31 July 2008

Quake (AweVidSat bonus)

Lacy and I are always talking about which state is more dangerous to live in- Florida or California? Obviously I point to earthquakes and she to hurricanes. Since there was recently a quake in Southern Cal I thought I would post some funny videos (one new, one old) of what happens when a quake hits).

This was during a taping of Judge Judy:

This is a hilarious bit from an old episode of David Letterman. That second anchor clearly is the inspiration for Ron Burgundy:

29 July 2008

Obama Taxarama

Sorry about the title, but I couldn't resist.

This is the most comprehensive review of the impact of Obama's economic policy that I've read. As Mr. Boskin points out, this is not change we need.

Missionary Football

This is a good article from the Miami Herald about the LDS missionary service of 4 current Miami Dolphins. The most notable of the four is John Beck, 2nd year quarterback. Beck had a bad year last year, but sums up how his missionary experience had prepared him:

I always say when you're on the mission, you have to face a lot of rejection. A lot of people don't want to talk to you. When you walk down the streets, people throw stuff at you, they cuss at you. Where I was at in Portugal, some people liked to swerve their cars in front of us, kind of joke around like, `I'm going to hit you.' Ridicule, all that kind of stuff, it was just normal, you just had to work through it.
Let's take that into last year where a lot of things were going bad for us. It was tough, but we had to just keep on working kind of with the goal in mind that even though it's tough, we're going to keep working and things will be good. That's kind of how it is on a mission.
You'll sometimes work, work, work, work, day after day after day, tons of rejection, tons of rejection, then you find one person who really does want to talk to you, who it really does matter to, that makes it all worth it. For me, last year was a tough year, but I'm still working, I've still got my nose to the grinder, because this year could be good, and it'll all be worth it.
This year will be good, and it'll all be worth it.

I hope so.

27 July 2008

¡Tres años!

Brand New
6 months or so.
Almost a year
Two years
Two weeks ago.

This little guy makes my day, every day. Happy Birthday Joseph!

24 July 2008

Tourist or Expert?

Does Obama's trip to Europe and the Middle East/Afghanistan give him credibility in foreign policy? In today's Wall Street Journal Richard Allen makes a case against that idea.

What's very telling to me is the way that Allen describes the pre-presidential visits abroad made by previous presidents-to-be. He uses the word "quietly." There is nothing quiet about Obama's trip, nothing subtle. Other than the political imagery which is useful in the campaign context there is no real strategic value to a trip that puts a front-running candidate out in front, exposing him as a man with no secrets.

In foreign policy secrecy has its benefits, even with our allies. I don't think Obama realizes this, but that just illustrates naivete. In the interest of international cooperation and goodwill Obama is giving the world a sense for who he is. Unfortunately it may ultimately be at the expense of our own best interests

23 July 2008

Getting better all the time

From a London Times article on the situation in Basra, Iraq:

There is an interesting piece of graffiti on a bridge near Basra. A fleeing militiaman has scrawled “We'll be back”; underneath an Iraqi soldier has scribbled in reply “And we'll be waiting for you”.

Read the article for more on the success of the war effort in that formerly embattled city.


I put some pics of family time at the beach over at Lacy's blog.

22 July 2008

The Dark Knight

I give this film my strongest possible recommendation. Outstanding, riveting, devastating yet inspiring.

I may add more later.

20 July 2008

It's no gas

In yet more proof that our lawmakers lack basic understanding of economics they are considering a fuel tax increase. This is their reasoning:

Just three years ago, that trust fund enjoyed a surplus of $10 billion. Even without a tax freeze, the fund is projected to finish 2009 with a deficit of $3 billion. That could grow as Americans drive less and buy less gas because of higher pump prices.

I don't disagree with the need to fund our infrastructure. I do wonder why lawmakers think that adding a fuel tax, at this point in time, will help increase receipts. Classic Washington thinking.

19 July 2008

Castillos (Castles)

I have a habit of building sand castles whenever I am in Marco Island, FL. The sand there is perfect. I blogged about last year's effort, and this year I have had two that I am pleased with.

This one was made my first stretch here. A simpler design. I favor a deep moat.

It's fun to build a tunnel into the large center mass.

This is #2. Wall on the inside of the moat (more logical). You can't see in the pic, but there is a dead crab on top. We had a huge storm, he didn't make it, so now he adorns the top (or did until it rained today).

The above castle actually survived overnight, so I added the taller "keep" and connected castle in front. Overnight someone had ringed it with shells. It was a nice touch and may have kept it from being destroyed by passersby.
Joseph and Millie are playing in a ramp I dug out for Joseph's monster trucks.

I dug out this bridge for the forward part. I was inspired by some stuff Walmir and I did for Joseph's trucks last week. I don't have a good pic of it though. I had a much bigger sand bridge for the first castle, but went too deep and the sinkhole effect claimed it.

This is a view of the village I added to the side of the castle. Many castles had villages surrounded by a smaller city wall. If trouble came people would flee to the more secure castle.

This is a closer view of the village. There is a road, a stream with a small brige over it, and a portcullis of sorts to protect the town.

A different view of the same.

Perhaps when I get back next week I will better the design. I wanted to add a port to it, but an early afternoon rainstorm has reclaimed it (I think).

Yes, I am a sand castle nerd.

Awesome Video Saturday XXXXXI

2 Music videos today:

As Feist shows on her Sesame Street appearance, learning can be cool for grown-ups:

This is pretty sweet. A music video without cameras, from Radiohead of course:

This video below explains how they did it:

14 July 2008

Tony Snow

He was well-known to people that follow politics, less so to others. He was a good man, a good conservative, and his death is a loss to all. Of course, it is his young family that will miss him most. It seems he lived a life that they could be proud of.

For a brief glimpse read this.

13 July 2008

Go for Broke

I attended the 99th Annual Rotary Convention in Los Angeles in the latter part of June. When I was there we were hosted by two local clubs, the Rotary Clubs of San Gabriel and Alhambra. They took us to the Japanese-American Museum and while there I became acquainted with several veterans of World War II. They were among the homogenous units of Japanese-Americans that served with tremendous distinction during that war. Their deeds were immortalized in film and there is an impressive monument near the museum. Both are located in Little Tokyo.

I enjoyed immensely my conversation with them and felt honored to know them, considering the tremendous good accomplished. To learn more about them visit the website of the Go For Broke National Education Center.

Micro-credit & the Poverty Industry

This article is from the WSJ and despite being 2 weeks old is worth your interest. Micro-credit is a phenomenon I've addressed before, and as a means of helping people leave poverty it has been extremely successful.

In Mexico its success has been threatening to some non-profits who business lives and dies on the continuance of poverty. Surely some charities would like nothing better than to close up for lack of need. Others feel threatened by models that render them obsolete.

This is a great example of the private sector filling a void and making it viable economically, independent of taking anyone's money but private investors. That is as it should be.

What the Iraqis say

This is an interesting article (a little old) talking about Iraqi expatriates and their estimation of the war effort and its impact on their country. I like their optimism.

Winning the War

It's happening.

12 July 2008

Awesome Video Saturday XXXXX

I like foreign commercials. This one is from Thailand, for lightbulbs.

05 July 2008

Ganando (Winning)

One of the reasons why I have supported ambitious (and imperfect) missions in Iraq and Afghanistan is that I believe we can win. It may take time, include some failure, but ultimately we will win.

The decades-long fight of the Colombian government against the Marxist FARC is an endeavor like that. For years the government has failed to make headway of any significance. Now, under the leadership of Uribe they have struck yet another blow against that terrorist organization with the rescue of hostages, including several Americans and the prominent Ingrid Betancourt (read details here).

In today's Wall Street Journal there is some commentary and details into how the operation worked and what role the U.S. played in it. On the latter subject here is an excerpt:

U.S. involvement in the mission underlines the close ties between Washington and Bogotá, the Bush administration's closest regional ally. Colombia is the third-biggest recipient of U.S. military aid behind Israel and Egypt, receiving some $5.4 billion in U.S. aid since 2000. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and President George. W. Bush speak regularly by telephone, Colombian officials say. Trust between both sides is so strong that Mr. Uribe told Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, who visited Colombia this week, about the mission on Tuesday night, the night before it took place.

Uribe has been insistent in his aggressive and militaristic action against the FARC. For years this was an unpopular approach with many other governments:

But things changed dramatically March 1, when the Colombian military killed the FARC's No. 2 man, Raul Reyes, in a bombing raid on his camp just across the border in Ecuador. Laptop computers that belonged to Mr. Reyes showed that Mr. Chávez and the FARC were using the negotiation process to try to gain international legitimacy for the rebels and force Mr. Uribe to call off his military offensive.
Emails in the laptops also revealed that the FARC had no intention of releasing either the three Americans or Ms. Betancourt, calling her their most valuable negotiating card. But in one dramatic stroke this week, the rescue mission won support for Mr. Uribe's get-tough approach.
"I have to recognize that the strong hand has prevailed," said human-rights activist Robert Menard, founder and secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders. "Our insistence on the need to negotiate with the FARC, hoping they would release their most valuable card, was foolish."
Governments from Havana to Caracas to Paris moved closer to backing Mr. Uribe's campaign against the FARC. In Cuba, retired dictator Fidel Castro on Thursday praised the Colombian action and said the hostages should never have been held to begin with. Such a "cruel" detention was not justified by any "revolutionary purpose," Mr. Castro said.

To have Castro say such a thing is remarkable. FARC has been left for dead, and dead they should be. I hope other terrorists are taking notes. This is an inspiring success.

Awesome Video Saturday XXXXIX

Andy Kaufman was a famous comedian in the 1970's and 1980's. His unusual form of comedy included appearances like this, where he was able to act out a character without people realizing it, the proto-Borat. Here he is on "The Dating Game:"

04 July 2008

SPOTD #141

This edition comes to you on a beautiful day in sunny Marco Island, Florida. Related news relates to the potential danger of wearing flip-flops too much.

Visit the blog for more interesting content.

Today's Phrase:
From Thomas Jefferson:

El Dios que nos dio la vida nos dio la libertad al mismo tiempo.

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable:
Ell Dyose kay nose dyo lah vee-dah nose dyo lah lee-bare-tahd all meese-moe tyem-poe.

The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.

We saw this movie last weekend, taking Joseph for his second time at the movies. It was great fun and a great film. My friend Jake (who works at Pixar) sent me this great article about the director Andrew Stanton. Stanton talks about how his beliefs influence his filmmaking, and about how what really matters is making a great story.

This is a cool set of pictures of airplanes that have been mothballed or decommissioned. King of haunting.

Jim McKay was a great, old-school broadcaster. He came from a time when broadcast journalism, especially sports broadcasting was still somewhat new and a sort of insurgent element. Now it is the fat cat, relatively lazy by comparison. This article is a view of a better time.

This is old news by now, but the Dolphins have been in a bit of a kerfuffle over the status of All-Pro defensive end Jason Taylor. This is Dave Barry's take on the situation

'08 & Taxes
This is what President Obama would mean for taxes.

You have a special opportunity to join the Dharma Initiative. Sign up at Octagon Recruiting for more information.

Link of the Day
Today in Baghdad more than 1,000 servicemen and women participated in the biggest reelistment ceremony in history, Follow the link for more, including video.