Monday, August 20, 2007

I wish I had Said That

I never really understood liberal university politics. My experiences as a student was just someone who scraped to pay the bills and attended classes. ROTC was always a option to help some pay the bills, and a source for some of the most outstanding officers in the military. A college that doesn't allow ROTC is denying its students the opporunity to make these choices. They do this to make their own self rightous point.
Michael Barone is quoted over at the Instapundit:
Columbia doesn't host ROTC or (I think) military recruiters on campus, because it would be just too offensive to do so, because the military obeys the law passed by a Democratic Congress and signed by Bill Clinton which bars open homosexuals from serving in the military. OK.

But Columbia does host Ahmedinejad who heads a government which executes homosexuals for the crime of being homosexuals.

So it's obnoxious beyond belief to exclude homosexuals from military service, but it's not obnoxious beyond belief to hang them from the neck until dead.

I'm inclined to think that Congress and the military should rethink their policy of barring homosexuals from military service. It's a long argument, which I'll omit from this post. But I don't have any trouble joining the 99.99% of Americans who oppose execution of homosexuals for homosexual acts. And who think it's a barbaric act, incapable of being supported by any decent argument.

Why does Lee Bollinger think a man who heads a regime that executes homosexuals--not just excludes them from military service, but hangs them by the neck until dead, in public ceremony-- should be honored with an invitation to speak at Columbia?
And Glenn Reynolds nails it with:
Because Ahmadinejad doesn't like Bush, and that covers all sins?
Its all about perspective.

A Parting Shot

I must admit from the beginning I never liked the view. I always thought Microsoft Vista sucked, and so far the only folks that I've found that are impressed with it is some IT type folks who like the way it keeps the user away from knowing what is going on. Job security I guess.

PC Mag has long been known for being a Microsoft apologist. For several years they have spewed out the Bill Gates company line. In the early beta days and post Release days they kept us informed on how Vista was going to make all of our lives so much better.

Jim Louderback is turning in the keys to PC Mag, and as a parting shot he finally admits that Vista ain't so great.

Rest assured, you haven't heard the last of me. I will continue to write a column in PC Magazine. I still have too many issues to discuss with you. For example, my latest beef is with Vista.

Maybe it was something in the water? I've been a big proponent of the new OS over the past few months, even going so far as loading it onto most of my computers and spending hours tweaking and optimizing it. So why, nine months after launch, am I so frustrated? The litany of what doesn't work and what still frustrates me stretches on endlessly.


I could go on and on about the lack of drivers, the bizarre wake-up rituals, the strange and nonreproducible system quirks, and more. But I won't bore you with the details. The upshot is that even after nine months, Vista just ain't cutting it. I definitely gave Microsoft too much of a free pass on this operating system: I expected it to get the kinks worked out more quickly. Boy, was I fooled! If Microsoft can't get Vista working, I might just do the unthinkable: I might move to Linux.
I bought a new PC a few weeks ago and I went out of the way to avoid the nightmare known as Vista. Apparently I'm not the only one. I suspect this is happening a lot. Unfortunately, whether its XP or Vista, MSoft is still making a fortune off each system it sells.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

`Tis the Season

after a sleepy start we are watching two systems TS Erin is breathing own our necks and the weather service is promising us lots of rain over the next couple of days. TS Dean is the scarier of two, farther away with more time to grow. We aren't packing up the cat yet, but coco and and I are keeping on eye on whats happening with the sci guy for now.
Update: 8/16 05:00
Erin is causing some rain, no big deal. Dean is now a Hurricane, and bears watching.
Coco the cat says don't worry be happy.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Remember Afghanistan

Things are heating up in Afghanistan and it seems to be going mostly unnoticed by most Americans. The tactics now seem to me to be a little uncharacteristic of the Taliban, attacking a base head on. Could this be a sign of bigger and not so better things to come? Lets hope the happenings in Iraq don't distract to much from what is going on over in Afghanistan.

Taliban militants attacked a coalition military base in southern Afghanistan for the second time Saturday and the third time this week, the U.S.-led coalition said.

It warned the ambushes could "possibly be a rehearsal for a much bigger attack, possibly an attempt to completely overrun the post."

Afghan and coalition soldiers at Firebase Anaconda in Uruzgan province fought off the attackers Saturday. Several Taliban militants were killed, and two insurgents were wounded and taken into custody.

Earlier, another attack at the base led to fighting that killed four militants.

On Tuesday, 75 fighters ambushed the same outpost from three directions. Almost a third of them were killed when troops and U.S. warplanes repelled the attack. Along with U.S.-led coalition forces, there is a large Dutch troop presence in Uruzgan.

"The insurgents are paying a high price to test our response to attacks on our bases," said Army Capt. Vanessa R. Bowman, a coalition spokeswoman, according to The Associated Press.

"Though direct attacks are an unorthodox method for Taliban fighters, we remain prepared to fight them in any way they choose, though we find they are regularly unprepared for our methods of combat," she said
These are direct attacks and real battles not just skirmishes . Are they testing us? Hopefully they are just being stupid, but I think this might be unlikely.

Why Iowa?

Andrew Sullivan is irritated
How is it that we persist in allowing these unrepresentative, yahoo infested, pissant states decide who gets to run for President? The notion that the Ames straw poll matters would be preposterous were it not so pernicious.
He can't understand why Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire get to have so much sayso in the primaries and speaks pretty negatively about these states.

Joke: What's considered a solid hour's reading in Iowa? The back of a cereal box.

New Hampshire? Smaller than Iowa. Whiter than Iowa. And, as Alexander Theroux once observed, " is literally shaped like a dunce cap."

South Carolina? The birthplace of secession? A state of which it has been justly said that:

Throughout American history, South Carolinians have led the fight to preserve and defend slavery, white supremacy, racial segregation, and race fear. South Carolina is the soul of the Confederacy. It is safe to say that South Carolina gave birth to Dixie, so much so that it is a matter of pride to many South Carolinians that their state was the first to secede from the Union and that Citadel cadets fired the first shot of the Civil War.

Its folks like him which explain why we can't let smug New Yorkers and Californians run things. As Glenn succinctly puts it.
"How is it that we persist in allowing these unrepresentative, yahoo infested, pissant states [to] decide who gets to run for President?"

Now that's not very nice. But I think the answer is, to piss off Californians and New Yorkers, something that the rest of the country agrees on . . . .

Well said.

Greg Preaches this Morning.

Greg asks "Are we there yet?"

Maybe this all seems a little “pie in the sky” for some of you – this notion that in faith we might see and greet the promises of God without receiving them ourselves. But I think it was put best by one of our nation’s secular saints, one who was also one of our nation’s great men of Christian faith. Speaking of the reality that he might not be alive to receive that which he was promised and which he had seen in the distance, he echoed Moses as he proclaimed

I've been to the mountaintop. . . . I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I'm happy, tonight.… Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

And I say to you today that the Promised Land has been revealed to us, and we know it is true. No, we’re not there yet – but the Lord is coming in his own time to bring the faithful the wonders he has promised us.
Thanks Greg for the bit of help along way.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Point about Victimless Crimes

I've struggled sometimes trying to explain why victimless crimes need to be decriminalized. Perhaps because sometimes the issues at hand are destructive. Still making things like gambling, prostitution and drug usage illegal often create more problems than they really resolve. Scott from Grits for Breakfast ever so elegantly and clearly makes the point.
Police target the businesses for petty code violations instead of for illegal gambling because they must prove the entity is not just providing entertainment. I'd think they could resolve that by just interviewing folks as they come out, but officers told the reporter it requires someone to go undercover to make a case.

The irony to me: Anyone can drive up to Shreveport or I'm sure lots of other places in Louisiana and drop quarters into slot machines until the cows come home. Who cares?

Police say they do because violent criminals target game rooms where "operators handle large amounts of cash and most patrons are female or elderly." But I think there's another reason game rooms are targeted: Because they're illegal. "In the past year, sheriff's deputies responded to 12 robberies and four shootings — three of them fatal — at gaming rooms," but anecdotal evidence indicates most crimes at gaming rooms are never reported, say police.

By comparison, there's hardly anyplace safer in America than inside a casino, there's so much security at most of them. But because Texas outlawed these machines for gambling purposes, a black market formed. So what should be a safe, consensual business relationship for gamblers becomes a dangerous and shady one.
These places are all over Texas. While they look pretty seedy, the violence from these places are a matter of record. They waste police officers time and the tax payers money while the Louisiana casinos create revenue for the state.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Ethanol Scam ?

Glenn the Instapundit posts about a Rolling Stones Article calling Ethanol a scam.
he great danger of confronting peak oil and global warming isn't that we will sit on our collective asses and do nothing while civilization collapses, but that we will plunge after "solutions" that will make our problems even worse. Like believing we can replace gasoline with ethanol, the much-hyped biofuel that we make from corn.

Ethanol, of course, is nothing new. American refiners will produce nearly 6 billion gallons of corn ethanol this year, mostly for use as a gasoline additive to make engines burn cleaner. But in June, the Senate all but announced that America's future is going to be powered by biofuels, mandating the production of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022. According to ethanol boosters, this is the beginning of a much larger revolution that could entirely replace our 21-million-barrel-a-day oil addiction. Midwest farmers will get rich, the air will be cleaner, the planet will be cooler, and, best of all, we can tell those greedy sheiks to fuck off. As the king of ethanol hype, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, put it recently, "Everything about ethanol is good, good, good."

This is not just hype -- it's dangerous, delusional bullshit. Ethanol doesn't burn cleaner than gasoline, nor is it cheaper. Our current ethanol production represents only 3.5 percent of our gasoline consumption -- yet it consumes twenty percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, causing the price of corn to double in the last two years and raising the threat of hunger in the Third World. And the increasing acreage devoted to corn for ethanol means less land for other staple crops, giving farmers in South America an incentive to carve fields out of tropical forests that help to cool the planet and stave off global warming.

I thought the Rolling Stones was a bunch of leftist. This article is making a whole lot of sense While ethanol might be practical if we were to make it from bio mass that isn't part of our food supplies. but as Glenn states:
Yes. There may be some value to ethanol made from cellulose and other waste biomass, but corn-based ethanol is just liquid pork. Nice to see there's agreement on this across a wide ideological spectrum. (Via Kudlow).

Bob Zubrin tells me that we can make methanol, as opposed to ethanol, more easily from waste biomass. Even kudzu. That sounds promising.
I guess thats what I've been trying to say all along.
Update 8/11/2007:
It's even worse than I thought.
It looks like there is a ethanol induced Steak Shortage in NYC