accidentally killed off some of the good brain cells in our drinking days. To you, it may be appreciating the mundane. To us, it is an accomplishment.

5. Your back looks sore. Can I get you a beer? Many of us guys may grumble about shoveling and mowing, but we really don't mind doing it, even if it makes our aging back feel like a creaky old bridge. We don't need to be thanked because we realize that you may do more chores to our fewer, more difficult ones. But we sure do appreciate you appreciating us by getting our weary old bones that beer.

6. Let's go to XYZ restaurant. This one is for the married couples out there. When a guy says he doesn't care where you go for dinner or what you want to do on Saturday night, he's saying he just wants to do something you'll enjoy, even if he might want to retain a veto. Your decisiveness says, "thanks for putting me first." Or he could just mean that he doesn't care. Either way, decisiveness, ladies!

7. Nothing. There are times when no compliment is the best compliment. For example, once those nose/ear/back hairs get trimmed, guys don't want to think about 'em until it is time to trim again. As nice as, "wow, your back is smooth without all that hair" is meant to be, silence will truly wow him. This is especially true in social settings.

8. I checked my oil today. A guy wants you ladies to do simple preventative maintenance on your car for one reason-it is easier and cheaper for him to get your oil changed than it is to replace your engine, and face it, you will probably task him with getting the repairs done. When you don't, you're just taking him for granted. When you do, he can take that extra time for your tune up.

9. You still run faster than the other guys your age. We know we're slowing down, ladies. We are envious of the 22 year olds out on the diamond or court that have stolen away our mantle of beer league jock studs with their hideous youth. Telling us that it looks like we've got an anchor tied around our neck is just telling us what we already know. But we still want to be better than the other old dudes, if only to impress you.

10. The house looks great! If he cleaned the house, you can offer him tips on how to do certain things. If you criticize the job he did, he'll never do it again. If you compliment him and maybe reward him, he just might do it again-and better. Don't forget, we may be old dogs, but we're still puppies inside. Swat us with the newspaper and we're going to stop doing what we did. Say good job, give us a treat, and scratch our bellies and we will look to please you with that trick again and again.

11th compliment to wow your man

Yahoo has this little piece up right now called "10 Compliments that Wow a Man." My first impulse was to rip it to shreds. Something like "cute feet" isn't all that wowing. But, in the spirit of compliment number 2, I've decided to add an 11th: You've distributed your extra weight nicely.

This complement won't do much for the under 30 year olds or the fitness freaks amongst us. It probably ain't going to do much for the ladies, either. But for those of us over thirty for whom 6 pack only means beer, it ain't too shabby. The lovely Mrs. Jib dropped that one on my fat ass a couple of weeks back. I was wowed.

A request to some of my fellow southern Wisconsinites

Hi all-

I'm sorry for being so blunt, but circumstances require it. If you are a stupid human being, please, just stay in your home today. Seriously. With all of this snow and ice, it is tough enough for everyone else who has to try get around safely. By going out, you are just endangering yourselves and everyone else as well. Again, my apologies for being so blunt, but I just saw way too many of you out there today. Some of you were in your cars, driving around in this mess with only about one square foot of your windshield cleared of snow. Others of you were driving without your headlights. Some of you were driving way too fast for conditions, while others of you were creating hazards by actually driving too slow for the conditions. Some of you weren't even driving. There was the Einstein who, on a hilly, unplowed street, backed out of his driveway and then decided to park his truck in the middle of the street to clear the snow off. I apologize for driving so close to you and your truck, but I couldn't stop or I'd still be there next to your truck. Then, further up the hill on the same street, there was the guy who was standing in the middle of the street for no reason. Well, I guess watching your wife shovel 6 inches of heavy snow is a reason, but it isn't a good one. I apologize for having to honk at you, but you sir are a dumb ass. Think of it this way-I saved you from having to help me dig my car out and push me up the hill. Frankly, I didn't really appreciate the dirty look you gave me for honking, nor did I appreciate your deliberately slow walk to your sidewalk. But hey, you didn't get hit by my car and I didn't end up with a dent, so I guess we both win, right?

I know there are others of you who are thinking about going out there. Don't do it. And if you are already out there and have to get home somehow, please, for the sake of everyone else out there, used that under utilized noggin' of yours, just for a little while. I and the rest of us in Southern Wisconsin thank you. You may even thank yourself when you don't have to call that tow truck to pull your dumb ass out of the ditch you went into because you went into that curve at 50 mph.


The weather sucks, wish you were here

Ugh. The weather in Wisconsin has been particularly crappy this December. Our latest storm may be the strangest yet. A few minutes ago, it was snowing pretty hard and the flakes were about the biggest I've ever seem. Some had to have been as big around as a golf ball. Then it was as though someone hit a switch and it all changed over to a hard freezing rain. I don't know if this storm is going to grace us with a lot of snow or just ice, but I do know it is going to be a pain in the butt to try to clean up.

12 years to the moon, Alice

This kills me every time I read it.

Despite funding uncertainty, NASA is on track to return humans to the moon by 2020 and set up a lunar outpost to serve as a springboard to explore Mars, officials said Monday.

"Our job is to build towns on the moon and eventually put tire prints on Mars," NASA's Rick Gilbrech told reporters here, one year after the US space agency unveiled an ambitious plan to site a solar-powered, manned outpost on the south pole of the moon.

Ambitious? We got to the moon less than 10 years after making it our goal with, relatively speaking, primitive 1960's technology. Now it is going to take 12 years with much advanced technology. I'll put my money on the line by saying that we won't even be back to the moon by 2020 unless someone else beats us there and embarrasses us by doing so.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Squirrels are dumb

I had this same problem last year.

Squirrels are being blamed for lighting problems in Milwaukee’s Red Arrow Park.The city said they thought they would save money by using energy-efficient LED lights on its Christmas tree. But instead, they have to keep replacing the lights, making things more costly.Employees of the Department of Public Works said that squirrels are chewing the strings of the lights, causing them to short out.
The city has tried several things to stop the squirrels, but said they have had no luck.“The deer repellent didn’t work on squirrels,” said worker Dave McKeithan. “But I don’t think they make squirrel repellent. They’re too smart.”

No, they're dumb, and that's why they are confusing the pine cone-like plastic LED light housings for food. We bought our first strands of LEDs last year, and in the first two days they were up the squirrels went to town on them. This year we left them on for three straight days after first putting them up. It seems to have done the job (knock on wood).

Sing Us a Song, You're the Piano Man

The lovely Mrs. Jib and I are ecstatic right now because we will be going to see Billy Joel play at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee on March 2. This proves three things. One, we are officially "older". Two, we aren't very hep. Three, our souls are even a little older than our bodies.

Friday, December 07, 2007


If nothing else, admire their child like enthusiasm

Ron Paul supporters are trying to finance a Paul blimp:

Imagine.. the mainstream media is mesmerized as the image of the Ron Paul blimp is shown to tens of millions of Americans throughout the day (and throughout the month).

As GPS coordinates stream to the website a map shows the Ron Paul blimp's location in real time. The local television stations broadcast its every move. The curious flock together and make a trip to see history in the making. Emails with pictures are sent, then forwarded, then forwarded again. Youtube videos go viral and reach tens of millions of views. Ron Paul becomes the first presidential candidate in history to have his very own blimp. The PR stunt generates millions upon millions of dollars worth in free publicity, and captures the imagination of America.

This does nothing to make me think they are any less nutty. In fact, it makes me laugh. But hey, at least they are enthusiastic.

On regurgitation

For a communications guy, Dan Bartlett said something very, very stupid to Texas Monthly (via Captain's Quarters):
What about the blogs?

We had to set up a whole new apparatus to deal with the challenges they pose. Are they real journalists? The Washington Post, for example, has journalists who are now bloggers. Do you treat them as bloggers? Do they get credentials?

Let’s think of it as a practical matter. If one of those journalists-turned-bloggers, Chris Cillizza, e-mails you to say he needs an interview, and at the same time one of the Post’s print reporters—say, Dan Balz—e-mails you and says he needs an interview, and you can do only one . . .


Because the print edition of the Post has more of an impact?

Because Balz is on multiple platforms. He’s booked more easily on television. He’s read by more people. He influences people a bit more. Now, the question might not be as much Chris versus Dan as maybe, “Is it Dan Balz or one of the guys at [the conservative blog] Power Line?”

Yeah, or what if [conservative blogger] Hugh Hewitt called?

That’s when you start going, “Hmm . . .” Because they do reach people who are influential.

Well, they reach the president’s base.

That’s what I mean by influential. I mean, talk about a direct IV into the vein of your support. It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them. It is something that we’ve cultivated and have really tried to put quite a bit of focus on.

Actually, what Bartlett says has a hint of truth to it. I enjoy Hugh Hewitt's work, but he will 'regurgitate' for his favored politicians. Hewitt's tendency to carry water for his favorites has angered me at times and reduced how prominent a position he has in my rotation. Hewitt isn't alone, though. Most bloggers are essentially opinion columnists and will carry water for those they favor. Having said that, though, Bartlett's comments, italicized above, are horribly naive and arrogant. Bartlett is implying that bloggers are controllable. Some may be, but most are not. They will turn on an official that they see as having gone wrong. And Bartlett just put those that are controllable on warning that they are being used. He couldn't have done a better job of undercutting the ability of politicians to 'manage' blogger relations if he tried.

Role Reversal

Who would have thought 4 years ago that by the end of 2007, the world would have to depend on France and Germany to be aggressive on the dangers in the Middle East.

Mr Sarkozy said he agreed with his German counterpart that Iran still posed a danger, and that he supported the push for more sanctions.

"Notwithstanding the latest elements, everyone is fully conscious of the fact that there is a will of the Iranian leaders to obtain nuclear weapons.

"What made Iran move up to now, it was sanctions and firmness," he said.

The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released on Monday reversed earlier statements on Iran by the Bush administration.

It is almost impossible to match the NIE with the bellicosity of Iran in regards to their nuclear program and Israel. Fortunately, some key European allies are willing to continue to pressure Iran.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"The Headquarters of the Revolution"

This is awesome:

Daniel Webster called America’s colonial taverns “The headquarters of the Revolution.” Patrons of this tavern knew it as “The listening post of the Revolution”; they knew that Washington made his headquarters at that building of like vintage just across the creek. Actually, this tavern’s colonial patrons called it simply Mabie’s, for its tavernkeeper.

If I could start this joint all over again, I'd name it The Headquarters of the Revolution. I love that. Nobody ever understood that Jiblog was just my nickname ('Jib') and 'blog' smushed together, anyway.

RIAA suit takes new approach to copyright enforcement

(JNN) Signaling a new a new approach to its efforts to enforce copyrights, the RIAA today filed a $2.7 million lawsuit against 5 year Meghan Grabowski. According to the suit, the RIAA claims that Grabowski owes royalties for the 872 times that she's sung along to the album Crunchy Munchy Music by The Wiggles in her mother's minivan.

In the papers filed with the court, the RIAA asserts that by singing in a venue (the 2003 Ford Windstar owned by her mother Sarah) in front of two or more people (her mother, her brother, and her father), Grabowski was compelled to pay royalties on the music used in her performances.

John Allen, a representative for the RIAA, says that his organization is not trying to bully music consumers.

"Not in the least. We don't care if you sing a copyright protected song when you are by yourself. And we certainly don't care if you sing a song in your head, even though there is some legality issues there with multiple personality sufferers. We just want to make sure that everyone gets a payday. Except that thieving little snot."

When asked for comment, Sarah Grabowksi said that if she could sue her daughter for pain suffering, she do it herself.

Conservative coalition straining at the seams

The conservative Republican coalition is often talked about by the opposition as if it is a monolithic entity, but in reality it is made up of some very different parts. When conservatism is clicking, the economic conservatives, the social conservatives, the national security conservatives, and the right leaning libertarians are all pretty much on the same page. That is certainly not the case as we hurdle towards 2008. The economic conservatives and the national security conservatives seem to be on the same page still, but the social conservatives and the right leaning libertarians are veering off in different directions. Right leaning libertarians have been drooling over the odd and unusual Ron Paul for some time now, and in recent weeks the social conservatives have been breaking out their "I Heart Huckabee" bumper stickers for the decidedly not-conservative Mike Huckabee.

Part of this is just typical nomination politics. The candidates find their base amongst conservatives within the Republican party, and then they go out and try to win the most of the rest. That naturally highlights the seams in the party. This might be different this year, though. The mainstream conservative candidates-Giuliani, Romney, Thompson, and, if you can call him a conservative, McCain-are all flawed conservatives. They've generated a minimum of enthusiastic support. Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul have developed very passionate support amongst large portions of the social conservatives and libertarians (and a few economic conservatives). Neither has a snowball's chance in hell of winning the nomination, though, and therein lies the rub. Their passionate supporters are almost certain to be disaffected when their candidate ultimately has to throw in the towel. That is going to leave the eventual nominee running down a cylinder or two, giving the Democratic nominee an important head start.

But that's not the worst of it. If either of those two candidates can maintain some momentum well into the primaries, they will begin to feel a groundswell from their supporters to run as a third party candidate. At this point, I doubt Huckabee could or would, but I have no doubt that Ron Paul would jump at the chance. Just one of these two would cleave off enough conservative voters to toss the election to whatever democrat wins their nomination. As it is, Republicans might have a tough time getting libertarians and social conservatives to the voting booth in 2008. A hard split in the party could make either Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul the democratic nominee's best ally.

National Intelligence Estimates: Nearly Worthless

When I wrote about the recent NIE that declared that Iran had given up their nuclear weapons program in 2003, I asked whether the report could have been a CYA job. It is beginning to look like I was being generous with that thought. Instead, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Sun have taken a closer look at this NIE (summary at Power Line) and found that it is more likely a venue through which some are trying to push their agendas. This NIE raises serious questions about the value and reliability of any NIE, and it also illuminates the short comings of bureaucracies.

There is no way to fix State and CIA other than to completely tear them down and build all new, smaller and more efficient institutions. I'd love to see a presidential candidate latch onto the larger bureaucracy issue because it is a subject the American people seem to understand well and detest. In that way, a president would have the popular strength to fix some things within the State Department and the CIA. Unfortunately, even that would only be a temporary band aid for the ills of both.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Something to keep an eye on Sunday

Brett Favre has always had a loose grip on the football. I think it was his second game as a Packer when we first saw one of his "whoop!" throws where his arm goes forward but the ball doesn't. This is a problem that seems to have become more frequent since his broken thumb a couple of years back. Since reports are that he still has not recovered all of the feeling in his hand from last Thursday's bruised elbow, his difficulties holding onto the ball might be exacerbated. Hopefully he won't have any problems with it against the Raiders, but if it does happen a couple of times, the Raiders might be able to make a game of it.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Important Jiblog Disclosure

Since the Clinton campaign has revolutionized things with primary school politics, I feel I must come clean about my kindergarten and third grade years, lest it be used against me in the blogosphere. When I was in kindergarten, I kind of wanted to be a dog. A strong, fluffy dog that could run really fast. I had grown a great deal by third grade, however. By then I wanted to be He-Man when I grew up.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled Iowa Caucus campaign.

Tragedy at the North Pole! Christmas Cancelled!

Tragedy struck the North Pole today as global warming, caused by man, led to a miscommunication that saw the Canadian and Danish navies obliterate the base of operations for world renown Santa Claus.

The confusion began when the Navies for both nations detected a terribly powerful blast deep in the Arctic Circle. Canada and Denmark have been butting heads over claims to the Arctic ever since man made global warming began melting the ice, killing polar bears, and opening up potentially lucrative shipping lanes. After detecting the blast, both navies feared it was an opening salvo from the other and unleashed their full military fury on the site of the blast.

The tragedy of the situation did not become apparent until the smoke cleared. Scout teams were dispatched and discovered that the headquarters for Claus had been heavily damaged. Hundreds of dead and dying elves were scattered across the tundra. One dying elf who had witnessed the day's events reported a pop gun had accidentally discharged in the toy workshop. Experts believe that this pop gun, which approximates the strength of the strongest guns in both the Canadian and Danish navies, may have set off the terrible barrage.

Casualties are uncertain at this early hour. At least 300 hundred elves are estimated to be dead. No reindeer have yet been recovered but several fully charbroiled venison steaks have been sustaining first responders to the scene. Also, the two human residents, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, have not yet been accounted for. A spokeself for Claus, visibly shaken by the discovery of a red mitten still holding a cookie, announced that Christmas will be canceled this year, and asked that everyone pray for Claus.

Former American Vice President Al Gore immediately flew on his private jet to the scene. He is expected to make a speech later in the day to blame this on the evil man made global warming, Claus for his use of heavily polluting reindeer technology for travel, and George W. Bush.

(This is satire. For any of you kids out there that might stumble upon this, that means that none of the above is true. It is just a made up story used to amuse adults and to make a point. Christmas is on and Santa and his entire team are just fine).

Get in Your Bubbles-Ebola's Back!

And it has mutated!

Just thought I'd let you know. There hasn't been much bird flu talk of late, so it is only right that Ebola rear it's ugly head. Whatever happened to the killer cold, anyway?

Monday, December 03, 2007

NIE: Iran shelved nuke arms program in 2003

This certainly is good news. I do have a couple of comments on it.

  1. Even this report admits that Iran is "keeping its options open," to use the New York Times' words.
  2. The 16 agencies behind the NIE "do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons." That's disturbing and to a certain extent negates the significance of their assessment that Iran shelved the program in 2003.
  3. Something else happened in the region in 2003 that just happened to lead to the dismantling of Libya's WMD programs. Hmmm.
  4. The report states that Iran could still produce a nuclear weapon as early as 2009-a not too distant date.
  5. If early in, say, an Obama or Clinton presidency, Iran were to announce that they have a nuclear weapon, the first inclination of the political left will be to blame Bush. If that were to occur, this report needs to be brought back into the light because it handcuffs the administration unless something else happens.
  6. I'll be curious to see if this report will be trumpeted by all of those who have brutalized U.S. intelligence agencies for much of the past 6 years. If so, what makes this intelligence so much more believable, other than it confirms their own beliefs?
  7. I hope it is just the cynic in me that wonders if this is a CYA job by the agencies behind the NIE. This isn't really a good time for them to be wrong as this report all but ensures that Iran will have the upper hand in diplomacy at least until a new president is sworn in because it effectively removes the use of force as a legitimate threat.
The Weekly Standard asks 5 very relevant questions.

The sheltered writers can stay on strike

The lovely Mrs. Jib Tivo'd last night's Desperate Housewives and is currently watching it. In the episode, Wisteria Lane experiences a tornado. Only one problem-it is the most unrealistic portrayal of a tornado that I have ever seen. Don't get me wrong, I allow the entertainment industry their poetic license, but they've stretched reality so far out of whack in this episode that it makes it impossible to be entertained...unless laughter at the absurdity counts. If this represents some of the best from the Writer's Guild, then maybe it is time for some new writers.

Just deserts

If you are going to steal a sex doll, then I guess the most fitting reward for your actions is to get caught...and publicized.

Calling it a "drunken, stupid thing," a DeForest man admitted to breaking into a town of Burke sex shop last month and stealing several blow-up sex dolls, among them a $270 model that talks.

Jose A. Sandoval, 26, led detectives to spots where he had stashed the dolls and other items he allegedly took from Naughty Novelties, 6011 Highway 51, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Dane County Circuit Court.

Sandoval was charged with burglary for allegedly taking such things as sex dolls, thong underwear and lotion in the Nov. 10 break-in, according to the complaint.

Thong underwear? Does the doll really need it? Or did he want to look sexy for it?

Fresh coat of paint

I've been sick of the brown flower motif used on this template for a long, long time. I like the basic layout of this template, so I decided to ax the brown flowers and paint over it, if you will. I'm not sure if I like this either, though. Let me know your thoughts.

Chavez referendum fails in Venezuela

This is good, but I wouldn't get overly excited about it.
Venezuelan voters delivered a stinging defeat to President Hugo Chavez on Sunday, blocking proposed constitutional changes that would have given him political supremacy and accelerated the transformation of this oil-rich country into a socialist state.

Hours after the final ballots were cast, the National Electoral Council announced at 1:15 a.m. local time Monday that voters, by a margin of 51 to 49 percent, had rejected 69 reforms to the 1999 constitution. The modifications would have permitted the president to stand for reelection indefinitely, appoint governors to provinces he would create and control Venezuela's sizable foreign reserves.

Opponents of the referendum are justifiably pleased.

"People who have been with Chavez do not support the reform," said Elixio Fusil, who lives in a pro-Chavez district in western Caracas and voted against the reforms. "He wants a blank check, and that's impossible. We're not stupid like he thinks. It's that simple. There are conscious, thinking people here, too."

Fusil should probably enjoy the moment because it won't last. Based on the narrow margin of victory, there may be conscious, thinking people in Venezuela, but they don't out number the unconscious and unthinking by very much. The genius of Chavez holding this referendum now is that he has 4 plus years left in his current term. That is plenty of time to lull some more of those "conscious, thinking people" to sleep so he can still have his way. Chavez my have lost this battle, but his war to be communist president for life is far from over.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Weather forecasters get one right

For two or three days, weather forecasters have been predicting a snow/ice storm. We are quite accustomed to the forecasters getting winter storm predictions wrong, though, and we dog them for it. They hit this forecast on the head, right down to the hour it would change to ice. This is a storm that we might wish they had gotten wrong by the time it is over. As for us, we're hunkered down at home, putting up the Christmas tree. And if they takes out the power, we'll be making good use of our fireplace.

A Quick Bird Question

I have a quick question/bleg and I'd appreciate if anyone can give me their thoughts. Right now here in southern Wisconsin, it is snowing somewhat hard. We've got a couple inches on the ground and we'll be getting a couple more inches before this storm turns into an ice storm. About an hour ago a cardinal flew into my back yard and started eating in my bird feeder. He hasn't left. I'm guessing that it is just sheltered enough from the storm to make it warm while he's in there. Should I allow him to shelter there for as long as he likes, or should I shoo him off so he gets back to his nest before the precipitation turns to freezing rain?