30 December 2008

Evil, thy name is Che

There are some topics that get me all riled up. The deification of Che Guevara is one of those. I have long bristled at the ignorant (at best, stupid at worst) people who wear his image on shirts and hang it on walls, often with the barest understanding of his deeds.

In one of her best columns of the year, the WSJ's Mary Anastasia O'Grady lays to rest any notion of Che's heroism. A new film has been made about him, and it does us a disservice in its portrayal of a man who admonished the use of hatred in his struggle, a hatred meant to push "a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective and cold-blooded killing machine."

Don't believe the hype. Speak up when you see idiocy masquerading as fashion.

29 December 2008

Climate Change, Shmimate Change

This is an interesting column that explores the weakening "consensus" on Global Warming.

Ever shriller and more frantic has become the insistence of the warmists, cheered on by their army of media groupies such as the BBC, that the last 10 years have been the "hottest in history" and that the North Pole would soon be ice-free – as the poles remain defiantly icebound and those polar bears fail to drown. All those hysterical predictions that we are seeing more droughts and hurricanes than ever before have infuriatingly failed to materialise.
Even the more cautious scientific acolytes of the official orthodoxy now admit that, thanks to "natural factors" such as ocean currents, temperatures have failed to rise as predicted (although they plaintively assure us that this cooling effect is merely "masking the underlying warming trend", and that the temperature rise will resume worse than ever by the middle of the next decade).
Secondly, 2008 was the year when any pretence that there was a "scientific consensus" in favour of man-made global warming collapsed. At long last, as in the Manhattan Declaration last March, hundreds of proper scientists, including many of the world's most eminent climate experts, have been rallying to pour scorn on that "consensus" which was only a politically engineered artefact, based on ever more blatantly manipulated data and computer models programmed to produce no more than convenient fictions.
Thirdly, as banks collapsed and the global economy plunged into its worst recession for decades, harsh reality at last began to break in on those self-deluding dreams which have for so long possessed almost every politician in the western world. As we saw in this month's Poznan conference, when 10,000 politicians, officials and "environmentalists" gathered to plan next year's "son of Kyoto" treaty in Copenhagen, panicking politicians are waking up to the fact that the world can no longer afford all those quixotic schemes for "combating climate change" with which they were so happy to indulge themselves in more comfortable times.

It really comes down to the question of priorities. Where do we allocate our finite resources? It should be focused on the issues that we KNOW we can affect, such as child mortality due to unsafe water.

Dolphins Turn it Around

If you need further proof about the futility of sports prognostication here is one: One year after going 1-15, the Miami Dolphins are in the playoffs with an 11-5 record. They have a tough road, but considering, not just last season, but how long it has been since they've even made the playoff, this is great news.

27 December 2008

Awesome Video Saturday LXXI

A post-Christmas gift for my Twilight loving friends.

26 December 2008

SPOTD #146

I hope everyone has enjoyed the holidays. We've been visiting Lacy's family, and having a great time.

Today's phrase:
This is a great time to perform service for people less fortunate. From Dr. Martin Luther King

Si ayudaras a una sola persona a tener esperanza, no habrias vivido en vano.

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable:
See ah-yoo-dahs ah oo-nah so-lah pare-sewn-ah ah tain-air ace-pare-ahn-sah, no ahs vee-vee-do enn vah-no.

If you help only one person to have hope, you would not have lived in vain

Condi lays it down...
I've made a concerted effort lately to keep the SPOTD e-mails apolitical, but I wanted to share this article. It is drawn from a conversation between a Wall Street Journal writer, Kimberley Strassel, and Condoleeza Rice. Rice challenges the notion that the Bush Administration has left the U.S. in a worse situation in terms of international relations. She draws comparisons between the situation inherited by Bush versus the one being inherited by Obama. You may disagree with the policies of the Bush administration, but I think she makes some valid points.

The recent Heisman voting left last year's winner, Tim Tebow, in 3rd place. I am not really a Gator fan, giving my allegiance to BYU and Miami, but Tebow is an outstanding player and individual. This bit from the Wall Street Journal makes a case for why he may be the best player of all time.

Last Minute Shopping
Looking for a way to spend a Christmas gift? Popular Mechanics has a series where they look at various tv-sold products. I wrote about one, the Shamwow, at In Rare Form.

Failed Promise
I love movie trailers. They are so expertly made these days that many very mediocre films look like they're going to be much better. This site looks at some great trailers for mediocre 2008 films.

Link of the Day
This is incredible. In order to maintian New York City's aquifer, divers are living underground in a tank, breathing a mixture of mostly helium.
You must read this fascinating bit.

25 December 2008

¡Felíz Navidad!

Disney and Christmas just seem to go together. Enjoy this Christmas-themed clip.

Of course, these kinds of things are secondary to the real significance of the holiday, the birth of Jesus Christ.

20 December 2008

On Economic Leadership

I am concerned by the lack of economic leadership in our time. Neither Bush nor Obama has given the American people much to look forward to. Yesterday saw Obama talking about economic recovery, and how "It will take longer than any of us would like — years, not months. It will get worse before it gets better." Joe Biden said "There is no short run other than keeping the economy from absolutely tanking. That's the only short run." Indelicate words.

I don't mean to imply that the economy is healthy right now. It isn't, but we don't need leaders thst confirm the most negative assessments proferred by the media. We need leaders that acknowledge our problems while offering a clear understanding of America's unique advantages. Are we getting that from anyone right now? Obama was elected in part on his ability to inspire people. Though I failed to be moved by him I could understand the appeal. I'm not seeing a whole lot of inspiration right now.

Meanwhile, Congress failed to demonstrate leadership by allowing a scheduled pay increase to pass. Good work folks.

At least Illinois seems likely to provide a fascinating sideshow for a while.

Awesome Video Saturday LXX

I used to have this dream where I was Mario. I was in the game, jumping up and down, moving forward and backward but never side-to-side. It was kind of claustrophobic.

Anyway, I thought this video by some crazy French guy was cool.

18 December 2008

Global Warmism's Hubris

This post is not about whether there is global warming. Nor is it about whether climate change is manmade. It is about the foolishness of the many that presume that we can manipulate climate to our own ends. A CNN meteorologist agrees:

CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers had never bought into the notion that man can alter the climate and the Vegas snowstorm didn’t impact his opinion. Myers, an American Meteorological Society certified meteorologist , explained on CNN’s Dec. 18 “Lou Dobbs Tonight” that the whole idea is arrogant and mankind was in danger of dying from other natural events more so than global warming.
“You know, to think that we could affect weather all that much is pretty arrogant,” Myers said. “Mother Nature is so big, the world is so big, the oceans are so big – I think we’re going to die from a lack of fresh water or we’re going to die from ocean acidification before we die from global warming, for sure.”
People like Bjorn Lomborg have argued very effectively that there are many more worthy causes for our money and time. This is not to say that we shouldn't address environmental issues. We should address the things that can be controlled, and I just don't think that climate is one of those.

It you think I'm wrong, please let me know.

17 December 2008

NY No ♥ U

The State of New York has unveiled a devastating budget for 2009. It's full of budget cuts and tax increases. Get the rundown here.

Florida is having some tough times as well, but not quite like this. I'm sure the NY plan will only decrease incentives to stay in the state.

Principled Opposition

I love Atlas Shrugged. The book promotes a kind of ideological purity that I would find difficult to apply, but I still admire it. This statement from the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights examines the real reason why Republican opposition to an auto bailout should be offensive:

A principled opposition to the auto bailout would have denounced as immoral any attempt to use taxpayer money to prop up failing companies. It would have insisted that such attempts at central planning are destructive and un-American. It would have said that the government’s proper function is not to engineer the economy, but to protect individual rights and otherwise leave the economy free. That is not what the Republicans claimed.
“In his floor statement opposing the bill, leading Republican senator Mitch McConnell’s ‘stinging’ criticism consisted of finding that the bill ‘does not’ lay out ‘an effective strategy for securing the long-term viability of these companies,’ that it did not give the proposed ‘Car Czar’ enough power, and--the ultimate deal-killer for Republicans--the bill would have adjusted auto worker wage rates at ‘too slow’ a pace.
“The tragic fact is that Republicans do not regard central planning as objectionable--they merely disagree with the Democrats’ central plan.”
It is a damning but accurate critique, and Republicans will continue to fail among many of their former supporters if they don't wise up.

Kennedy Shmennedy

Isn't there anyone qualified for the New York senate seat that is not named Kennedy? Is New York that devoid of talent? Must the replacement come from the political establishment at all?

Claudia Rosett compares the New York situation to what we might find in some banana republic. It's pathetic.

15 December 2008

Saying Thanks

Say what you want about the guy, but you can tell from their reaction that a visit from the President was very meaningful for these soldiers. It is fitting that he would visit them once more before the end of his term.

14 December 2008

Death & the Failed State

As a follow-up to my previous post on the effect of inconsistent maritime law on piracy, here is a great article by Max Boot on the matter, as well as what can be done to improve things. He focuses on the impact of "failed states" like Somalia, and how the absence of a legitimate ruling power creates a vacuum that is all too attractive for pirates and their ilk.

Similarly, this post from a New York Times blog looks at how failed states harm their own citizens internally. In this case, it is the failure of the government of Zimbabwe to act decisively against a serious outbreak of cholera. The author poses some good questions, most of which I think are addressed in Boot's prescription:
The essential problem in both Somalia and Pakistan is a failure of governance. The question is: What if anything can outside powers do to bring the rule of law to these troubled lands? In the 19th century, the answer was simple: European imperialists would plant their flag and impose their laws at gunpoint. The territory that now comprises Pakistan was not entirely peaceful when it was under British rule. Nor was Somalia under Italian and British sovereignty. But they were considerably better off than they are today -- not only from the standpoint of Western countries but also from the standpoint of their own citizens.
You might think that such imperialism is simply unacceptable today. But you would be only partially right. There have been a number of instances in recent years of imperialism-in-all-but-name. Bosnia and Kosovo -- still wards of NATO and the European Union -- are prominent examples of how successful such interventions can be in the right circumstances.

Is this a Maslow thing? I think so, in the sense that security and the rule of law are essential if we want the niceties of government, such as disease prevention and democratic regimes. This is something that we will be dealing with for a long time.

13 December 2008

Awesome Video Saturday LXIX

In the end, this is really just a long commercial, but its a good one.

12 December 2008

Frigid Nights in Far-off Lands

I really encourage you to visit Michael Yon's site. He is an independent journalist providing some of the best war-reporting available. He's not an ideologue in the political sense, but is absolutely interested in seeing us win our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is frank about the challenges we face in Afghanistan, as he was about Iraq pre-Surge. Here is an excerpt of a recent post:

While Americans sleep tight in their beds, this time of year U.S. soldiers sit shivering through the frigid, crystal clear nights at remote outposts in places most of us have never heard of and will never see. Often they head out into the enveloping darkness, to hunt down and destroy terrorists, who continue to kill innocent Afghans, Americans, Aussies, Balinese, Brits, Indians, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Spanish….in short, anyone who opposes their violent tyranny.

All of this occurring a world away from our comfortable lives. Read more and remember.

11 December 2008

Missile Defense- Does it work?

Popular Mechanics takes a look at our missile defense technology. Some thoughts:

Ultimately, the question of whether the GBI is an effective defensive system or simply part of a well-orchestrated bluff could be irrelevant. This year Congress called for a study to determine whether ballistic-missile defense should exist as currently configured, with a review to be finished by 2010. And even if the MDA’s $9.3 billion annual budget survives congressional scrutiny, its direction and scope could change under a new presidential administration. For now, Fort Greely is adding more missiles. Stepping out of the silo, I notice the day feels colder. There are 20 silos in this missile field, and in the distance, a silo is hanging suspended from a crane—another missile field under construction. I ask Bond why the inventory keeps growing, when neither North Korea nor Iran has successfully tested an ICBM. “You cannot wait until an enemy has a knife at your throat to figure out how to parry the thrust,” he says. “If you do, your life or your wallet will be forfeit.”
It's a very interesting article, and it explains how ballistic missile defense systems are meant to operate. Pretty cool technology.

10 December 2008

How Dark the Knight

The Dark Knight was definitely my favorite film this year. I was had a desire to be a professional filmmaker. At some point in my very early 20's I realized that I lacked some of the determination, and perhaps innate skill, to make a successful go of it. I still love film, and I enjoy getting a filmmaker's perspective on the choices they make in the production process.

There is no question about Christopher Nolan's technical skill as a director. The Dark Knight was an extraordinary crescendo of action and feeling that left me thinking about it for days. I thought the themes in the movie, while dark, were well worth thinking about.

In this piece, from an L.A. Times blog post, Nolan revisits one scene from the film, his favorite, and if you enjoyed the movie you may like what he has to say. An excerpt:

Christian and I had talked a lot on "Batman Begins" about finding a moment in that film where you actually worry that Batman will go too far. A moment where his rage might spill over and he would break his rules. We never found that moment. It just wasn’t there in that story. There was a lot of strength and aggression in the way he played the part, but I don’t think the story provided that element of losing control. What the Joker provides in the second film is the fact that his entire motivation is to push people’s buttons and find their rules set and it turn it on itself. And Batman of course places such importance on his rules, his morals. It’s what distinguishes him, in his mind, from a common vigilante. The Joker is able to twist him around and make him question his own approach and his own actions.

08 December 2008

SPOTD #145

Its been a while, but here is the latest edition of the SPOTD. Enjoy.

Today's phrase:
The proximity of major holidays in November and December means many of us spend a lot of time with our family. Thomas Jefferson had the following to say:

Los mejores momentos de mi vida han sido aquellos que he disfrutado en mi hogar en el seno de mi familia.

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable:
Lows may-hore-ace mow-main-toes day me vee-dah ahn see-doe ah-kay-yos kay ay dees-froo-tah-doe enn me oh-gar enn ell say-no day me fah-meel-ya.

The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.

Quantum of Solace: I thought Casino Royale was fantastic, so I've been eagerly anticipating this sequel. It wasn't as good, but I liked it. I'm sold on Daniel Craig
Speed Racer: This movie really is a live-action cartoon. I was always a fan of the source material. When I was little I would crawl into my parents bed in the morning to watch the cartoon. I enjoyed it. I don't think I would expect Lacy to watch it- definitely not her thing- but I thought it was cool.
The Road Home: This is a Chinese film, by the same director as Hero and House of Flying Daggers. This is not a martial arts epic, but a sweet, small love story. We both enjoyed it quite a bit.
Twilight: I didn't see it, but my wife did. She enjoyed it, mostly on the performance of Robert Pattinson. She said she'd see the sequel (certain to be made now) and hopes the enhanced budget can compensate for a mediocre effects effort.

Phasers On
My son would call these "zappers" (I call them that because it doesn't bother Lacy as much as saying "guns"), but this news about lasers being used in the military is great. The primary focus is to destroy weaponry and incoming artillery/missiles. Very cool.

Dear Santa
Who wouldn't like to have some Night Vision Goggles, and for less than $70!?!

Do-it-Yourself At Its Best
Some of you will be traveling over the next month. If you have ever tried to watch a movie on an iPod, you know holding it can get old. Behold! Your solution.

Link of the Day
Bought your Festivus Pole yet?

07 December 2008


Today is the 67th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. We should remember those who died in the attack, what their heroism taught us, and never forget.

For this group of veteran survivors the memories are fresh.

06 December 2008

Awesome Video Saturday LXVIII

I miss John Candy. The whole clip is good, but the end is money.

I almost didn't post this one because it is so painful, but I couldn't resist.

05 December 2008

Plaxico & the 2nd Amendment

You may have heard of the accidental self-shooting of New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress. He was foolish and careless in his behavior, but is the law that may send him to prison for a 3 1/2 years even consitutional?

In the Wall Street Journal Dave Kopel argues that it is not. Kopel points out that Burress is not being charged with discharging his firearm, shooting himself, or using a firearm while consuming alchohol. He is being charged with carrying an unlicensed firearm in New York:

In 40 states, including Connecticut, law-abiding adults are issued permits once they pass a fingerprint-based background check and a safety class. In New Jersey, carry permits are virtually never issued. In New York City, carry permits are issued, but to applicants with some form of political clout rather than on the basis of his or her need for protection.
The Second Amendment might not require New Jersey or New York City to issue as liberally as Connecticut does. But with a population of several million and only a few thousand (consisting mainly of politicians, retired police and celebrities) able to get permits, New York City's licensing process is almost certainly unconstitutional on a number of grounds, including sheer arbitrariness.
Some commentators contend that Plaxico Burress should have hired bodyguards, instead of carrying a gun himself. Mr. Burress might now agree. But people who aren't as wealthy as he is also deserve to be safe, and they don't have the money for bodyguards. New York City needs to regularize its carry permit system so that law-abiding people can protect themselves, especially if their circumstances (such as being a witness to a gang crime) place them at heightened risk.
Burress was licensed to carry a firearm in Florida, where he was a resident. Was he foolish for carrying in New York? Yes. Could he have seriously injured himself or others? Without question. Is the law of New York constitutional? Only time will tell, but in my opinion Kopel makes a good case.

29 November 2008

Awesome Video Saturday LXVII

I thought this was a funny video. Just a warning- it gets a little ugly in the end.

28 November 2008

Crossing the Divide

Among the various unheralded accomplishments of the Bush administration has been the service of Dana Gioia, the head of the National Endowment for the Arts. Certainly this is due to his own personality, but his tenure has been demonstrative of how at least one official was well-selected.

Read this National Review piece for more.

27 November 2008

¡Feliz día de Gracias!

I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving. Here is some of what I am grateful for.

Best wishes on this beautiful day!

26 November 2008

Hang 'em at the Mainyard!

This was an interesting piece on how U.S. and International maritime law does not adequately address the problem of piracy in today's oceans. For a synopsis you can watch the video below.

24 November 2008

False Democracy

If you happen to read or hear anything about Venezuela's elections today, this article should provide a helpful context.

Venezuelans do not enjoy free and fair democracy, Jimmy Carter's endorsement notwithstanding.

22 November 2008

Awesome Video Saturday LXVI

Since Kira is visiting Florida until early December and Justin must miss her, I thought I'd help him feel better by putting them into one of his favorite movies (the pics I used are from 2003):

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This is another funny video I made with Joseph, Millie, and Evan.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

15 November 2008

Awesome Video Saturday LXV

"Futurewear," as envisioned long ago. I like the party about "candy for cuties."

13 November 2008

More Warming Shwarming

Under the category "We really have no clue" comes this bit of information:

Scheduled shifts in Earth's orbit should plunge the planet into an enduring Ice Age thousands of years from now but the event will probably be averted because of man-made greenhouse gases, scientists said Wednesday.
This is such folly. I mean, the idea is interesting, but how can we possibly know whether this will actually come to pass? It's worth asking the question.

11 November 2008

Whither the War

We don't hear much about Iraq these days. Want to know why? The War is over. It is still a dangerous, somewhat unstable place, but the situation is generally much improved.

We don't hear much about Afghanistan either, aside from Democrats complaining that we haven't done enough there. It is true that efforts in Afghanistan have played second fiddle to Iraq. With Iraq's improvements we can refocus efforts there, as Obama has promised. Michael Yon is a veteran embedded journalist and has some advice for our President-to-be:

Whatever else, Mr. President-elect, this is no time to go wobbly. It is important to note that some top British and U.S. commanders believe that we can make a “success” out of Afghanistan. We’ve learned a few things over the past seven years. We’ve truly got a “dream team” of military commanders with great in-theater experience to advise and guide the next phase. They saved Iraq. Use them well, Sir.
President-elect Obama says he is serious about Afghanistan. (Just don’t fumble Iraq, please.) As he must be learning in intelligence briefings, it’s going to be tough stuff. It will be like solving a human Rubik’s Cube during a firefight while the media screams every time you make a wrong move — or what is perceived as a wrong move — and there is a clock ticking and at some unknown point the Cube self-destructs.


I am so pleased by this picture:

This is a shot of the new Enterprise from J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot. Abrams, from an Entertainment Weekly article:

If you're going to do Star Trek there are many things you cannot change. The Enterprise is a visual touchstone for so many people. So if you're going to do the Enterprise, it better look like the Enterprise, because otherwise, what are you doing?

I think it's going to be a winner. We'll have to wait until May to find out. I've always been a fan, and Lacy already knows she has no choice on this one.

10 November 2008

Pity the Pres

During the last 8 years I have never wavered in my support for President Bush. There are some things that I have disagreed with or been disappointed about, but on the whole I think he is a decent man who did his best, and I think history will reward that in due time, especially on the Iraq War.

Mr. Bush is not an evil man. Many on the left will claim to have given him a fair shake early on, but I don't remember that being the case at all. He was only on the job for 8 months when 9/11 occurred, and he took office during a recession. A former member of John Kerry's 2004 legal team had the following to say about the President:
It seems that no matter what Mr. Bush does, he is blamed for everything. He remains despised by the left while continuously disappointing the right. 
Yet it should seem obvious that many of our country's current problems either existed long before Mr. Bush ever came to office, or are beyond his control. Perhaps if Americans stopped being so divisive, and congressional leaders came together to work with the president on some of these problems, he would actually have had a fighting chance of solving them.
No doubt the Bush administration will continue to confound for many years to come. As I said before, Bush the man has many qualities to admire. From the recollections of Jim Towey, a former White House staffer:
I remember coming to the West Wing one morning before the daily 7:30 senior staff meeting and seeing Mr. Bush at his desk in the Oval Office, reading a daily devotional. I remember the look of sorrow on his face as he signed letters to the families of the fallen. When he met with recovering addicts whose lives were transformed by a faith-based program, he spoke plainly of his own humiliating journey years ago with alcohol. When a Liberian refugee broke into tears after recounting her escape to freedom in America, the president went over and held and comforted her.
Little acts behind the curtain like these inspired intense loyalty by staff members. They spoke of someone never too busy or burdened to care -- like when he took time on Air Force One to call my wife when she was sick. The president's true character rendered his media image pure caricature.
There is reason to give the man a break. Liberals would do well to wish President Obama better treatment than that afforded President Bush. He has made his mistakes, but he has served his country in a difficult time.

09 November 2008

Argentina's Bad Example

This is old news by now, but I hadn't been able to talk about it yet. Argentina's government has seized private pension funds. In the economic realm Argentina is a "bad actor." The supposed rationale for the seizure was relayed by Mary Anastasia O'Grady, who also provides a needed reality check:
Mrs. Kirchner defended her decision to seize the pension assets by asserting that the market is too risky for retirement savings, and that the returns earned by private-sector fund managers are not adequate.
That's quite a claim considering that the average annual return of Argentina's private-sector pension managers over the past 14 years is 13.9%. But it is even more absurd if one compares the private-sector returns to those of the government's pay-as-you-go social security system over four decades.
I hope we take this action as a warning and zealously guard our property rights, lest we one day find ourselves in this predicament.

08 November 2008


Michael Crichton passed away this week. I've always been a fan of his fiction, ever since reading Jurassic Park in 1991 or 1992. His most controversial work was State of Fear, scathing critique of global warming alarmism.

The Wall Street Journal reproduced a speech by Crichton from 2003:

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.
Let's be clear: The work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.
There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period. . . .

I read State of Fear and thought it a fantastic expose. Crichton's books were often popcorn fiction, but they also contained a message worth remembering. As this Wall Street Journal editorial explains:

A medical doctor by training, Crichton knew better than to treat scientists and technologists as a priestly class, immune from temptations of fame, profit or power.

Awesome Video Saturday LXIV

You must watch this video. I don't know that I could accurately describe it:

Initially it wasn't clear, but now I understand that the guy is only lip-syncing. I was quite disappointed when I realized.

05 November 2008

FDR- Hero or Goat?

As Obama contemplates solutions for the economic problems we face, he would do well to consider this study from UCLA economists that concludes that Franklin Delano Roosevelt's economic policies may have actually prolonged the Great Depression by as much as ten years:

"President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services," said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. "So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies."
Using data collected in 1929 by the Conference Board and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Cole and Ohanian were able to establish average wages and prices across a range of industries just prior to the Depression. By adjusting for annual increases in productivity, they were able to use the 1929 benchmark to figure out what prices and wages would have been during every year of the Depression had Roosevelt's policies not gone into effect. They then compared those figures with actual prices and wages as reflected in the Conference Board data.
In the three years following the implementation of Roosevelt's policies, wages in 11 key industries averaged 25 percent higher than they otherwise would have done, the economists calculate. But unemployment was also 25 percent higher than it should have been, given gains in productivity.
Meanwhile, prices across 19 industries averaged 23 percent above where they should have been, given the state of the economy. With goods and services that much harder for consumers to afford, demand stalled and the gross national product floundered at 27 percent below where it otherwise might have been.
"High wages and high prices in an economic slump run contrary to everything we know about market forces in economic downturns," Ohanian said. "As we've seen in the past several years, salaries and prices fall when unemployment is high. By artificially inflating both, the New Deal policies short-circuited the market's self-correcting forces."
It's an interesting conclusion, but hardly a new one- let the market work.

Another Reason to Smile

From Power Line:

One should never say "never" in politics. However, Barack Obama's victory almost certainly means that neither Hillary Clinton nor Al Gore will ever be president of the United States

04 November 2008

Reason to Smile

As a Republican I can't help but be disappointed by the outcome of tonight's election. I'm listening to John McCain deliver a classy concession speech. He did a nice job of addressing the significance of Obama's win. This is one of the best speeches I've heard him give during the whole campaign.

A concession speech should leave the losing party just as proud of their nation as they would have been had they won. "Believe in the promise and greatness of America."

A key line- "offer our next president our good will." I can and will do this. This is not to say I will give on those significant and key areas where I disagree with our President-elect. I can and will give him my goodwill.

If you haven't heard his speech, google the transcript. It is a model for graceful concessions. I am very happy to have supported Senator John McCain.

On a related note, there was an earlier shot of a tearful Jesse Jackson awaiting the big celebration in Grant Park in Chicago. In spite of strong personal feelings about his character, I am happy for him.

SPOTD #144

¡Feliz dia de las elecciones! I hope everyone had smooth voting experiences. A few weeks ago my friend was made a citizen. He voted in his first election and it reminds me of the importance of our electoral system, one lacking in Cuba, the country of my mother's birth. We are blessed in this country to have free and fair elections (notwithstanding the occasional mishaps) and I hope we take a minute to consider how important that is.

Today's phrase:
Make sure you have this one memorized before the 2010 midterm elections.

El derecho de votar es muy importante

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable:
Ell day-ray-cho day voe-tar ess moy eem-pore-tahn-tay.

The right to vote is very important.

More than Beer
This review of a Samuel Adams biography was very interesting, and is a book I'll need to pick up. Unlike many of the other Founding Fathers, few of his writings survived due to his desire to

The only way to fly
Nice way to go if you can get it. I wonder how many carbon offsets you'd need for that one?

Link of the Day
Looks like I should have voted for this guy instead:

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Where Voters "Matter"

In today's WSJ, Gerald Seib writes:

The most exhilarating campaign of our time has come to an end, and some 130 million Americans now will put the exclamation point at the end of that sentence by casting votes. Each of those votes is equal, of course, but some are more equal than others.
That is, some votes have more strategic significance. They will determine whether Sen. John McCain can pull off a surprise, or whether Sen. Barack Obama wins by a small margin or with a mandate.

His piece is a nice, concise look at the states that may determine the election.

03 November 2008

The Case for Security (The Case for McCain)

As Frederick Kagan observed in last week's Wall Street Journal, there is real danger that current economic difficulties cause Americans to ignore the importance of the national security issue:

When Franklin Roosevelt replaced Herbert Hoover in the White House, the country's economy was in shambles but its security was not threatened. No American forces were engaged in significant military conflict; America faced no threats. The U.S. was largely disarmed militarily and disengaged internationally.
Yet within a decade, American territory had been attacked for the first time in 130 years, a massive rearmament program was underway, and the U.S. was fighting a desperate struggle that spanned the globe and ultimately cost the lives of nearly half a million American service members. The seeds of that global conflict, unimaginable in 1933 given the relative weakness of Germany and Japan, were planted in the first years of the Roosevelt administration as FDR focused on the American economy.
Obama's more conciliatory foreign policy gives me pause. I have little concern for the opinion of other nations, except as it limits our options in defending our homeland. Is it possible that we should try to improve strained relationships? Of course, but never at the expense of our own security.

What threats will our next president face? Kagan illuminates:
It is important to note here the distinction between an enemy and a threat. Threats are problems to be concerned about in the future; enemies are organizations trying to kill Americans right now. Al Qaeda and Iranian agents are both killing Americans on a regular basis and have proclaimed their determination to kill more. They are enemies, not threats, and they will confront the next president from day one.
There are threats too, such as Pakistan's instability, combined with its inability and unwillingness to confront the al Qaeda safe havens on its territory. The growth of al Qaeda organizations in Algeria and Somalia poses another. Russian adventurism on the borders of states to which the U.S. has already given security guarantees is still another. The dangers of nuclear proliferation if the North Korean regime collapses -- or if it does not -- are still another.
Lastly, the next president will almost certainly face Iran's arrival at the threshold of nuclear-weapons capability. This, combined with Iran's efforts to develop long-range (and ultimately intercontinental) ballistic missiles and its global terrorist networks, is a threat to America's allies and to Americans at home.
It's the last piece of the puzzle. Is it more important than the economy? I'm not sure, but it remains critical. Whoever gets the job, good luck to them, and us.

01 November 2008

Today in Sports

Today has been a great day in college football. I've just watched Texas Tech's thrilling win over #1 ranked Texas. I love college football.

We'll start with my alma mater, Brigham Young. All I really know is that they won. Not having the MTN network I'm forced to rely on el Internet. Now, for the second week in a row, the game is much, much closer than I would like. But they won, Dennis Pitta is the man. Now Utah has to beat TCU and we have to beat Utah. Beyond that I don't know how they would break the tie, but Go Cougs!

I was able to watch the Miami Hurricanes play Virginia. This was an exciting game, because despite many, many Miami mistakes they were able to tie the game and win in thrilling fashion. After scoring on their first overtime posession, Lovon Ponder stripped the ball from Virginia's running back and that was the game.

Florida exacted revenge on Georgia, in the only way that really matters, on the field. Tim Tebow is some kind of player. Since losing to Ole Miss Florida has been extremely impressive. This speech, given by Tebow after the loss, was quite the statement and he has backed it up. This is an interesting look at how the game went down. Also, I read this brief preview yesterday about the game and meant to blog about how I thought the guy was wrong. You'll just have to trust me on that one.

Awesome Video Saturday LXIII

Today I have a video of Joseph with his monster truck costume. I made it for him and I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

I also thought this trailer for the next Harry Potter film was pretty cool:

And finally, because yesterday was Halloween, check out this creepy old ad for dolls.

30 October 2008

My Case against Obama

I haven't been blogging lately, but it seems like every day I seem something that I'd like to blog about. This post is a very long one, and I will also publish it at In Rare Form. I hope you find it helpful:

1. The Courts
In yesterday's Wall Street Journal, law professor Steven Calabresi looks at how Obama's legal philosophy would impact the Federal Court system. What kind of judges would he choose? A speech to Planned Parenthood provides the answer:
"[W]e need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges."
Under Obama, if empathy becomes a key component in selecting judges, rather than an understanding of the law and a consistent legal philosophy, it is reason for concern. As Calabresi writes, the courts are not right-wing at this time, despite liberal rhetoric to the contrary. The ineffectiveness of the Bush administration and Republican congressional faction at confirming judicial nominees over the past 8 years makes the existing balance precarious.

2. Taxes
   Several good people I'm acquainted with have correctly pointed out that both McCain and Obama support progressive tax systems. I'm not a fan, but in the absence of a viable alternative I'll take the lesser of two evils.
   I think Obama's plan is more progressive (liberal for redistributionist) than is good for the country. We already put the highest burden of any developed nation IN THE WORLD on our high income earners. Obama's plan will make that worse.
Mr. Obama would roll back the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for taxpayers in the top two brackets, raising the top two marginal rates of income tax to 36% and 39.6% from 33% and 35%. The 33% rate begins to hit this year at incomes of $164,550 for an individual and $200,300 for joint filers. Mr. Obama claims no "working families" earning less than $250,000 would pay more in taxes, but that's because he defines income more broadly than the taxable income line on the IRS form. If you're an individual with taxable income of $164,550, you will pay more taxes.
No me gusta. Here's more:
Mr. Obama's most dramatic departure from current tax policy is his promise to lift the cap on income on which the Social Security payroll tax is applied. Currently, the employer and employee each pay 6.2% up to $102,000, a level that is raised for inflation each year. The Obama campaign says he'd raise the payroll tax rate on incomes above $250,000 by as much as two to four percentage points -- though it's unclear if that higher rate would apply to the employee, the employer, or both.
In any case, lifting the cap would change the nature of Social Security from an insurance program -- which pays out based on how much you paid in -- into a wealth-transfer program that is far more progressive.
Taken together, these add up to about a 10-percentage-point hike in marginal tax rates for those making more than $250,000 a year, including millions of small businesses that pay taxes at individual rates. The "marginal" rate refers to the rate paid on the next dollar of income, and it has an especially strong influence on decisions to work and invest.
   His plan also is likely unsustainable, as has been addressed by numerous sources, including the Associated Press. To accomplish what he wants to do he will either have to scale back his plan or increase taxes. 
3. Trade
As I have mentioned on this blog several times (at least 6: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), Democrats have blocked several free trade agreements, with the Colombian agreement receiving particular attention. As this WSJ piece explains, Obama and McCain differ greatly on trade:
Mr. Obama opposes the Colombia and South Korea agreements, for the same reasons cited by other Congressional Democrats. In the last presidential debate, Mr. Obama pointed to violence in Colombia against labor unions. The politically independent Colombian attorney general says violence against union members has come down sharply under President Alvaro Uribe, but Mr. Obama says that's insufficient.
He also opposes the South Korea pact, which would remove auto tariffs in both directions and end South Korea's use of nontariff barriers to protect its domestic markets. Mr. Obama says the U.S. buys "hundreds of thousands of cars" from South Korea and "we can get only 4,000-5,000 into South Korea." The Democrat wants assurances that the imbalance in auto sales will end. The Obama campaign declined to tell us whether he supports the Panama FTA or trade negotiating authority.
I don't think he understands the "free" part of free trade. That means goods move freely, based on demand. If we make a car they like, they will buy. Is he suggesting a quota of some sort? That would defeat the purpose, wouldn't it?
   Our partners in other countries will have also noticed Obama's more protectionist bent, as illustrated by this writing from the Times of India. Obama would like to accede to bad trade legislation, which will likely come from a Democrat-controlled Congress riding the anti-trade sentiment boosting many democratic candidates.
   Related to trade is the Union issue, and Obama's support for removing secret-ballot requirements to Union organizing is highly objectionable to me, as well as some other initiatives that limits individual freedom in favor of organized labor.

4. Forthrightness & Consistency
   On Ayers, Wright, and others Obama has been at times cagey, defensive and indirect. I'm not comfortable with his unwillingness to more clearly address these relationships. It just makes me uncomfortable.

5. Change?
   Obama is not the transformational politician that he has been portrayed as. Pledging to run a different kind of campaign, one of his first acts as the parties official nominee was to break his promise to accept public financing. CNN's Campbell Brown opines:
Without question, Obama has set the bar at new height with a truly staggering sum of cash. And that is why as we approach this November, it is worth reminding ourselves what Barack Obama said last November.
One year ago, he made a promise. He pledged to accept public financing and to work with the Republican nominee to ensure that they both operated within those limits.
Then it became clear to Sen. Obama and his campaign that he was going to be able to raise on his own far more cash than he would get with public financing. So Obama went back on his word.
Mark Steyn looks at the Obama money phenomenon and has this to say.
This is an amazing race. The incumbent president has approval ratings somewhere between Robert Mugabe and the ebola virus. The economy is supposedly on the brink of global Armageddon. McCain has only $80 million to spend, while Obama's burning through $600 mil as fast as he can, and he doesn't really need to spend a dime given the wall-to-wall media adoration... And yet an old cranky broke loser is within two or three points of the King of the World. Strange.
Strange? Perhaps the most significant fact ignored in the face of an Obama win may be the impressive number of Americans that don't vote for him.
   There is also the illusion of Obama's positive campaign. Most people get the warm fuzzies from positive ads. Nonetheless, most political advisors would say that you get more mileage from negative ads. Given the money discrepancy, the McCain campaign has been unable to spend as much on ads, period, much less on positive ones like the one run by Obama last night.

6. Intangibles
 This is a fantastic article from today's Wall Street Journal by Fouad Ajami, professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, and an adjunct research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. It is worthy of your time, and I don't think excerpting really does it justice, but here's a little:
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the late Democratic senator from New York, once set the difference between American capitalism and the older European version by observing that America was the party of liberty, whereas Europe was the party of equality. Just in the nick of time for the Obama candidacy, the American faith in liberty began to crack. The preachers of America's decline in the global pecking order had added to the panic. Our best days were behind us, the declinists prophesied. The sun was setting on our imperium, and rising in other lands.
A younger man, "cool" and collected, carrying within his own biography the strands of the world beyond America's shores, was put forth as a herald of the change upon us. The crowd would risk the experiment. There was grudge and a desire for retribution in the crowd to begin with. Akin to the passions that have shaped and driven highly polarized societies, this election has at its core a desire to settle the unfinished account of the presidential election eight years ago. George W. Bush's presidency remained, for his countless critics and detractors, a tale of usurpation. He had gotten what was not his due; more galling still, he had been bold and unabashed, and taken his time at the helm as an opportunity to assert an ambitious doctrine of American power abroad. He had waged a war of choice in Iraq.
It's strong writing, and I think it captures the Obamenon quite well.
   On a sillier note, you can watch Obama's theme song here.

This what has moved me this election.

18 October 2008

Awesome Video Saturday LXII

This may be a little disturbing to some, but seeing as my sister and sister-in-law will both be having babies within the next 2 months, I thought it appropriate.


14 October 2008

Perspective on the Hegemon

Today's column by Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal provides perspective on the financial crisis' impact on American dominance:

Constantinople fell to the Ottomans after two centuries of retreat and decline. It took two world wars, a global depression and the onset of the Cold War to lay the British Empire low.
So it's a safe bet that the era of American dominance will not be brought to a close by credit default swaps, mark-to-market accounting or (even) Barney Frank.
Not that there's a shortage of invitations to believe otherwise. Almost in unison, Germany's finance minister, Russia's prime minister and Iran's president predict the end of U.S. "hegemony," financial and/or otherwise. The New York Times weighs in with meditations on "A Power That May Not Stay So Super." Der Spiegel gives us "The End of Hubris." Guardian columnist John Gray sees "A Shattering Moment in America's Fall From Power."
Much of this is said, or written, with ill-disguised glee. But when the tide laps at Gulliver's waistline, it usually means the Lilliputians are already 10 feet under. Before yesterday's surge, the Dow had dropped 25% in three months. But that only means it had outperformed nearly every single major foreign stock exchange, including Germany's XETRADAX (down 28%) China's Shanghai exchange (down 30%), Japan's NIKK225 (down 37%), Brazil's BOVESPA (down 41%) and Russia RTSI (down 61%). These contrasts are a useful demonstration that America's financial woes are nobody else's gain.
I am an unabashed believer in American exceptionalism. Americans take for granted the robustness of our political and economic system. Read more to see why we need not give up our place on top.

Why Krugman Matters

I am always happy when I find out that my assessment of a person has missed something positive about them. For years I've thought Paul Krugman was a tremendous windbag. Mostly he is, but I had ignored whatever he had done before becoming one of the most irritating voices on the New York Times editorial pages.

He just won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on trade. Read this article to understand the positive impact he's had on economic thought.

He's still annoying, but for this free-market guy I'm happy to see that his role has not been altogether negative (at least prior to the early '90's).

11 October 2008

Awesome Video Saturday LXI

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

01 October 2008

Do-Nothing Dems

The Do-Nothing Democrats continue an impressive streak by failing to act on a bilateral trade agreement with Colombia:

That's right. Colombia will still be able to export its goods here without tariffs through 2009, but American exporters will continue to face high barriers in Colombia that the free-trade deal would reduce. So the same "fair trade" crowd that bemoans the U.S. trade deficit wants to have only one-way free trade with Latin America -- free for them to sell to us, but not for us to sell to them. Has anyone told the UAW about all those Caterpillar machinery exports to Colombia that Democrats are blocking?
Colombia is also the only one of the Andean nations that really deserves these trade preferences. The Bush Administration is proposing to remove Bolivia from the list because it isn't cooperating on coca eradication. Ecuador is still on the list, though it is abusing property rights and is attempting a dubious legal raid on Chevron. Peru already has a trade deal with the U.S.
Colombia is our best ally in the region, as well as a democracy with a market economy in a region threatened by Venezuela strongman Hugo Chavez and his ideology. Colombia doesn't need preferential, one-way trade that treats that country like a mere low-wage exporter; it needs a permanent two-way trade agreement that will help transform its economy and let it join the ranks of the world's tiger economies. But that makes too much sense for Mrs. Pelosi's House.

It is shameful that this issue continues to confront us.

SPOTD #143

Most of the links here are old. Been far too long, but I've been superocupado. Just getting back on track. As always, the blog is more current.

Today's phrase:
I'm in Arizona, hence the phrase.

Hace calor en Arizona, aún en octubre.

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable:
Ah-say cah-lore enn Ah-ree-zone-ah, ah-oon enn oak-too-bray,

It's hot in Arizona, even in October.

The Mother of all Hot Dogs
It is something to behold. I would make sure you have life insurance coverage first.

Hell on Earth?
It's in California. WAIT. Don't get mad Cali friends. Read the story for more.

Usable JetPack
It's too bad my birthday has passed, because I could really use one of these.
This is one fantastic automobile.

I was at Wal-Mart a while ago and saw that Hasbro has re-released many of the GI Joe action figures that I grew up with. It was a serious nostalgia shot. That was my favorite show as a kid. It took some resistance to keep from picking something up.

Link of the Day

Scary appliances and home goods galore.

29 September 2008

Envy the country that has heroes, huh? I say pity the country that needs them.

As I wrote these past two posts I was watching 2002's Reign of Fire.

I love this movie.

Thoughts on the Bailout

I don't love it. It makes me uncomfortable. It is a great deal of money- our money.

But I'm not sure that there is a viable alternative. To let it all unfold without any intervention might do more damage to the system than it can withstand.

I don't want to get into it too much. Still, here is a helpful look at how the legislation looks now (as of this morning).

28 September 2008

Turf Turmoil

Miami lost on a last-second touchdown. The Gators lost on a blocked extra point. USC lost to middle-of-the-pack Oregon State. Georgia lost to a resurgent Alabama. Wisconsin lost to Michigan. Quite the weekend.

The best part? Idle BYU climbed to #7 in the Coaches poll and #8 in the AP! To be in this position so early in the season is unprecedented in the BCS era. Stewart Mandel in SI.com posits that this could possibly lead to BYU appearing in the championship game:

It's time to face a once-unimaginable reality: An undefeated non-BCS team could, for the first time, play for the BCS championship.
No previous party-crasher has received even cursory consideration for the title game, the assumption being that even an undefeated Mountain West or WAC team does not have the same credentials as a one-loss team from one of the major conferences. But no previous such team has ever risen this high, this fast, either. Five weeks into the 2004 season, undefeated Utah was 11th in the polls. On Oct. 1, 2006, Boise State hadn't yet made it out of the 20s. Hawaii was 18th when the first BCS standings were released on Oct. 14 last season.
Mandel also points out how BYU could miss out on this scenario. I have to think that will be the more likely outcome. Right now they need to run the table and put the hurt on the Utes. I'll be happy with that.

27 September 2008

Awesome Video Saturday LX

This is awesome.

26 September 2008

Crisis Averted

No, not the financial kind- the travel kind.

We were scheduled to leave on a flight from Gainesville at 7 am. Rules say you have to be there 30 minutes in advance to check bags. We were checking 5. The airport is 30 minutes from our home.

We woke up at 5:45.

As we do the math we realize that we have to get up, get dressed, get the kids up and get in the car (not yet packed) in 15 minutes if we want even a chance to make our flight.

15 minutes.

2 kids. 5 bags. 2 frazzled parents. 15 minutes.

I'm in Atlanta, so the short answer is that we made it. It ws a bag-hauling, kid-dragging, prayer-giving, speed-limit exceeding melee that got us to the Gainesville Regional Airport at 6:29 (!!!) and to the counter just moments before the cutoff.

15 minutes later we were in our seats. Now we are waiting in Atlanta for our 10:50 flight to Phoenix.

Now it is 4 hours on a plane with a 3 year old and an 18 month old. After this morning? Piece of cake.

23 September 2008

More on Castro's machinations

Mary Anastasia O'Grady breaks it down.

Aid has already arrived from allies like Russia and Spain, but none has the vast relief resources the nearby U.S. can muster. However, Fidel wants lines of credit from the U.S. that will help him hold onto power, and without that he says, Yankees go home.
This is largely bravado posturing for Cubans. The U.S. government is giving $1.65 million to nongovernmental organizations working in the disaster areas, and has authorized more than $5 million in private NGO donations; that total could go to $10 million. None of this is out of the ordinary. Americans are the single largest humanitarian providers to Cuba; in 2007, private donations totaled $240 million.
Fidel doesn't want the U.S. getting credit for stepping up to help. But that's not his only problem with the status quo. More urgent for him is that relief efforts come from the regime, which, when not engaged in such kind-hearted work, is busy torturing political prisoners. To wield that kind of power he needs to borrow money, which he is not likely to pay back. Americans have shown that they are ready to help hurricane victims, but loans that will prolong the power of a despotic and incompetent regime is no way to relieve Cuban misery.

20 September 2008

Awesome Video Saturday LIX

This is a pretty funny video, and had to have taken them quite a while to make. Makes me want to have a Nerf war.

19 September 2008

Pump it out Chief!

Frank Mundus was a true man of the sea, the rumored inspiration for Jaws' Captain Quint. In Mundus' own words:

Everything he wrote was true, except I didn’t get eaten by the big shark. I dragged him in.

Read this New York Times obituary for more information about this very colorful figure.

Cuba's Katrina?

This is a round-up of info regarding the situation in Cuba after the multiple storms that have hit the island:

  • Castro is playing games with foreign aid, as this Investor's Business Daily editorial illustrates.
  • Babalu highlights the experience of a British couple that was vacationing on the island during Ike:
    COUPLE from Knutsford were barricaded in a Cuban hotel restaurant for nine hours after a hurricane hit their holiday resort.
    Nic Casey and Paul Dootson also had to manage on food rations and without running water as the island of Cayo Coco was cut off from the mainland in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike last week.
    For four days she was unable to contact her family to let them know she was safe.
    She described how she had caught snippets about an imminent hurricane on Spanish-speaking news channels before official word came from the hotel. “We’d been out on the beach and we came back to the room to get ready for dinner and a computer print-out had been put under the door saying a hurricane was coming,” she said.
    “It said we should go to dinner as normal and not have anything to drink and then to go back to our rooms.”
    . . .
    “We were not happy with the way they treated us,” said Nic, who landed at Manchester Airport on Sunday.
Nothing like the communist paradise.

16 September 2008

La Ciudadanía (Citizenship)

Today one of my best friends, Walmir Da Costa, becomes a U.S. citizen. He was born in Brasil, lived in Venezuela, and has been in the states for the last 15 years. Although he may never root for US soccer more fervently than he does for Brasil's team, I know he is excited about this event, and we're excited for him.

I was able to attend the swearing in. It was a small group, nine people,  but also a very diverse one. It was exciting for these folks to reach this point. The folks at the Immigration office gave everyone a packet which includes voter registration forms. 
It is a credit to our country that the right to vote is only for citizens. This was a group which will likely embrace this right. That's good for America.

I thought this video from Craig Ferguson was appropriate. Ferguson also recently became a citizen and is pretty excited about the right to vote. It's a long monologue.

13 September 2008

Awesome Video Saturday LVIII

Love it? Or hate it?

12 September 2008

Finish Him!

Eric Snider has started a weekly column where he reviews bad movies. This week's subject is certainly one of the worst films to ever have a major release, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. An excerpt:

Meanwhile, Liu Kang has to rescue Kitana, who got kidnapped by the Outworlders back when they were fighting Scorpion. Did I forget to tell you that? My bad. He's told to search for a man called Night Wolf, and Night Wolf will help him. So Liu Kang is in the desert, searching, and it's nighttime, and a guy who seems to be half-man and half-wolf jumps him, and Liu Kang says, "Who are you?," even though it's obviously Night Wolf. I mean, who else would it be? Night Wolf replies, "Wouldn't you like to know?" Then Liu Kang says, "If you ARE Night Wolf, then--" and I couldn't hear the rest because my brain was exploding.
Good stuff.


I'm sorry that I didn't post about 9/11. I couldn't think of anything that converyed accurately my feelings about that day, so I let it slip by.

But I'll never forget.

10 September 2008

Return of the Lance!

The Sports World has received great news with the announcement that Lance Armstrong intends to compete in the next Tour de France and attempt to win it for the 8th time.

Armstrong's purpose is to raise awareness of worldwide cancer issues, but you also have to beleive that this is also a guy that loves to win. It's tough to give that up.

I think this is great news. Check out this article from SI for more.

07 September 2008


I've written a completely, 100% serious post on the tyranny of the minority at In Rare Form.

Worth your time. I promise.

Miami v. UF thoughts: 1 Day Later

I'm still okay with yesterday's game. Miami played hard, clean, and came so close. That's the part that gets me a little bit disappointed with the outcome. We were so close to giving the Gators an absolutely soul-crushing upset loss.

This year it was not meant to be. After 6 straight wins previous to yesterday's game I've decided that you can't be greedy.

Some quick hits:
Now I'll have to listen to the fans here until 2013. Hopefully we can add another ring before then.

When Losing is Winning

I've never felt so good about my team losing than I did as I walked from the Swamp tonight. Miami came into Gainesville as 21 point underdogs and held their own with a solid Florida team for 3 quarters. The defense should me just what I would want to see from some young talented players and the offense gives me reason to be optimistic. They are clearly a program moving in the right direction.

It also helps that BYU won a close one, because I really don't like it when they both lose on the same day. Disaster averted.

06 September 2008

Awesome Video Saturday LVII

Lacy and I saw this fantastic group, HAPA, last week. They blend old Hawaiian culture with more contemporary music. It is fantastic. This is one sample. I actually like a lot of their original stuff better than this, but this was the best video I could find.

05 September 2008

Pixar's Perfection

My friend Jake works for Pixar. He sent me this link for an article written by Ed Catmull, Pixar's president. Catmull talks about how their peer-driven process helps them be so successful. His contention is that good people are the most important part of their process, even more than finding the right story. I like what he has to say.

It's a longer article, but a great read.

04 September 2008

Football, Football, Football

Tonight is the start of the pro football season and also begins the 2nd week of the college football season.

My most anticipated weekend activity will be when Miami comes to Gainesville to play the Gators. I will be attending the game (where Miami is a 21 point underdog) but I am excited to see the Canes in my now-hometown. I think they will put in a solid performance, though I can't in sound mind predict a win. You never know. I am happy to see them in fighting spirit, although these words will surely be used against them if they fail.

My alma mater faces Washington this Saturday. It will be our chance to beat a non-conference team at their stadium during the regular season for the first time since 2002. This very important if BYU is to succeed in its "Quest for Perfection." Last week they had some trouble with a far inferior team. Hopefull the week 1 problems have been addressed.

Tonight's NFL game is the Giants versus the Redskins. I don't particularly care about either team, but I was proven wrong in my earlier predictions of Eli's failure as a quarterback. Even if he has a mediocre season, he has a ring and did what he had to when it counted.

My cousin-in-law J.R. Reed plays safety for the Eagles. He is a nice guy and has not had an easy road in his football career:

During the 2005 off-season, Reed was chasing his dog, tried to hurdle a fence, and ended up tearing the peroneal nerve in his left foot. A person with drop foot cannot lift the foot, and Reed has little or no feeling on the side of his left leg as well. Neither condition bodes well for an athlete.
"The doctors told me I would never play again," he said. "I kind of invented a brace. It took me two years to get used to it, but now I just play football. I was determined to play. It came down to hard work and believing in yourself when no one else did."

He is playing and I hope he has a chance to shine this year.

Good luck to the Canes, Cougs, and J.R.!

03 September 2008

Taking a Pbutt on Politics

Because we're getting to the point in the political season when I find it hard to blog about anything other than the election, and I want to do something different, here is a great article about the trouble with some anti-obscenity filters on computer programs:

The phenomena, known as “The Clbuttic Mistake” after a mangling of the word “classic” that is believed to be the first identified instance of the problem, can be found on tens of thousands of websites.

The error is caused by poorly programmed anti-obscenity filters – similar to spell checkers – that automatically replace words considered rude or offensive with more acceptable variants.
Follow the link for more.

01 September 2008

Whither the bias?

CNN, that's whither!

You may have heard about this little video clip, where a former Chair of the Democratic National Committee is heard making the following comments about Hurricane Gustav's imminent "attack" on New Orleans:
The hurricane is going to hit New Orleans about the time they start. The timing is, at least it appears now, it will be there Monday. That just demonstrates God is on our side,” Fowler said, while laughing. Fowler also told Spratt that “everything’s cool.”
This post is about the way that this is being portrayed by the two major cable news networks, CNN and FoxNews. CNN's Headline:

Dem apologizes for joking about hurricane


Do you see the distinction? CNN makes the assumption in the headline that the individual in question was just joking. That is not clear on the video. The FoxNews headline makes no such assumption. There is an important difference here.

Can you imagine a Republican making such a comment, suggesting political gain from a natural disaster? Surely such conversations have taken place, but the treatment by the media would surely be different.