Monday, June 06, 2005
The soft collapse of government
Now Kansas has joined the fray. Powerline has the scoop.
Monday, May 30, 2005
Crossing the Rubicon
That doesn't mean we've given up the entertainment, though. We've enjoyed a lot of series that we would not have enjoyed otherwise: Sex and the City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Six Feet Under, and of course a lot of movies.
Obviously, we watch them when we want to watch them, not at a fixed time on a weekly basis. And so we tend to see an entire season over the course of, say, 10 days or two weeks.
From the get-go, this has been one of the obvious benefits of the Internet, giving more production control to the user. I'll watch shows, and listen to news, when I want to.
But a significant thing is about to happen. The one regular event that ties me to a specific time is Rush Limbaugh. I have about a 50 percent rate of catching his show, and I want to catch it all the time. Not only do I enjoy it, but I use it for running time, since I don't really enjoy running on its own.
This month, he begins mp3 service. Now I'll have it whenever I want it. The only fixed broadcast remaining in my day is NPR. And even that is really a formality. They may be a bit slow about it, but they do put their daily stuff up on the web.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Citizen of the world
The story itself is a slightly different point. The U.S. is pressuring Britain to use microchips in its ID documents that match microchips used in ours.
The story is much more nuanced and interesting than the link implies. Which is not to say Drudge is wrong; indeed, I think he's exactly right. But it's pretty heavy handed editorializing. And you have to say, privacy is a tough, tough issue, notwithstanding (maybe because of it?) the low value men like the estimable Judge Richard Posner seem place on the concept.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Rule No. 1
It's the old Republicans-oppose-school-lunch routine. So whenever you read a proposition in the newspaper that something won't happen if a given decision is taken, ask yourself, "Is it true that it won't happen, or is it only true that government won't be the one doing it?"
Sunday, May 22, 2005
"Right now we give you a library card with a bar code attached to it. This is just a bar code, but it's built in," said Mark West, the library's deputy director.By the time we get around to developing a law of privacy, the point will be moot.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
It was with mild irritation that DeeDee watched Newt's recent replay with Hillary!, or Mrs. Bill Clinton, or Senator Rodham or whoever she is. (Applause.) We know who has the iron will in that pair.
Gingrich still sounds good. He proposes a number of market solutions, some post-New Deal compromises that Republicans are likely to have to accept someday, and some basic welfare and tax code manipulation, along with a lot of deregulation. Give it a B plus.
So what does Hillary want? The answer to that, of course, is whatever it takes to make her president, so if she has to be conservative for a day, she'll be conservative for a day. Except, she won't be that way tomorrow. What she gets out of the deal is the nucleus of nationalized health care: HHS accreditation and regionalized, federally funded purchasing centers. Add in the support of the biggest socialists in the world--U.S. industry groups--and Newt's market based solutions will be socialized medicine quick as a wink.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
So her review is this: The only reason so many people liked this movie is most of the reviewers are men, and the men in this movie have all the sex they want without consequence and still get their girls in the end. (Women don't consider a brutal beating and disfigured nose a consequence for men who've strayed.)
Anyway, I'm stickin' to my story. I'd put it up there with Garden State, another fine, low-key effort, maybe better than Sideways. I don't know. I should watch them both again, but I don't think I'd stay awake. Maybe I'll go rent Attack of the Clones, or a really fine work, In Like Flynt.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Paul Giamatti was good, very good, and so was nearly everyone else. The directing got spotty once or twice, with those double-split, four-split views of the hand waving in the air out the car window/ostrich-in-wine-country scenes. Mostly, it was a decent and interesting effort, but not much more, and in the final judgment I'd say it fell just short of where it needed to be.
Maybe it just seemed so good to so many because the rest of the industry seems so creatively bankrupt.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Conduct to make the reasonable man exclaim, "Outrageous!"
Monday, May 16, 2005
A contrary voice
Now maybe they can work on doing good reporting in the first place.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Wrong way in the heartland
We had our river cities first, but soon enough we had the National Road, then canals, then the railroads, then the Interstates, then the federal highway bills to pay for everything else. We're all about transportation. I mean, if I read one more press release from a city that says, "Within 600 miles of 70 percent of the population of the U.S." I'm going to barf.
The point is, we're all about roads. Add to that, we're good Red State, common sense country, yes?
So why have 10 people died in five months from entering highways driving in the wrong direction? Our local paper (registration required) lists them all, and yesterday was the 10th. Earlier this week, someone tried to commit suicide by driving the wrong way. What a brutal, murderous way to do it.
What is going on? Is this the kind of thing that happens all the time, but our roving eye is just now arbitrarily lighting on the phenomenon? Is this the power of suggestion, so that once one does it, others follow suit? It defies belief. Maybe society is falling apart, if we can't even handle road signs any longer, or avoid crashing headlong into one another.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
I don't know how many people outside Columbus paid attention to this thing. It didn't quite seem to have the heft of the D.C.-area sniper shootings, perhaps because only one person died, as opposed to most of them. It all seemed like the act of a deranged person, and incompetent nut, as opposed to a malevolent and skilled killer, and that turned out to be the case.
So when the prosecutors announced they would seek the death penalty, that sounded like playing to the crowd. The jury deadlocked over death, striking another blow for confidence in what may well be the foundation of our entire system.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Impeachment loser/sex fiend attacks Republicans
Instead, he chose to give us essentially an uniformed view of his prejudices about Tom Delay. There are two kinds of Republicans, and Ken Starr is the Bob Michel kind.
UPDATE 5/12/05: Apparently Starr is now saying CBS played the right quote, but in response to an entirely different question. Isn't that the network of Dan Rather?
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Monday, May 09, 2005
This is a good idea, but it's not quite as costless as Fund thinks. I doubt anyone knows what the effect of such a move would be on the T-bill market. Right now, the government is selling T-bills every day, which is essentially the same as a corporation selling bonds or you going to the bank for a mortgage.
If a corporation suddenly doubled its paper, or if you suddenly doubled your debt, it's only possible that you would be able to do it. Essentially it all boils down to whether your credit will withstand the additional load, and your credit is fixed at a given level. If you've borrowed 10 percent of your available debt load, then, sure, you can double it any time. If you've borrowed 90 percent, you're pretty much done.
For government, cold-turkey, to put non-marketable notes into the market would quite likely destroy the market. Bond-holders would suddenly have to decide whether they want to compete with the undisciplined alimentary canal that is Social Security spending.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Moms in or out of context
We thought we'd play a little joke and called her on the cell when we were two minutes away, leading her to believe we were safe at home and merely wishing her a happy mom's day. Her answer: "I'm really busy. Can I call you back in a little bit?"
Turns out some of the help didn't show up and she was running the tables alone at the busy time. When we walked in, she and I made eye contact, but she didn't see me; she saw only two more people who needed to be seated and served. She even rolled her eyes. You could hear her thinking to herself, "When is this going to end?"
We took our seats and she looked us over again. Again, she saw only two people at a table.
She took the order at the table next to us, then she came to us and got about three words out before she screamed and hugged Mrs. Detritus.
It's amazing how powerfully context acts on the brain.
Anyway, more help came it, the crowd thinned, we had a nice visit, and stopped by Serpent Mound on the way home, where we saw a bluebird. It was the perfect day.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Good points, all, just not well done. Some days we just need an editor to tell us to go back and try again.
Friday, May 06, 2005
The Scotsman has a straightforward story of an awful event, an inquest of a hideous accidental death involving a chainsaw, a puppy and a man who won't be able to live with himself.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Full, and pointless, disclosure: Mrs. Will is a consultant to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. She drives a Cadillac.
What's he afraid of, bloggers? Yeah, okay, but who does he think he is? Paul Krugman?
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Oh, the humanity
In January, an informal ethics committee at Stanford University endorsed a proposal to create mice with brains nearly completely made of human brain cells. . . . Stanford law professor Hank Greely, who chaired the ethics committee, said the board was satisfied that the size and shape of the mouse brain would prevent the human cells from creating any traits of humanity. Just in case, Greely said, the committee recommended closely monitoring the mice's behavior and immediately killing any that display human-like behavior.
SOP, I guess, to kill anything that displays any traits of humanity. Immediately, though? Can we afford to wait that long?
My pleasant-employee send-off: "Please come back and see us again."
Monday, May 02, 2005
Most depressing headline award
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Courtesy of Sylvester Stallone, I watched Get Carter last night, the Michael Caine version. Somehow we ended up with a videotape of the 2000 effort, and though I've tried twice I just can't make it through. What Stallone's effort did do, though, was sufficiently remind and inspire that we rented the original.
The 1971 version, in contrast, while dark and oh-my-goodness brutal, was compelling. Caine was fabulous. The phone-sex scene alone made the movie.
So someone spare me the effort: Do the endings match, or would I be proved right to suspect the worst?
Present at the conception
Maybe Cow Porn is where my fortune lies. (Or am I late to this party, too? I'm afraid to find out. A "walrus porn" search once led, er, someone I know to a U.S. government site, and not one run by the attorney general, either. It was Geological Survey or some such, and it's not what you think, you pig.)
Anyway, speaking of business models, His Virtualness is attempting to generate some cash. I think it'll work. And the best part is, no one really knows how yet. I wonder who will write the book, and I wonder what people will use to read it?
Taken to the woodshed
Friday, April 29, 2005
Hey, Beavis, he said 'titillation'! Heh, heh. Indeed.
Maybe so. TV leads us all to be vegetables, etc. But I've heard the same argument about books, that they actively involve the brain, while movies (and TV) flatlines you.
I'd rather think the explanation is simply that they're different products, and there's no reason to expect Hollywood to glom onto the product any more than any other investor or entity might (say, General Motors or Microsoft). I hope, certainly, that the idea of storytelling isn't going to lose its value or its appeal. When on those rare occasions I've done something like role playing (a trip to the paintball warehouse), I'm doing something different than appreciating a crafted drama. Sure, I'm producing a story line, in some sense, but it's nonetheless a different thing.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Sudden blog death
Sunday, April 24, 2005
"English has always been like plum pudding to me," he offered instead. "Respect and enjoy the language."
Suffering fools II
Suffering fools I
A dwindling pie
Money quote from the panelists about what third world people know: "You're getting poorer because Europe and the United States are getting richer and more powerful."
On Her Majesty's Buckeye
Because those West Midlands voters are so diverse yet politically balanced, they are "Britain's Ohio."
I don't think the just past election had quite enough cultural oomph for such an expression to last, but it's kind of cool for now.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Radical attacks on judges
What we had not known, though MoveOn Democrats must have been pretty confident of, is that the president himself was into the act.
According to a political analyst, the president had a plan since his election (the second one) to alter what had been recogized as the longstanding interpretations of the law and judicial tradition. Money quote: "It was not the Constitution that required changing but the composition of the bench."
Friday, April 22, 2005
Getting it right
Separately, following a dispute that's been raging between China and Japan, with Chinese rioting in the streets over feelings about Japan in WWII and a recent Japanese textbook is apparently dismissive of that country's WWII atrocities, the Japanese prime minister has apologized.
What to do about past atrocities? And can we ever separate the "deserving" atrocities, the ones we know about and pay attention to, from the rest? Somehow I feel this has all passed into the realm of deep personal pain, and no more than that.
But put Bill Clinton on it. He's a really good apologizer. And it'll stick, too, unlike that stinking effort from that insincere Japanese guy. Plus Bill can do it two or three years from now, and still get front page New York Times from it, I bet.
BBC also has an absolutely brilliant story, brilliant for its simplicity, about a BBC cameraman who was gunned down for dead in Saudi Arabia nearly a year ago but survived and is now a reporter in a wheelchair. This is good stuff worth listening to. Just a nice, factual recitation of what happened to him as he was gunned down.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Turmoils in other countries interest me only indirectly, unsurprisingly. But this line strikes me for a reason that is too often tritely stated: We have something good going on here that such a statement cannot be made in America.
But this isn't guaranteed. It has been often noted how polarized we are, and I suspect we do not appreciate that we could lose this great thing of ours. Unfortunately, too many on the left can only see people they disagree with and therefore who must be defeated, whatever the cost. Since I do not veer left, but right, it's harder for me to see the same thing from my side. Intellectually, I'm sure it exists, but judgmentally, it's the Manhattan Media and the Democrats who are whining about being out of power and who apparently are willing to destroy everything to get it back.
I will say this. The more society tries to accomplish through government, the more political conflict there will be. This should be a caution to activist judges and liberals both. The greatest thing about the free market might not be that it makes us richer than we would otherwise be. It might be that it elminates conflict because we can all do what we most want.
Perhaps those two concepts are in fact the same thing.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
NPR watch II
It's easy to see why you'd use this phrase. It's great. Conceivably, that's why so many have picked it up verbatim.
But it's a lot easier to pick up great things like that when they run your way than against you. And either way, it's a bad practice. One, it's decisively overcute. You ought to hesitate long and hard, especially considering inherent judgment implicit in the phrase; two, the passive is always a bias flag. "Has been called" by whom? And then to list such a lengthy bill of particulars . . . it's just bad journalistic practice.
But entirely predictable.
Future funding problems solved
UPDATE: Excellent, lengthy, thoughtful story. Hitting a fly with a sheet of plywood, but well done. Following (recent) custom, BBC invited listeners to text a message commenting on the story.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
A man for all seasons
UPDATE: Too easy, too easy. Not even the Pope could kick this one off page one.
BONUS UPDATE: NPR is all aglow this morning, reporting a recording of Voinovich talking about his "kitchen test." Voinovich was too boring to be allowed to say any more, so NPR helpfully explained this was whether you would want John Bolton in your kitchen.
What to say to that, except, not any time soon. But I thought we we talking about Bush getting nominations of his employees? When Big Back-stabbin' George, who last made the national news for opposing Bush's tax cuts, becomes president, then the country can bask in the glow of his Cleveland kitchen. Until then, would it be too much to ask that Republican senators quit empowering disingenuous Democrats and the Manhattan Media?
Monday, April 18, 2005
NPR reports this morning that the state legislature is considering the Small Necessities Leave Act. Requires 40 hours annual leave for things like going to see your kid's soccer game. I couldn't believe it. Then they said nine other states have a similar law (although the only example they cited was Massachusetts, which was not nearly as disturbing as if they had cited an American state).
If we're tolerating this from our lawmakers, pack it in. Individual autonomy is gone.