30 June 2009

Libertad y la Ley

Our president has made a grave error. From an Investors Business Daily Editorial:

During his campaign, President Obama made a big deal of criticizing leaders who are elected democratically but don't govern democratically. He's had a chance to show that it mattered in Honduras. He didn't...
There was a coup all right, but it wasn't committed by the U.S. or the Honduran court. It was committed by Zelaya himself. He brazenly defied the law, and Hondurans overwhelmingly supported his removal (a pro-Zelaya rally Monday drew a mere 200 acolytes).
Yet the U.S. administration stood with Chavez and Castro, calling Zelaya's lawful removal "a coup." Obama called the action a "terrible precedent," and said Zelaya remains president.
In doing this, the U.S. condemned democrats who stood up to save their democracy, a move that should have been hailed as a historic turning of the tide against the false democracies of the region.

What's worse is that we have persisted in this error for several days, an error made very quickly. By comparison it took the Obama administration days to say anything of substance about the upheaval in Iran.

To understand how Zelaya violated Honduran law, this piece by Mary Anastasia O'Grady is excellent.

Now the United Nations has sanctioned Honduras and other states (such as Venezuela) have threatened to overthrow the new government. We are complicit as long as we toe the same line that we have taken we put real democracy in Latin America in jeopardy.

27 June 2009

Awesome Video Saturday XCVII

This AweVidSat is a follow-up to this fine edition. More commercials from the same guys. The first one is my favorite (obviously). Thanks to Chris for the heads-up.

26 June 2009

SPOTD #155

As always, check out the blog for more and varied content.

Today's Phrase:
I've been very moved by the events in Iran. They have a long way to go before they can be said to enjoy liberty, but you have to feel a kinship with them.

Donde mora la libertad, allá está mi patria.

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable
Don-day more-ah lah lee-bare-tahd, ah-ya ess-tah mee pah-tree-ah.

Where liberty dwells, there is my country.

We enjoyed UP immensely.

On Broadway
This is an interesting article about changing social mores at the theatre.

Nerd Alert! Raise Shields!
This is nerdy but cool. It is a 360-degree panoramic view of the bridge of the Enterprise from Star Trek.

The Greatest
One man's list of the greatest athletes of all time. What say you?

A Bigger Boat
I don't think Jaws could have done much damage to this beauty, the largest yacht in the world, more than 550 feet long! I know it seems excessive, but it is also awesome. It belongs to Russian oil tycoon Abramovich.

Family Photos
We live in a global era, when one family's Missouri Christmas photo becomes one Czech store's advertisement.

Link of the Day
This link takes you to archival footage of a spiritual precursor to the Humvee and other military vehicles.
It's a cool look back.

25 June 2009

The King is dead

As the news about Michael Jackson's death sinks in, I find myself saddened in a way that I usually don't when a celebrity dies. There seems to exist a demarcation that determines how some people feel about this. People just a few years younger than me know him more for his extracurricular troubles than his extraordinary music.

I always felt like his situation had a tragic element. I wanted him to have another great song, another comeback, but nothing had really materialized in past years.

If there is good in this, it's that the circus of his life will not overshadow his excellence as an artist. His early death will no doubt give him the status of an Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe, for better or worse.

This is a nice retrospective on his career.

¡Feliz cumpleaños Walkman!

I liked this retrospective on the now-30 year-old Sony Walkman. Check out this page to see more of that first, brave model. It was very expensive, at over $500 inflation-adjusted dollars!

I remember borrowing my dad's enormous SPORTS Walkman. Not only did it play cassette tapes, but it also had an FM Tuner.

Then there were the exciting models that also had the 3 or 5 band equalizers and the MEGA BASS button. And then came the Discman, with models like this that could even be used IN THE CAR!

Still, for a long time, the Walkman was the most practical and attainable personal musical device. I think I owned this model, near the APEX of Walkman technology, enjoying Kris Kross and other great music.

Happy Birthday Walkman!

24 June 2009


I have held these articles back for when I have more time, but I'm not sure when that time will come, so here are some quick hits.

  • The reality of an aggressive North Korea and an oppressive Iran has made Obama's desire to be seek dimplomatic solutions problematic, as this WSJ editorial explains.
  • Some reactions from Iranians to the election struggles.
  • Lest anyone think that criticism of the Khamenei regime is criticism of Islam, there is a strong and well-regarded theological alternative. Read this for more.

More to come.

23 June 2009

Movie Stuff

Here is the new G.I. Joe trailer. This actually makes me want to watch it, and nothing so far has really worked for me. G.I. Joe was the toy of my youth, more so even than Transformers or He-Man.

Here is some wild renderings from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. That is going to be one trippy movie. Anyone remember how freaky the 80's TV movie was? With that crazy Jabberwocky?

Also read some advance reviews for Transformers. Decidedly mixed, which is not surprising.

22 June 2009

Down the Drain

This article underscores the rightness of questioning when government or bureaucracy demands more money.

The UN has very little to show for the $196 billion spent on health programs.

21 June 2009

For Dads

Happy Father's Day to the dads out there (me too).

In a very manly bit of helpful information, given a recent uptick in animal intrustion into suburban areas, here is how to predator-proof your home AND survive angry animal attacks.

Happy hunting.

20 June 2009

Awesome Video Saturday XCVI

This is a very funny spoof of Magnum P.I.

Compare with the original-

Pretty cool and also nerdy (via Popwatch).

19 June 2009

Mothering Fathers

This was an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal on how a protective mother can affect a father's parenting, and in turn, a child's development.

Fortunately, I don't have that problem.

18 June 2009

Big Trouble in North Korea

There is a report that North Korea intends to launch a missile towards Hawaii in early July. This would constitute a major escalation, and in my opinion, an act of aggression bordering very close on war. It doesn't matter whether they have the capability to hit Hawaii.

I hope the report is incorrect, but the regime is more reckless than ever.

17 June 2009


I don't know if anyone is following this, but I think Letterman has finally dealt with this appropriately. It took him awhile, but I don't think a firing is the right outcome here.

Letterman's problem is that he is not as funny as he used to be. He's a little too bitter and angry, and it shows in his humor. Not everyone will agree. I always preferred Letterman to Leno, but on those rare occasions where I actually watch the late night talk shows Conan is my choice.

16 June 2009

History Repeats?

I think you can look back at most of what I've written about Obama and find that my concerns have been reasonable, with the most serious differences coming on economic issues.

I've been reading an excellent book about the Great Depression. One of the recurring points made by the author is that many initiatives that were part of the New Deal actually had a damaging effect on economic recovery. These include high taxation, arbitrary regulations, and persistent and erratic government intervention in capital markets. I'm very concerned about how the Obama administration is operating economically, and the parallels to Roosevelt's injurious economic policies.

I have issues with Obama's health plan (explained well in this Op-Ed) and I have concerns with how he proposes to pay for it. Here is a live-blog of the response of the American Medical Association to Obama's speech at their conference.

I agree with this opinion piece, which relates the real impact of these proposals on business and investment.

There is ample reason to be concerned AND to encourage a much slower process than what the Obama administration wants.

I'm text-blogging today from the road.

Listening to Sebellius on NPR re: "Public" Health Insurance plan. She won't provide any details.
Not impressed.

14 June 2009

Back to the Hill

There is a new statue in the Capitol rotunda- Ronald Reagan.

Each state is allowed to have two representatives in the rotunda, and California recently updated theirs to remove a Civil War-era figure in favor of the former President.

Peggy Noonan wrote about the installation here. As a former speechwriter for President Reagan she had an emotional connection to the day.

Law Abidin'

There really isn't much to this article about the legal issues of University of Florida football players. My main reason to link to it is to point out that Miami has only had TWO players arrested over the past 4 years, compared to 21 for the Gators.

Remember that the next time you hear tired old tropes about Miami's program.

13 June 2009

Awesome Video Saturday XCV

This is hee-haw funny. It is a sequel to an old Ferrell clip that I couldn't find online (but is found on the Best of Will Ferrell compilation). That one is one of my all-time favorites, and this is a worthy follow-up.

11 June 2009

Fighting It

Check out this video about a genetic condition called dystonia.

I got to know Rick Staab (the father) when we both participated in Leadership Gainesville. This is a great look at what dystonia does and what the Staabs have done to confront it.

08 June 2009


I have enjoyed every Pixar film. They survive countless viewings (which we have enjoyed given our small children). UP is among the finest.

I find it difficult to rank a favorite. The Incredibles paid homage to the superhero genre while adding to it. Finding Nemo makes me tear up a little, every time. A Bug's Life includes that hilarious fat caterpillar. They all have something to recommend.

The first 20 minutes of UP were perfect storytelling. We were a 2 year-old, 4 year-old, 5 year-old, and 4 adults. Everyone was delighted, laughed out loud, and had a wonderful time. I can't say enough good about it.

07 June 2009

65 Years

D-Day was yesterday. Popular Science posted their article about the technology used in the invation of Normandy. It's a cool look back.

65 years later, the people who benefited most immediately remain grateful.

On the Origin of Peppercorn

During a fantastic anniversary dinner I realized that I did not know where peppercorns come from, or pepper.

Now I know. Just thought I'd share.

06 June 2009

05 June 2009

SPOTD #154

Summer is here, and we're feeling it down in F-L-A. Scroll down for more stuff, including this post on GM's demise.

Today's Phrase:
This one will be useful for this hot, hot days.

¿Dónde está la piscina?

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable
¿Don-day ess-tah lah pee-see-nah?

Where is the pool?

Terminator Salvation: I enjoyed it. There was some very good action, several good moments, and one great moment. In a subtle way they answered some logistical questions, but the time travel issue is one that is very messy if you think too much about it, so I didn't. Definitely several steps below Star Trek.
Taken: I loved it. Definitely in the escapist genre. Lacy was satisfied with Liam Neeson's vigilante solution and dogged determination to find his daughter. If anything it shed some light on the sex trade, undoubtedly one of the most abhorrent practices in the world. Human trafficking is a crime worthy of the death sentence.
Last Chance Harvey: This is a gentle romantic comedy, with normal people making reasonable choices. There is realistic dramtic tension, but people act like people, and not idiots, and although things are not tidied up perfectly it is satisfying and worthwhile. Good, subtle acting.

Travel Notes
We rented a cabin outside of Smoky Mountains National Park, using this company. It was fantastic. The cabin was clean and comfortable, close to the stuff we wanted to see, and we had a great time.

Most Popular lists found on various websites create interesting patterns in human behavior. Just labeling something as popular can make it so.'

A soldier in Afghanistan was in such a hurry to help his comrades defend their post that he left his tent wearing his boxers and flip-flops. Initially he was worried about whether he would be disciplined for that, but is being praised instead. A good outcome.

Border Technology
Technology is not just having an impact in far off battles, but in the work of the Department of Homeland Security. This article looks at some of things being developed on that front and others.
Fast Tracks
This article is about a robotic tank that can travel 60 mph! What is especially impressive is the system used to avoid tread throwing. The front wheel pushes out as necessary to compensate for the 14 inches of movement allowed by the suspension system. Very cool.
There are other cool inventions from the Popular Science Invention Awards.
This link is unrelated, but very cool. Check it out.

Link of the Day
Want to get paid for laying still and letting your muscles atrophy? NASA has a job for you!

03 June 2009

Past as Prologue

It is interesting to see something from President Obama's time in the Senate. The Wall Street Journal published a portion of his statement declaring his decision to vote against John Roberts for the Supreme Court.

I think it sheds some light on his choice of Sotomayor.

02 June 2009

Saving the NBA

This has been one of the best NBA postseasons in years. There have been several fantastic games, but also some surprising disappointments. I think Bill Simmons has identified a major reason why the NBA has suffered, and he does it with a fantastic (and previously unknown to me) historical anecdote about the origin of the 24 second shot clock.