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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Friday, October 26, 2012

WORD AROUND THE NET

"…ah, but there’s no inflation. Everything is fine, everything is good. Just go to work, watch the half hour of the local evening news, and pretend like nothing’s wrong."

Jim Engel is an old school comic and cartoon writer and artist, a guy who's worked on just about every comic character you know and does a lot of cartoony stuff including some efforts with Ralph Bakshi.  Engel brings up something that has concerned me since Bill Clinton's saxophone playing and MTV appearance:
Regardless of party affiliation, I don't think U. S. Presidents or even candidates should go on late night talk shows, The View, SNL or any other shows of that type. Maybe I'm getting old, but I think it's beneath the dignity of the office.
Look, if you think the president of the United States is just one more celebrity this is no big deal.  But if you think he's the leader of the free world with the toughest job on earth representing the most powerful nation on earth with 300 million citizens, there's a problem here.  Its a question of dignity, maturity, and the image of America.  Do we have a celebrity in chief or the president?  The party affiliation is irrelevant in this problem, its bad for any candidate or president to do this.
President Obama appeared on Leno recently, and in that appearance he both said he struggles with math (maybe that's why he couldn't recall the size of the debt while on Letterman) and complained that banks are "in it to make money" so they have to be regulated.  Well, yes, they're a business, they aren't a non profit, they exist to make money.  And?
Portland Oregon is so infamously leftist a show on cable TV mocks their radicalism, and here's one bit of evidence.  A home with a Romney/Ryan sign was ordered by the City of Portland and the neighborhood association to take it down, but the huge Obama sign on a nearby house was left uncriticized.  Why?  Because although the office that handles this is supposedly neutral, they respond to complaints instead of looking for violations, so while tolerant folks will let an election sign go, angry bitter folks won't and phone in complaints.
Reverend Wright became so toxic when his rhetoric about Israel, white people, and America were brought to light that President Obama abandoned his mentor and long time friend who helped him get a start in politics and performed the marriage ceremony between Barack and Michelle.  Now, the San Francisco chronicle published an article about a phone conference between Obama and Wright about how to get black people out to the vote.  You can tell how damaging Wright is to the Obama campaign by how they immediately demanded the story be retracted and denied everything.
Modern cars all seem to look the same to me, like a sort of cross between a computer mouse and a shoe.  Unfortunately due to regulations and gas mileage concerns there's a certain shape and style that best cuts through the air that designers tend toward, so we lose those beautiful old cars.  Ford motor company is making a stab toward more beauty though, by bringing back some of their classic old car bodies for kit and restoration work.  The 1940 "deuce coup" and several mustang bodies are among the options, and I hope they do more retro designs like the Thunderbird or some of the recent Chrysler models.
According to writer Ed Klein, documents show that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requested more security for the consulate in Benghazi Libya which was attacked in September.  The ambassador and his staff were raped and murdered in an attack by radical Muslim terrorists, but Klein claims that President Obama refused the increased security.  While handy for the Clinton legacy and political machine, I'm skeptical, to put it mildly.  Hillary Clinton is not going around acting like someone who did the right thing and got blocked by the president at all, she's gleefully going along with the president's lines, including the lie about a Youtube video causing a spontaneous protest to get violent and pull out mortars brought along for fireworks, or something.
Like all government agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must file a report every six months detailing what regulations they have planned.  Since every single new regulation they propose meets heavy opposition and complaint, apparently the EPA has just decided to not publish an agenda and has simply refused to comply with that law for all of this year.  If Romney wins the presidency he'll have his hands full with that agency alone.
Hurricane Sandra (no relation to Ms Fluke) is a deadly storm, having claimed at least 11 lives in Cuba according to their news agency (which probably means a lot more but they aren't interested in reporting how badly the country's infrastructure and buildings hold up to storms).  The storm is raging up toward America and some fear it will interfere heavily with the election on the east coast.
Pat Moran (son of Representative Jim Moran (D-VA)) was revealed in geurilla video footage explaining how to help show how to defraud the election with fake voters.  He's under investigation now and has since quit the job as field director for his dad's reelection campaign.  In the video he explains how once you've got these fake votes you can count on the ACLU and other left leaning legal organizations to leap to your aid if the votes are challenged, a fact that J. Christian Adams highlights in a recent PJ Media piece.  He notes that even if these organizations are working in good faith, the voter fraud machine counts on them and these legal groups don't seem to have a lot of discernment or concern about the validity of these cases.
Lap dances are not art, according to New York courts.  A strip club in Albany New York filed a suit arguing that their work qualified under a state law exempting "dramatic or musical arts performances" meant to promote culture from taxation.  The courts ruled that this was not promoting anything culturally beneficial.
Surprising few, Al Gore's Current TV has poor ratings and is up for sale.  Apparently a dull, stiff, old politician doesn't really understand what's fun and interesting to young people well enough to build an entire TV network around.  The only real question is why on earth he got so many investors and cable networks to support the idea in the first place?
Previously on Word Around the Net, I've written about President Obama's illegal foreign contributions in the 2008 election.  He repeatedly, massively, and successfully violated campaign finance laws and because he won knew there would be no consequences.  Who's going to investigate him, Eric Holder?  Now, its being done again for the 2012 election and the press again is amazingly disinterested in the story.  Even if Romney wins the presidency I just don't' see any consequences.  The lesson here, kiddies, is that if you're a Democrat: cheat, and don't even be shy about it.  Nothing bad will happen to you.
Keith Olbermann used to have the hottest show on MSNBC (which is like being the most famous person in Scio, Oregon) and boasted about how hot he was with the girls.  Now after doing a poor job, getting lousy ratings, and being continuously annoying with his bosses to the point of being fired at several networks, he's out looking for work again at the few left that he hasn't burned his bridges at.  Meanwhile, as Ed Driscoll at Instapundit points out, Glenn Beck's solo effort is doing very well and he's worth almost $100,000,000.  But Beck is called crazy and weird and out of touch....
Universities have long claimed that they don't have quotas and don't change their standards to get extra minorities into the system, but people have long suspected those claims to be false.  Recently two studies have given those suspicions evidence and facts to back them up.  The University of Oklahoma is targeted by one study, showing they do lower standards for minority applicants, and the University of Los Angeles in California (UCLA) is shown to be doing the same thing, despite stonewalling any research.
Walter William has a column out this week about topics you cannot bring up because of the reaction you'll get.  He focuses on slavery, noting that even if you're a black guy you cannot bring up any potential benefits that slavery might have accrued for later generations (such as living in America instead of the Sudan or other African nations).  His explanation?   "There are certain topics or arguments that one should not bring up in the presence of children or those with little understanding."  All too often I find that to be the case online.  Certain topics you just have to avoid because people lack the maturity and objectivity to discuss them rationally.  Rape is one of them, apparently, just ask Akin.
Algebra is kind of tough to work out because it doesn't deal so much with tangible objects and concepts as it does theoretical ones.  You can add up 2 oranges plus 2 oranges and get 4 oranges with your hands and eyes.  You can't add up 1A+1B as easily (1 apple plus 1 orange works, but the answer looks the same as the question: one of each, duh).  Because of this, it has long been understood that it takes a more developed mind shaped by years of education and thought to begin to tackle the concept, but there's been a push lately to get algebra into lower grades.  Mary McConnell at Deseret News is concerned that the only way this can be done successfully is to dumb algebra down, ruining its benefits and that's happening just to get minority kids to pass algebra for statistical purposes, not educational.
Louisiana State University (LSU) has a cheering section for its football team called the "Painted Posse."  Consisting of young guys who paint themselves in team colors and are very enthusiastic, they're a fairly well known part of the crowd at the school.  And they're Christian, so part of the paint they use includes a cross.  But LSU found this symbol so offensive that they airbrushed it out in pictures of the squad sent out in an email to students.  The posse is not upset, just confused, but they don't care much... but you do have to wonder what's going on at the school to make them take this kind of step.
Oregon jumped on the "green tech" bandwagon along with many other states in 2009, the height of the global warming hysteria.  Plans to blanket the state with recharging stations and create a network for the huge surge of electric cars certain to explode into popularity were set up and hundreds of millions spent to make it happen.  To this end, Portland and the state of Oregon spent $6,800,000 to get ReVolt Technologies to build super batteries for electric cars.  Their claims were amazing and as it turns out, they were false and they're filing for bankruptcy now.  Richard Reade at the Oregonian writes about several such companies that were backed by the state and are collapsing.
Another fake hate crime?  Apparently so, as a woman from Louisiana claimed three klan members in hoodies set her on fire and scrawled racial slurs on her car, but the evidence points to her doing to herself.
Stringy floppy, remember that name?  It was one of the alternates to discs as storage technology that came up in the 80s, but never went anywhere really.  They were very similar to tapes, but with faster search and recovery times.  The old TRS-80 used cassette tapes to store and retrieve extra data, and it took forever to load in a big game.  Now it seems the tape may be making a comeback.
Fuji Film and IBM have created a prototype cassette measuring 4x4x1 inches that can hold up to 35 terabytes of information, or about 8,750,000 songs. The data is stored on a strip of magnetic tape made from particles of barium ferrite.
Its not quite the same as your John Hughes film soundtrack mix tape, but its a wierd throwback to the old reel-to-reel systems from the 70s.
Michael "Piltdown" Mann, tired of being pointed out as a lying, manipulative hoaxer by bloggers, has filed to sue various people for questioning him.  Primarily the lawsuit is directed at National Review Online, but there's something he should consider.  In baseball, the best revenge for being beaned is to score a run.  If you don't like how people mock your scientific endeavors produce good science and prove them wrong, don't take them to court.
Brain death is a tricky diagnosis, and most doctors recognize this.  Its not as clear as some people make it out to be, as one story from Denmark shows.  A woman was declared brain dead and disconnected from machines.  She didn't die, and instead has recovered from her illness.  She's awake and going through physical therapy.  This is hardly the first case of this happening in northern European hospitals.  Denmark, Norway, Holland, Sweden and so on have socialized medicine and as a result are low on funds and often quality of treatment and always are looking for ways to empty out beds of people they deem unlikely to recover.
Expect more stories like this to crop up.  In North Carolina early voters discovered that when they picked Mitt Romney for president, the system would highlight... Barack Obama.  It took several tries for the system to properly register their vote.  Always check very carefully before you finalize a vote.  This isn't the result of some trickery or hacking, its just the problem with electronic voting and glitches in usually poorly-tested systems.  Old fashioned paper ballots at least wouldn't have this particular problem.
Officials in Florida have gotten a flood of reports that white Republicans are getting letters challenging their citizenship.  The letters say in essence that they aren't eligible to vote and should not go voting or they'll be breaking the law.  This is just flat out voter fraud trying to disenfranchise voters... something Democrats claim the GOP is doing all the time.
Energy drinks are just a really, really bad idea and the worst part is that they are popular with the very people who least need extra energy: young people.  As I wrote in the past, they've been linked to deaths due to the excessive caffeine and sugar, and yet another death has been linked to an energy drink called Monster.  Don't drink this crud okay?  And don't let your kids drink it.
Whether this is due to playing favorites or a genuinely well-earned contract, it just looks bad and ought to be avoided.  Vice President Joe Biden's brother got a $100,000,000 federal contract to build homes in Iraq and he has no background in construction.  This may not be illegal but it is a really bad idea and ought to be avoided.
This is another reason why a book is better than an e-book.  Amazon.com didn't like a customer, so they deleted all his books on the guy's kindle.  They accused him of having an account directly related to another which abused their policies, and simply wiped his book clean.  Even if the guy was violating copyright law... he's violating the law and should be dealt with that way, not by taking away product.  That's like Pepsi stealing into your house and taking all your cola away because you use the cans to smoke pot.
Apparently arch leftist and failed presidential candidate George McGovern changed over time and began to reject the leftist economic ideas he used to hold as he learned more about business and reality.  Its easy to hold all these unrealities about how business and economies work in theory when you've never actually had to deal with the real thing.
Cops have it tough, but when one goes bad, they tend to be really bad and have to be dealt with swiftly and without remorse.  The problem is the police unions are like any other and make it extremely difficult to fire a bad cop.  Plus, police rules often put the fate of a cop's future in the hands of fellow cops, and given the (entirely reasonable) "us vs them" mentality of the police, they tend not to punish each other much.
President Obama's administration has become more or less infamous for intimidation, mistreatment of, and even refusal to cooperate with the press to a degree they'd never put up with in a Republican.  Ed Driscoll rounds up several examples of this at Instapundit recently, including "accidentally" locking a reporter in a closet.
Six scientists in Italy were convicted of manslaughter for failing to give adequate warning of a quake that killed 300 in L'Aquila in 2009.  The scientific community in Italy has responded with outrage, shock and a commitment to never give any warning or advice whatsoever to the government if their advice is going to be used as grounds for negligence and manslaughter.  This is idiotic and outrageous to the point of fury.
Alas, Paul Krugman.  He was once a respected economist whose books on the subject were standard in college courses.  He won a Nobel prize in economics, and was highly regarded by the community.  Today, well things have changed.  Now the economic community treats him like a drunken family member they all ignore and pretend didn't say anything.  His contradictory and absurd pronouncements in the New York Times and his bizarre love of China has led him to be an outcast with fellow economists.
Caterpillar, biggest heavy machinery company in America, is predicting a major slowdown in sales for the next quarter in 2013, signaling a serious problem with the economy.  Its indicators like this that tell me we're not seeing growth this or next quarter even if the official numbers claim it.
Sajjad Hussain was accused of blasphemy against Muhammad in a private conversation in Pakistan.  The trial acquitted him of the act, and he was set free.  Later, he was shot dead anyway.
Iowa has a 'civil rights' commission just like Canada does, and they are even worse according to a recent report.  Jason Clayworth writes at the De Moines Register:
At least 27 Iowa landlords were allowed to make donations to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission in lieu of legal action for illegally discriminating against housing applicants, records obtained by The Des Moines Register show.

The deals, made by the Civil Rights Commission from 2006 through February 2011, helped landlords avoid charges after they were found to have illegally discriminated for reasons such as race, disability or family status.
In other words: we have found you guilty of discrimination, but you can pay a "donation" to us to avoid prosecution.  They were shaking down people using civil rights rulings to make money.
Feel like your dollar isn't going as far these days?  Benny Johnson explains why at The Blaze with 21 everyday items whose price has gone up over the last four years.  Its not just gas, it also includes these items:
Beer +25%
Eggs +73%
Coffee +90%
Peanut Butter +40%
Milk +26%
Bread +39% 
Oh, but inflation is up by just under 4% according to the official numbers... which conveniently ignore gas, energy prices, and food.
Finally, here's this ad satire mocking Chevy and GM for their bailouts.  Chevy is trying really hard to sell its truck and car line as the choice of badasses and tough guys all around who get hot chicks to gaze admiringly at them.  The ad points out how pathetic the company was whining to the government to save them from awful business choices and idiotic contracts while boasting about how tough they are (some language warning).
And that's the Word Around the Net for October 26, 2012.

1 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

That Italian case is far more interesting than lazy American reporters can relate. They were indicted because they (or at least some of them, in press conference after a meeting) responded to local citizens' concerns about the ongoing series of tremors by telling them it was nothing to worry about. When people wanted reassurance and direction about whether they should leave their structures, some of these scientists on the government payroll told them not to worry. They also did not warn people of the inherent unsafe nature of medieval construction, which was apparently part of their job.

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110914/full/477264a.html

There is a lot more to the story as you can see from this story from Nature, which is not known for its anti-science bias.

If experts aren't accountable for their expert advice, then what use are they?

6:24 AM, October 27, 2012  

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