Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cobert Report

You should check out this interview between Stephen Colbert and Sam Harris, an athiest. It's very interesting.

It's time to remember a little bit of why Colbert was ever funny, after the Correspondent's Dinner fiasco...

It seems that he wants to blame all conservative ideas (reform social security, Iraq war, not fund stem-cell research) on the idea that the rapture will be occuring in the near future...but that doesn't exactly follow.

Social Security - it's broke, lets fix it so that I can get some money out of it too...
Iraq War - everyone knew Saddam was a nut who might have had wmd's, and we didn't want him to control a country anymore....
Stem-Cell Research - we want to destroy life in the hopes of saving it...even when there are other, currently more productive places that we could get the same cell behavior from without the destruction of life (adult stem-cells, umbilical stem-cells)

The other interesting part is how Colbert switches between humor and logic, and I love his closing remark. I'm getting kicked off the computer, see you later!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Barry Bonds

Can anyone believe how much he stinks this year? It looks like he's finaly off the juice. I hope that the commishioner gets his act together and figures out a way to remove tainted stats from the book. I don't really want to here about Bonds or Palmiero getting lots of hits for the rest of my baseball life. The legitimate people deserve our praise...the people doping do not. The really sad thing is, Bonds probably would be remembered anyway, because when he was younger, he did pretty well. It was when he decided not to bow out gracefully that he became outrageous. I think that nothing less than a total ban is called for, for anyone who gets caught doping.

On a slightly related note, tonight I'll be going to listen to one of the people on the steroid commission. Sen. Mitchell is from the town where my college is, and he's pretty conected to my school...although he had the misfortune to attend the other college down the road (not the other one in town, but farther than that, if you know don't know what I'm talking about, explaining it would just take too long, so sorry). Hmm...too bad for him.

Thanks, Redhead, for the suggestions, I'll try to hit them all soon. I thought about writing on immigration, but I felt like it hasn't been too long since I wrote about that. But I do have a new topic.
My real difficulty is that we're approaching finals season, and I've taken my campus and friend responsibilities a bit more seriously than my academic responsibilities this semester, but I still want a B, so I've got to catch up.

Would you like to weigh in first on any of them? Blog conversations are much more fun than me pontificating, I feel...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

It's time...

...For a new blog post...any ideas?

...for some more shake-ups in this administration, but I'm done with that line of thought.

...for the republican party to step up and take back the high moral ground. Insider knowledge is required to understand where I'm comming from on this, so I'm sorry to everyone who doesn't go to my school...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

Ah...when you just don't know what to put for a title, it's great to know that they've got a Monty Python for that...

At least the above is relevant to this discussion...the "Life of Brian" quotes that I played throughout my radio show on sunday were not.

It sounds like they need an ACLU or something in Pakistan...this man (warning, MSM link) was just drummed out of the Air Force for having a beard. He's Muslim, so he's gotta have sounds like repression to me. Maybe the Pakistani's should look into having a "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy on beards. 'Cause, you know, it's worked so well for us...

Monday, April 10, 2006

They're starting to get into our heads!!!

The squirrels have struck again!! This is from an actual 911 call:

CALLER:"I have a large tree in my backyard ... there's a squirrel stuck in the tree."


However, the helpful 911 operator is unaware of the danger, so he continues:

OPERATOR:"Ma'am, this is a squirrel? In a tree? What's the problem?"

What do you mean, "What's the problem?" There is a squirrel in a tree! IT'S AN ISSUE OF HOMELAND SECURITY!

CALLER:"It's been there for about an hour. It's crying; it needs help. There's a problem," the caller insisted.

Wait a second, the caller wants to help the squirrel? Let the squirrel cry! Did you know that squirrels are responsible for the death of a dog, and for eating my watermelon once?

OPERATOR: "Ma'am, sorry, but this isn't necessarily a police issue. It's a wild animal, sitting in a tree. It's supposed to be doing that. The squirrel will be OK. It'll climb down when it's ready,"

CALLER: "Are you telling me you're not sending me an officer?"

Hey, caller, 911 is just trying to protect the officer...what you really need now is a tank. You might have been able to fix the problem with a couple grenades, but it sounds like the squirrel is completely 'dug-in' by now.

OPERATOR: "Sorry ma'am, this isn't a police issue. [DARN RIGHT! IT'S A HOMELAND SECURITY ISSUE!]An officer wouldn't be able to do anything. The squirrel will be just fine, really."

This is getting worse and worse. The operator is showing a complete disregard for the safety of humans...he even sounds like he cares about the squirrel! Doesn't he know we're in a war??

CALLER: "But police officers help people in need right?"


OPERATOR: "Yes, ma'am. Squirrels are not people."

Well, this is the first time either of them showed any common sense.

CALLER: "Well, never mind, anyway. You've spent so much time explaining why an officer won't help me, the squirrel left. Thanks."

PHEW!!! I"M glad that the unsuspecting victim-caller was spared. We may not be so lucky next time.

On the other hand, maybe this had the potential for a darwin-award-like moment....hmmm...I shall have to think about this.

Can you immagine how much of our tax dollars must go to support stuff like this? And, where did this caller go to school anyway?

The only way I can really rationalize and explain this incident is that the squirrels are starting to break into our mind and replace our thoughts with pro-squirrel propaganda. It's the only way this call makes sense! So, make sure you keep a firm grip on your brain the next time you walk by a tree.

The moral of the story is, support deforestation. Not only does it protect us from ninjas*, but it keeps the squirrel population at bay!

Thank you to the Honorable Althouse for providing me with most of my squirrel info...

*Q. Do ninjas hide in trees?A. All the time, so cut down trees. No safe haven for ninjas! - IMAO, FAQ on Ninja's

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Warning: Boring Diary-type post

I just got to a computer after taking the Foreign Service Written Test this morning. It's the first time I've taken it (it's the first year I'm eligible), so I don't have much perspective on it. However, I thought it was relatively easy. I took the consular cone, and the questions there weren't too difficult. There was only one geography question on the test, that I could find. The worst (read, most annoying, not hardest) part was the bio section. I had to keep re-writing the same stuff on the lists. And there totaly wasn't enough room to write anything. The essay was ok. I didn't write anything spectacularly convincing, but I was clear, succint, and had a pretty good format, so I'm pretty sure it will pass ok. I'm psyched to take the oral, or go back to the written next year.

The wierd thing about the test was, almost everyone there was from my school. There was one older guy who had taken the test a few times before (he was really cool, by the way...a department of corrections officer who sounded like a naturalized immigrant. Way to go for him, if that's the situation), and passed it each time. But there were 10 people, and seven from my school. As far as I know, this was the only test center in my state, and there are two schools comparable to mine that were just as far away from this test center as I was...where were they? Probably the didn't feel qualified, and they were probably right! (Surely, you know I jest. I love the people who go to those other schools, but I also love the rivalry)

Now I'm just rambling. I need to get some rest tonight, so that I can do a reading in church tomorrow for Palm Sunday. This time of year brings up so many conflicting emotions...sadness, but also much more joy and thankfulness. You probably know what I mean, if you have any idea of what I'm talking about...

And now I'm rambling again. It's time to go off to find saturday night entertainment. Have a wonderful sunday everyone!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Media Follies

So, how are we doing in Iraq? Just how dangerous is it getting to be over there? Some people see to think we're heading into a civil war...that can't be good for our troops over there, right?

Well, check this out...and before you blink, I'll tell you that the numbers come from Brookings....

81, 76, 50, 49, 43, 25
What are these numbers? This week’s Powerball winners? A safe deposit combo? New numbers to torment those poor b*stards stranded on the island in Lost?
No, they’re the number of troops that have died in hostile actions in Iraq for each of the past six months. That last number represents the lowest level of troop deaths in a year, and second-lowest in two years.
But it must be that the insurgency is turning their assault on Iraqi military and police, who are increasingly taking up the slack, right?
215, 176, 193, 189, 158, 193 (and the three months before that were 304, 282, 233)
Okay, okay, so insurgents aren’t engaging us; they’re turning increasingly to car bombs then, right?
70, 70, 70, 68, 30, 30
Civilians then. They’re just garroting poor civilians.
527, 826, 532, 732, 950, 446 (upper bound, two months before that were 2489 and 1129).

Isn't it great that there are so many bloggers out there who will read and check out the countless reports that all the think tanks make, so that I don't have to read them all? It's much easier if we share the load and create a summary...and if you think that their interpretation isn't quite right, well, if they're worth reading at all, they've probably got a link to the actual report....or you can just google the topic and probably find someone else's opinion...sometime the blogger has actually done that already. Since when did CNN ever link to Fox for a different perspective?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

News Flash!

Trent Lott is a Fool!

I know it's irresponsible to hold him to his words out of context, but even I can do better than that when I'm talking to reporters, and it's not even my job to get re-elected.


Isn't it strange that when I post something that slams a company, I suddenly get a lot of ads for that company? See all the extra Starbucks ads around the site lately? Do you remember when I coppied something about how stupid Abercrombe and Fitch jeans looked, and then I got lots of ads for A&F gift cards?

It's a cool program, but it does have it's limits.

Michael Yon

is amazing. You should read the whole site...but especially where he talks about the situation in the UAE in this article. It's pretty long, but check it out anyway, if you haven't already:

It was embarrassing when the United States erupted a month ago over the port security issue, and in so doing hurled insults at our friends in the UAE. I know nothing about port security and so cannot comment on that issue. I can, however, attest that the UAE is a strong, intelligent and reliable ally, very pro-West and pro-American, and before we reflexively stone our friends, it would be wise to remember that good friends are hard to find. It’s too bad no one in a position to know had the foresight to let the average American in on that. This is a part of the world most people know very little about, and the little they do know makes them anxious about knowing much more.

Go see the whole thing. He gets added to my blog roll the next time I feel like monkeying around with it.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


It seems to be the hot topic at the moment, so why don't I weigh in?

My basic thought about all kinds of immigration: It's good. I want more of it.

Explanation of basic thought: This country was built by immigrants, even, sometimes, illegal ones. Immigrants are the one class of people who best fufill my interpretation of the "American Dream." (work hard, get at least a little bit ahead, give your kids a bigger leg-up than you had)
And what does it say on that statue in New York anyway? Oh yeah..."Give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." We call ourselves a land of oportunity, it's time for us to show it.

However...(those of you who have read me before were waiting for that, right?)...we are not currently set up to recieve a whole ton of un-skilled immigrants who will immediately join the dole line. A couple of obstacles to a free immigration policy are...the minimum wage cuts down on the number of available jobs (jobs in general, not quality jobs), the welfare system we have would be too expensive if we had a ton more unemployed people, we would probably all get sick and die if we didn't check out the mass of immigrants we'd get with an open door policy....and of course, we have to be careful of terrorism.

Those are important reasons for requiring some sort of checks on the flow of immigrants. However, we can fix most of them with a minimum of effort. We can screen for diseases and terrorists while allowing more people the come into the country legally. If more people can come here legally, then they would. Most of the illegal immigrants in this country would love to become a legal resident and start paying taxes, and we should let them. It would be great if more people born here in the US would pay attention to this attitude and turn off the TV to go find work. If we got our immigrant work ethic back, we wouldn't need welfare and stuff anymore...and this country would be able to support many more immigrants, who would then work hard, make advancements in productivity and make our quality of life better.

Teddy Roosevelt has a great quote about immigration:

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all.

We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but
one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

I think this brings up an important point in the debate...that of assimilation. It's very important for immigrants to come here an become American...not come here and become hyphenated. I don't mean that they should give up their habits and traditions, but I do think that they should consider themselves an American who celebrates different holidays and speaks another language. They should not expect the Americans already here to convert to their ways.
For the most part, I think that this already happens with our immigrant culture. Sure, it doesn't happen always in the first generation...but how many languages have you learned in your lifetime? Was it easy? I think it's enough to expect the second and third generations to become more and more integrated into mainstream America. If you object to this, please, tell me, which immigrant group came to American and immediately blended in with the rest of us?

What do you all think?

Monday, April 03, 2006


One of the things I hate about not being connected is that I miss lots of good reading, and I have to spend time catching up when I get back. For example. right now, I should be watching the Red Sox, but I got too interested in what Jane Galt was saying over at Asymmetrical Information to leave the computer. She's talking both about immigration and health care, and, as usual, she does a great job. Read this, and read forward for the immigration stuff, or click backwards for the health care stuff...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Does this count as a beard picture?

Click the picture for context...
If you say it does in the comments, I'll add it to the ring...


How about this one?

Uggh. Starbucks

The barista is chatting to someone about Daylight Savings Time and the effect on the clientele: "These are the 8 o'clock people at 9 o'clock. Or maybe it's the pre-church crowd? But what do I know about church? I mean I've heard" -- sweeping gesture -- "of this deity" -- gesture -- but what do I know?"

There's an astrology column taped to that circular section of the counter where they present the coffee drinks. A man waiting for his latte scans the column and expresses pleasure that he's supposed to have a good day. He's a Virgo he tells us. The barista exclaims that, ooh, he's a Virgo, and an older woman, also waiting for a coffee, says that her son is a Virgo. I read the Virgo message and point out the introductory clause: "It says you're going to have a good day assuming you first complete your duties."

And (referring to a message on a sign seen in this picture):

"Restore yourself." Not -- as I think it would have read a few years back -- "Indulge yourself." "Restore yourself" is less hedonistic, a bit spiritual. He restoreth my soul. But what would you have to be if what restored you -- what brought you back to yourself -- was a vanilla sunshine cupcake and a macchiato crisscrossed with gooey chocolate? Macchiato means "stained," and this plays havoc with the religious imagery "restore" evokes for me. But then it's restore yourself. No deity -- you may have heard of one -- is going to restore you. It's up to you to restore yourself -- to your truly stained condition -- at Starbucks, where God seems rather alien -- something heard about one time -- but astrology belongs taped to the part of the place that is most like an altar, where the barista bestows the restorative liquid upon us.

The quotes are from an Althouse post. I consider her my blogmother (and Frank J. is my blogfather, FYI), in case you hadn't guessed that from my site already. My style is somewhat similar to hers...substantive (I like to think anyway) posts mixed with whimsical posts.

Anyway, back to Starbucks. I know it's probably irrational for me to intensely dislike (I almost wrote 'hate' but that seemed too intense) a coffee shop that I almost never frequent. But I don't like the coffee, and while I like to go to coffee shops to sit and read (which is what Starbucks is evidently all about), I don't see how that type of atmosphere can be mass produced, and I haven't felt comfortable anytime I've gone there. My dislike of the place when I saw two of them while standing in front of another while in NYC (one of my least favorite cities). I started to intensely dislike the place when I heard that they were going to open up several shops in Madrid (something they've since done). I like Spanish coffee shops, and I know that Starbucks will probably replace the ones that exist, or at least keep many Americans from experiencing them while they visit Spain and other countries with Starbucks. I applaud their business plan, and I congratulate them on their success, but that doesn't mean I have to frequent their establishments...a Starbucks-type expansionary plan is different from a Wal-Mart-type expansionary plan, even if I can't quantitatively prove it at the moment.

I'm also bugged by the fact that the same people who oppose Wal-Mart for treating their employees badly and putting local business out of business seem to like Starbucks so much...which has done at least as much as Wal-Mart in it's own industry. At least Duncan Donuts (which has good coffee, in my opinion, even if I don't drink it much anymore) has more franchise-type shops, and less of a corporate structure. That means that even if the stores look the same everywhere, they are locally owned and all the profits stay local.

My dislike is intensified by the faux-intellectualism and funky (possibly new-age?) spiritualism that seems to go hand in hand with can see what I mean from the above quotes from a reliable Starbucks frequenter, but I see the same thing in my own friends that frequent Starbucks.

So, with all these somewhat substantial reasons, I feel safe to point out that Starbucks is extremely biased towards political groups that I don't like, and contributed a ton of money to said groups in the 2004 elections...while Duncan Donuts was biased the other way...this isn't the reason I prefer Duncan Donuts, but it's sure feels good to know that my instincts are backed up financially.

Do you go to Starbucks? Am I totally wrong? Let me know...

More Armor = Less Maneuverability

Most of the "urgently needed" body armor is not being used...not because of a shortage of supply (or problems in the supply chain) but because of a shortage of demand (the troops don't want to wear them because they can't move as fast). I wonder how the troops feel about the super-armored Humvees? The same principle applies, except that it isn't the decision of one soldier to use the armor or not...the stuff just gets put on...and if the truck gets blown up because it can't move fast enough, (or it flips over while trying to maneuver) well, at least it had the armor, too bad they got into a tight spot...
I don't like people stateside trying to decide what our troops need and don't need. I'm glad they're worried about their safety, but most of the 'body-armor shortage crisis' was fueled by people who had no relation to the troops aside from statistics they saw in sterilized reports.

hat tip:

You wanted a new post, didn't you?

Well, now you've got one. I'm sorry it took me so long to my defense I was busy working Here. Being a substitute teacher for high school is hard, and I didn't even know I was going to be doing it...but none of the kids died, and I think they might have even learned something, so I guess it went ok.