Thursday, December 30, 2004

As always the media is behind the curve

In response to Gib's post here, I said,

"But in their study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2001, they wrote that in Maryland, "a pregnant or recently pregnant woman is more likely to be a victim of homicide than to die of any other cause.""

I would just like to point out that one of the three main causes of men between the age of 20 and 25 is homicides. The other two are suicides and car fatalities.

I did some checking and for women it is the second cause of death in this age group (that age group for women also happens to be the age group with the most pregnancies women)so in other words I am not surprised"

Fox news correctly identifies this Washington Post series by journalist Donna St. George entitled "Pregnancy and Homicide: The Known Toll" , as sensationalist propaganda.

Good job fox news.


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

What ever women wants for x-mas


via A Twenty Something Life


Debacle that is my life

I called my dad, and he seemed to think I was headed in the right direction in buying a used car.

After the past few days, I can see why people drink heavily. Sunday night my parents called and said that they were coming up. They got in town around 10:00 pm. Monday I spent most of the day waiting around to get my car towed, and spent time with my family while I could. I have discovered that I like my peace and quit at my apartment and that I do not like for it to be disturbed by anyone. It was nice having my family up, but they also move my crap.

Tuesday I went into work, but spent most of my time looking up used car prices. Tomorrow I will be renting a car to go look at cars. I do not know how I am going to get to the car place unless I rent from a place that offers pick up. Which I checked with enterprise rent-a-car, and they were all sold out. Which it figures.

I have some time to play some hardball with some salesmen, but I by no means have all the time in the world to look.


update: I have decided that I will drive anything as long as it is cheap, reliable, not expensive to insure, and does not have horrible gas mileage. This means anything from a station wagon to a minivan to a two door compact. We will see what happens.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Worst Christmas ever!!!!

Originally my plan for leaving town and taking an entire 12 days over was to leave Thursday after work. Unfortunately, the weather decided to go bad on Wednesday. We got out of work Thursday around 3pm. I decided to spend the night at my apartment instead of trying to drive home when it is dark and the less used roads still are covered in ice.

I had a few friends coming in Thursday night who where going to stay at my apartment before their flight Friday morning. Since I was going to be in town anyways, I decided to carry them to the airport, so they would not have to pay for a taxi. I got them to the airport around 8:00 am, about an hour and half early. The main roads where in good shape, but by no means perfect. There was the occasional patch of ice to slow down for.

After I dropped my friends off, I went to get an oil change and filled up with gas. The oil change went fine, but I had a hard time finding a gas station with gas. The first three I stopped at where out of gas. I guess it makes since not to ship gas when big trucks crash easily. The fourth one only had mid-grade and premium grade gasoline. I filled up and started back to my apartment.

It was around 9:30 or 10 when I was headed back to my apartment. I was getting fairly impatient, and I started driving faster. I was thinking to myself, I only had to go to my apartment, pack up, and then I hit the road. Then I tried to pass someone that was going too slow, and I lost control of my car. I did some spinning out of control and my left rear tire caught the curb. The best way to describe what my tire looks like is that it is not entirely perpendicular to the ground anymore. I am fine. I was going to fast, and by "to fast" I mean I was going around 30 mph.

I was only a few miles from my apartment. I could either hitchhike or try to drive my car to my apartment. I decided to try and get my car to my apartment. The ONLY reason why I was able to drive my car was because it was icy, and the other three tires just pulled the bent one along.

Instead of going home to spend Christmas with my parents, I have spent most of Christmas morning playing Halo. I will be trying to get my car somewhere to be fixed Monday, which could take awhile because I am sure all the owners of the other cars I saw on the side of the road will be doing the exact same thing. I am sure that fate will work against me on all fronts to make it especially hard to fix my car next week.

On of my friends described the roads as a "war zone". I know I saw one car, where I could not figure out how they got 50 feet from the road and over a set railroad tracks, so i guess i am luckier than others.


update: Well I got the car towed Monday. It took about three hours for the truck to get to me, which the guy who towed my car said that some places where telling people Tuesday. I got it into the place and they could not give me an estimate because they guy who gives them was out sick. Tuesday morning the place gives me a call and the estimate is for 1,500 dollars. I expected 1,000. My car is a 1997 hyundai accent, with about 130,000 miles on it. Recently the engine has started burning oil. I am thinking, along with several of my friends that it might be time to cut the car loose. I am going to see how much money i have spent on the car this year, and figure out where i stand.

The car place called me back and said that they would have to order a part from Korea and that it would take ten days for it to get here. They want me to prepay 500 dollars to start work on the car. Effectively i have 10 days to decide what i want to do with my car.

I will entertain suggestions.

So far it has been suggested that i get a 1970's corvette for cheap. I am leaning toward a Toyota echo, new or used (cheap, good gas mileage, and cheap to insure).

Saturday, December 25, 2004

We are going to hell in a handbasket.

"Rumsfeld brings cheer to US soldiers in 'bleak' Iraq"

wow, things must be really bad over there.


Friday, December 24, 2004


will be back on the 4th of jan. see you next year.

drive safe and get some new years loving.



In the last week I have seen "Collateral ", "The Day After Tomorrow", "The Punisher", and "I, Robot".

Collateral was an excellent movie but did not seem to have the punch for the length of the film. The day after tomorrow was an better than average movie. The punisher was ok, but considering that they had made the movie one a 30 million dollar budget, it is excellent work. I, Robot was the best of what I have seen.

My sister said some people thought "I, Robot" seemed unrealistic. I almost laughed, because it is a sic-fi movie. This particular movie is probably more realistic than "the day after tomorrow." unfortunately I when into the movie when that in mind.

One of the problems I noticed, was how the city that the movie was based in (Chicago) had much more infrastructure than the city could have gotten in 30 years. Then it occurred to me that if you had robots doing all the manual labor, then it probably would be possible, especially if the robots where well built and able to do Multiple tasks.

"I, Robot" took you on a detective mission set in the future. It had one of the better, though more basic, plots of the movies that I have seen this week. Of course it is based off of a book written by an excellent author. The contrasts of personalities, robots and human, provided for some great moments.

If you like independence day, I would recommend I, Robot. Will smith plays a similar character and the plot is better.


Gun training videos

and ninja training videos


Incentives matter

Reading a recent post from Marginal Revolution, he links to a study done by Reason a group promoting "a free society by developing,applying,and promoting libertarian principles,including individual liberty,free markets,and the rule of law." That sounds well enough, and i happen to support their world view.

In the course of promoting new private schools, they quote Adam Smith and point out that every person has the ability to make better and wiser choices in their life than any statesman does. They go one step further and say that parents also have the incentive to choose a school appropriate for their children.

"Parents have strong reason to decide for themselves whether a school is appropriate for their child. More than anyone else, parents have both the motivation and the local knowledge to make choices for their children about the school’s bundle of characteristics."

I would like to point this post i made a little while ago. In that post, i link to a fox article where it points out that "studies show that most parents aren't taking advantage" the opportunity to move to better schools.

To sum this up i would like to link to Marginal Revolution post.

"To increase savings, we don't have to engineer a fundamental transformation of the American character. Instead, we may just have to tweak the institutional levers that have the effect of channeling cash in different directions.

As Professor Laibson said: "People will save if it's on the path of least resistance.""

Incentives, in my mind, are as important as removing disincentives. Some cases disincentives can be removed, in others they cannot. In the savings example, you could not tax 401k's or just create a path of least resistance, which i find appealing.

In the school example, you cannot make the ride to a better school any shorter. You can only offer incentives to make the trip worth it. Which in my personal opinion, the education should be its own reward.

I do not know why parents are not taking the opportunity they are given (or even if those studies are accurate or where they were done), but buy making decisions for these parents which YOU think are better YOU still are conflicting with the principles laid down by Adam smith. If the parents do not make good decisions for their children, I AM NOT willing to make them make good decisions.

Reason's study was not about making decisions for parents, it was about providing more opportunity for those good decisions to be made. IF their attempt at fixing the problem fails, where does that leave you as a libertarian?


Thursday, December 23, 2004

Snow in Memphis

Contrary to popular belief and the almost contagious joy of one office mate. Snow in Memphis during Christmas is not a good thing.

Actually snow or ice anywhere it only snows or ices once every two or three years is a bad thing. Of course my opinion of the weather is biased since i will be traveling home Thursday night.

Which normally i would not be concerned because it would not be a snowballs chance in hell that any of this would stick, but we have had a few days of below freezing temps, and after it snows it is supposed to stay very cold also. Which is a potent mix in the Memphis where people do not know how to drive anyways under regular conditions.


update: They let us go from work at around 3:30, the ice was still slushy on the roads, but you could not drive fast. By the time i got home, there was an least an inch of semi-solid ice on the ground that did not look like it was melting. It took me a long time to get home from work, and when i got home, i promptly left and returned 2 and rented 4 movies from blockbuster.

I have movies, video games, and food. What more does a man need.

update 2: Memphis does have salt trucks and sand trucks, but a limited supply. I have heard this second hand, and have never seen one before, so i cannot confirm that statement.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Manual safties with glocks?

"Install thumb safety $ 115.00 plus $7.00 shipping."


Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Applying for my CCW

In the state of TN the steps to receive a CCW are long , complicated, and require acts of submission. First you must go take a handgun safety class, where you must choose to be an dark assassin or a shining knight. This tutoring in the warfare arts cost 75 or more American dollars . You must train with your eyes covered using only your most basic instincts to shoot things or train using the magical powers provided by you fair lady (Candace, ahh Candace). I choose to be a knight of light.

The second step in my quest is actually visiting the lair of the bureaucratic beast we like to call the "TN department of safety", there you must present your sacrificial offering. This particular beast likes 115 American dollars and even gives you helpful advice and a receipt. I was on the second stage of my quest for the CCW, and I started today at 1 pm.

I arrived at the lair of the beast. According to the beast there are only three available places to contact the beast to apply for my handgun permit (Which I can assure you, all of them are busy and all of them will require riding long distances, which seems unsafe to me). I had a hard time finding a place to park my steed, which was a omen of my fate. I walked in and there was a line almost out the belly of the beast. Then I spotted a smaller line. At this point I had to make a decision. Get in the longer line, which I felt would get me where I needed to go, or get in the smaller line. The smaller line lead to an helpful witch (an old lady who knew the inner workings of the beast.)

I choose the smaller line, and waited. Once I entered the throne room of the witch, I recited the tales of my ancestors and of my good name. Then told her tales of my deeds and the quest I was on. She gave me the requested form to fill out (and my quest journal was updated), and told me to go to the longer line. I stood strong under the glaring eye of the short, sitting witch and asked for more information. Why is the line long and why is it not moving further into the beast?. She said the beast's brains were dead (computer system was down) and there were not enough elves (consistent understaffing). Empowered with this information I waded into the fray. While I was waiting, I scribed my application documents. Alas I had an appointment at 3:30 pm and it was nearly 2:40. It would take me awhile to get to my next appointment, and the line had only moved a woman's stone throw into the beast. I did not have time to wait, so I had to go.

I went to my 3:30 appointment and they were running ahead of time. I got out early, and was able to go back and stand in line at a closer beast which I had found after the runes exposed the location (I looked it up on the internet, and found a closer one).

I got in and got out of the second smaller beast in as much time as I had spent at the first one. The one important thing I leaned was that when you go to receive the mark of the beast (when you get finger printed like a common criminal), you will need to bring the documents inscribed by the gunsmiths (handgun safety course certificate of completion).

My appointment for the mark is on the twentieth day of December at 11:50 in the two thousandth and fourth year of our lord and savior Jesus Christ.

May god and my king watch over this faithful knight.


Heh heh

Suspect faces hearing in killing, theft of fetus

Theft? Why not kidnapping? I though once the kid was out of the womb it was a small child. I guess since this fetus was cut out of the womb and not birthed naturally it is not a child, but still a fetus.

So that means all children born by c-section are still fetuses....

By the way, Lisa Montgomery the chick that was charged, is very scary. Look at the way she is holding the dog in the picture, JUST LIKE A BABY.

Cnn used the correct terminology in my mind later in the article.

"The charge carries possible sentences of life in prison or death if she is convicted. But Todd Graves, U.S. attorney for the western district of Missouri, said his office had not decided whether to seek the death penalty.

"It's way too early to make that determination," he said.
The baby, named Victoria Jo, was recovered, and her father joined her at a Topeka, Kansas, hospital after Montgomery was arrested Friday night."


update: Blame Bush has said it much better than i ever could have.

Yes, I know the fetus has cute little "baby hands" with cute little "baby fingers" and makes cute little "baby noises", but that doesn't make it any more human than a baby-shaped intestinal parasite. Furthermore, I don't recall this fetus being "born", nor have I read anything remotely hinting that the host organism wanted it to be. She could have been on her way to the abortion clinic for all we know. So lacking a physical birth or any sort of written documentation certifying an intent to carry the pregnancy to term, we must protect a Woman's Right to Choose and err on the side of inhumanity. It's a FETUS, and will remain one until the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals says otherwise.

Unfortunately, that could take years. The fetus could be well into high school before it is deemed "alive" and awarded full human rights. Not quite living, yet not quite dead, this veritible Schrodinger's Fetus would be subject to relentless harassment and teasing all through it's quasi-childhood.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Making it real

sometimes I think the best way to read a book or watch a movie is to put yourself in a similar position as what is happening in the movie.

For example, you should watch castaway when you have not eaten anything all day. Today I watched "The day after tomorrow", and it was 23 degrees outside when I finished the movie. I think that broke a record or something.


Sunday, December 19, 2004

Conversations on the web

Start here:

To stop cocaiane they have spray large areas with huge crop killers.My idea would to provide afganistan and iraq, a total free market to america. This would hopely provide the chance to sell somthing where the farmers could make more moeny than poppies, though i do not know if that is possible.

cube @ 12.09.04 - 11:31 am

To make poppy less profitable than food? That can only happen if the addicts in the West get an alternative source. The only other option I see is to make poppy farming dangerous - but that wouldn't take the revenue down by much, because it will just get more expensive. Destroying poppy crop cheaply and in large quantities might help, but I'm not sure if there's a legal basis for that. I don't know if it's doable and who can do it.The problem with heroin is that some people want it, and they want it badly enough to commit crimes and pay a lot of monet for it. Dealing with the demand side of the equation can be even more difficlt than the supply side.

Ivan Lenin @ 12.09.04 - 12:14 pm

Well my idea revoles around one assumption. Poppie farming is profitable, but it MAY NOT be profitable for the farmers (it might even be a little dangerous).So you only have to find a crop that the FARMERS can make close to as much money, and loose the danger factor (of couse you will have the mob reprisal effect, that will need to be dealt with)

cube @ 12.10.04 - 10:04 am

i doubt the farmers are taking home much of the money the poppies bring in

cube @ 12.10.04 - 10:05 am

As always, fox news is about 8 days behind me.

Poppies are not a cash crop for Afghan farmers. Most of them eke out a hand-to-mouth existence by selling poppies to rich drug lords. So the Afghan government, with U.S. support, is trying to convince farmers there to try a new crop, one that would be more profitable and beneficial


Saturday, December 18, 2004

It is the school's fault.

"President Bush believes parents should have the right to move their kids from poor-performing schools to better ones. So why are so many students staying put? "

That is a good question. You could start by asking the parents why they want to leave their kids in a sucky school. You could also ask the parents if they knew their child went to a sucky school. While you are at it, you could ask the parents if they care if their child goes to a sucky school?

"While some parents say it's simply easier and more convenient to send children to schools closer to home, some parents and educators say reasons for the small number transferring is harder to pinpoint."

It says, perhaps, what the system has defined as success and failure isn't what a parent used to define success and failure. That, in fact, they look at the community they support and the location when they make their decisions," said Debora Ernst of the Los Angeles Unified School District "

Changing the definition of success.


Pfizer Finds Celebrex Heart Attack Risk

"Pfizer Inc. said it has found an increased risk of heart attacks with patients taking its top-selling painkiller Celebrex, a drug that is in the same class as Vioxx, but has no plans to remove it from the market."

I knew this was coming, i just never saw a chance to make any money by placing a bet with anyone.

I wonder if you are a major drug company if you can fund a study for the competitors drugs. For example, could Pfizer have funded a study on Merk's products? If it went through a school, proxy, or the fda, it could probably gain acceptance. Would it be better to bring you opponent down instead of bringing yourself up?


Bush the perfect conservative?

"The White House is telling federal agencies to expect lean budgets next year, with congressional aides and lobbyists saying President Bush appears ready to propose freezing or even slightly cutting overall domestic spending."

Holding spending does not solve the social security problem, or the problem of spending more on defense.

I think a few suggestions that i have collected could help tighten the belt of the US budget.

One thing we could do is make the budget on a two year cycle, this would give us twice the time inspect the budget and cut out the pork. It could possibly cause a spending increase as the ask for money to cover two years. It would also make the budget less flexible (but then again is the goverment flexible anyways).

I do not know how laws are bundled, but they seem to be able to bundle them in complex packages. We could limit the size of the bundle, which would allow time to find the pork and cut it out. (As a side note: why do we call extra spending pork, that has got to offend some one somewhere).


Gun post post mortem

Thanks to Glenn Reynolds at instapundit, I have a large amount of advice to sort through. Which is good, because i was not planning on doing anything today at work because of the dumb work Christmas party. The bulk of suggestions has stopped coming in. A few stragglers are coming in ever once and awhile, and i will try to add their votes or suggestions to this tally.

Final Tally

Glock 23 (20-1 votes)
HK USP .40 compact (8 votes)
Springfield XD (4 votes)
Sig P228 9mm compact (3 votes)
Sig P245 .45 ACP compact (3 votes)
Kahr Arms (PM40) (4 votes)
Hk P7 (3 votes)
Ruger P345 (2 votes)
Ruger P944 (2 votes)
Browning Pro-40 (2 votes)
CZ 2075 RAMI (1 vote)
CZ P-01 (1 vote)
Taurus PT-911 or PT-940 (1 vote )
Kimber Pro Carry in .40SW. (1 vote)
Glock 21 (.45 ACP) (1 vote)
Glock 19(2 vote)
Makharov 9x18mm (1 vote)
BERSA THUNDER 9 (1 vote)
Para Ordnance C6.45 LDA (1 vote)
Sig P239 (40 S&W) (Glenn Reynolds choice)
Sig P229 (1 vote)
Walther P99 (1 -1=0 votes)
Sig Pro 2340
S&W Model 39 in 9mm

ruger sp101 (3 votes)
S&W 640 in .357 (2 vote)
Charter Arms "Bulldog" .44 Special (1 vote)
S&W Centennial in .38 Special (1 vote)
S&W stainless .357 mags (1 vote)
S&W Airlight:(1 vote)
S&W 642 .38 Special titanium (1 vote)
S&W 637 in .38 (1 vote)
S&W 65 (1 vote)
Taurus 85 Total Titanium (1 vote)

Get a doggie. (1 vote)

The "-1" is where someone had something negative to say about that particular handgun. I counted that as a vote against that hand gun. If multiple handguns were mentioned, i gave votes to several. If multiple handguns were mentioned, but they specified which one they carried, i just counted the vote for the one they carried.

Personal feelings

I think i am further from making a decision that i was before i asked from help from the blogging community. That is not a bad thing. I learned a lot. I had my heart set on an autoloader, but now i am a little torn between a revolver and an autoloader.

Personally, i like the autoloader better and i think would "enjoy" having the gun more, but the more reasonable side of me keeps coming back to the fact that the revolver is more reliable. I think i see revolvers are old (which they are, one guy mentioned 1860), and i am young and very technology oriented, so autoloaders of the plastic variety have a strong pull to me.

I will start thinking about this problem after I have shot a revolver and once i put a few boxes through one.


Friday, December 17, 2004

What i want for x-mas

you have to click on this link.


Thursday, December 16, 2004


you know it has been a long time since you have done laundry when you find a pair of shorts in you clean clothes pile and it is near freezing outside.



Man this guy as some problems.

It is hard for me to believe that this guy got nominated for the secretary of homeland security in the first place.

One friend has suggested the administration nominated him even though they knew about the problems, they just thought that no one would ask in the spirit of not politicizing the job.

I personally think it was a bait and switch. The nominated Kerik, just to make the next guy look like an angel. It is my bet that bush wants the next guy that is going to be nominated for secretary of homeland security.



Reading some of the left today.

Yglesias said, "If I decided that Flew was right, I wouldn't start behaving differently in any way, or even need to modify my beliefs about any other subject"

Wow the sudden realization that this world was created by another being, that you cannot and will not ever understand would not change you life in any way. Funny, i think simple logic would dictate otherwise, but then again i am just a lowly blogger.

Some interesting comments....

"A being that can help and doesn't is morally repugnant, no matter your mental gymnastics."

So that would make any person morally repugnant when they do not help people by giving them food, freeing them from dictatorships, and giving people in need solid advice. Be careful what you say is morally repugnant, it might be looking you in the face.

1) existence (cosmos) has always been and will always be (is infinite for all intents and purposes in terms of duration); 2) existence emerged from non-existence, at some primal point in time, something miraculously emerged out of nothing, out of no energy or substance, which begs the question of how much we should rely on our own sense of rationalism.

To me it's obvious that #1 is the answer. We may be able to find a beginning of our own solar system, our own galaxy, our own universe, but we will never be able to discern the beginning of all that is, because there is no reason to believe there is a beginning or end of all that is.

Problem here is that most science points to the fact that there was a beginning and that there will be an end (that end might be when the Universe crashes in on itself or when everything is spread out so far that nothing of any importance can happen).


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Tell me what to do contest II

Due to the mixed success of the first contest i have decided to start another contest with a different product. This time your votes will only be a one of many criteria that i use to make my decision, instead of the sole criteria. The product that i am purchasing is an all purpose defensive handgun. It will be used for conceal and carry, home defense, and carry in my car while i am traveling. It is possible that my life will rely on this gun at some point in the future, so you input is very important.

Features that i want in a defensive are that it must be an autoloader. This rules out revolvers. I know that this will rub some people the wrong way, but autoloaders are so much cooler. They also require more practice and maintenance. The gun also must be medium in size, not full size but not personal size either.

Another feature that i will not compromise on is that it must be double action\single action (DA\SA). I consider the double action trigger an extra safety feature.

I have limited my search to just polymer framed handguns. I feel the plastic guns offer the advantage of weighing less, but will put other guns into my decision matrix on request.

I would prefer both a manual safety and a decocker, but will live with just one of those features. I would prefer to carry my handgun locked and decocked. I would prefer at least 10 rounds in magazine, though i would consider adding a gun at request to my decision martix if asked to. I have also chosen .40 caliber as my caliber of choice. I think it shoots the gap in between a 9mm and a .45 well.

I will be going to the range and shooting as many of these guns as i possibly can. The ones that i cannot find to give a test drive, i will spend some time holding them in the gunshop. Most likely my impression of the gun, and how it feels in my hands will be the most heavily weighted data in my decision matrix. I will also be giving reports on the guns as i shoot them and hold them.

The guns that i have found to meet my criteria and consider to be of sufficient quality to trust with my life are listed below. If i missed your favorite gun, please make a comment and tell my why it should be included.

Cast your votes for:
Sig Pro 2340, P228, P239, or the P245
Walther P99
Ruger P944
Browning Pro-40
HK USP .40 compact

Glock 23
Taurus PT940
CZ 2075 RAMI

My only problem with revolvers is that i would have to start my research all over again. Not that i have a problem with that, and will proably take another good long look at them also.

Again thanks for the advice.

update: Gun post post mortem

GPS in your cell phone

In large crowds when you are trying to find someone it is tough to hear them, and if neither of you know the place it is hard to describe especially if it is at night and it is dark. Installing gps in phones and allowing the phones to pin point each other would help the task of find people in large crowds easily.

I have been waiting for this a long time. We are not there yet but we are making the first steps. The only problem is that the government might use it to find you.

In other creepy motorist surveillance news, retired Gen. Tommy Franks has signed on as a spokesman for a company that implants GPS chips in teens' cell phones. Parents can not only monitor where their kids are, but if the technology enables the chip to determine when the kid is traveling in a car that's speeding. The system then notifies the parent.

All of which is fine with me so long as the technology stays limited to private use -- that is, parents keeping tabs on their kids. But if you think that's likely to happen, I have some stock in JetBlue's privacy policy I'd like to sell you.

via the agitator


A virus

School teacher George Masters has the marketing world abuzz with a homemade ad for Apple Computer's iPod that is rapidly "going viral." To some experts, Masters' ad heralds the future of advertising. Homemade ads will play a big part in marketing, just like blogging is shaking up the news.

The guy made a ad using flash. It is one of the better commercials i have seen recently. He went viral, and it he as made not money from it, though he might. Interesting.

via the agitator

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Dynamics of the European hate for America

Article: "Those numbers are particularly high in France, Germany and Spain, where the poll indicates 70 percent of people don't like Bush."

To me it is simple, any one who really like American came here in the early 1900's. That means anyone who was indifferent or disliked America stayed where they are.

essentially Europe was left with the America haters or the ones who were indifferent by default.

Secondly, i do not see why doing a poll on how Europeans dislike us is really going to help the situation.


Amazon Fighting women

This article is interesting, and mentions some of the plans the army has to make our fighting force more efficient. This effort to protect America is being criticized by people on account of the fact that women will be closer to combat.

Now, the Army's transformation plans include proposals for much tighter mingling of combat and noncombat units. Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, has redesigned the basic combat brigade into self-contained "units of action" that train and deploy with their support teams, including a unit called the Forward Support Company (FSC). Currently, women serve in units that perform the functions of FSCs.

First women wanted to vote. Then they wanted the same jobs as men. Then they wanted the same pay as men. Now we have moved into the next phase of them wanting better treatment than men.

"Female soldiers, including young mothers, should not have to pay the price for Pentagon bureaucratic blunders and gender-based recruiting quotas that have caused apparent shortages in male soldiers for the new land-combat brigades," Mrs. Donnelly said.

What about young fathers? The problem is that the military is all volunteer. So if the women signed up, they must be willing to fight (at least to some degree). The only exemption that I have heard of is when a single mom got orders to ship out, and she did not have anyone to care for her child. Of course if a single dad had that problem, he is just screwed.

"It does not make sense to sacrifice the advantage of modular organizations, just to make ideological points about gender equality. Land combat is not fair or equal, nor is it even civilized," she said.

Of course she is going to want to get PAID just as much as a man even though she just admitted that women are inferior in land combat, and cannot be used in as many different places as men can. In other words whatever job a man in the army can do, a woman may or may not be able to do them. If they cannot do the work, they should not get paid as much, but that would be discrimination.

My personal view of women fighting is that they should be given preferential treatment because they are weaker and not able to kill as readily as men are. Of course they should also be given the option of opting to be treated like a solider, instead of like a woman solider. This would allow the ones willing and able to fight the opportunity to serve.


Monday, December 13, 2004

Funny story

Today after church, several friends and i went to eat out. One of my friends, i have not seen in awhile (which will call smoky) was with us. Smoky is close to my age, but still in school. He has been busy, and i have been out of town recently for thanksgiving and the like. (You can read about some of my thanksgiving trip here and here.)

So i was catching smoky up on things that had happened in my life. One thing i mentioned was that i took stewardess home to the parents. The other thing i told my friend was that i took my CCW class recently. Another friend (and smoky's ex) was standing there and she said she wanted one. I did not question that statement, because it seems natural to me. She must have felt that she needed to explain herself because she said that she did not feel that pepper spray would do the job well enough. The friend that i am trying to convert and his wife both asked at the same time if she had ever used her pepper spray. The smoky's ex, said YES. I just laughed to myself, because one arguments against guns is that you do not need them.

Well the future convert and his wife wanted to hear the story, which i had already heard from smoky, because i was chilling with him when his ex called him to tell the story. The ex did not want to tell it, because she had told it a million times, but smoky was more than willing to oblige. He told the story to the future convert, his wife, and me. The story is not mine to tell, but it involved the ex's dad in a fight with man who had nearly ran them off the road. The ex had pepper sprayed the punk who had nearly ran her off the road and attacked her dad, but it had no affect what so ever. Well, one of the reasons the punk was mad was because the ex had a Kerry\Edwards feminist sticker on her car. Which if i ever meet the punk, i might just thank him for making that democrat more republican.

Sad part of this story was that i told her how much it cost to take the class and get the CCW license, and she said she did not have the money. Though i am certain that we will go shooting at some point in the future. She is in college, and does not have much cash on hand.


Sunday, December 12, 2004

You cannot ship alcohol but you can ship a gun....

In Tennessee you cannot ship wine to some one, you cannot order it online. This is a shame for the people in the city of Memphis, one of the main hubs for Fedx. Memphians always get stuff very quick when it is shipped through fedx. The main argument that I have heard against allowing the shipments of wine are based on preventing minors from getting alcohol.

"As for protecting minors, does Michigan really believe that a 16 year-old is going to swipe his Dad's credit card and order a case of Opus One on line? "

first I would like to point out that this techcentral guy is a moron. Yes, the kids will use their dad's credit card. By the time he gets the statement, they have reaped the reward. More importantly, a smarter more independent child, who works, and has a checking account of their own might be able to get a debit card. They might be able to use the debit card on line to get the alcohol.

For that reason, I consider the argument that kids might buy the alcohol online a good one. I also belive it becomes mute once you realize that you can buy guns online. The catch is that guns cannot be shipped to you home (unless it is a private transfer of some kind, but I have no idea if that is legal, or what steps must be taken to ensure the legality of that action.), they must be shipped to your FFL ( a federally licensed firearm dealer). In effect guns travel the same distribution which presently exists. I see no reason why alcohol could not travel the same pathway which exists for that product.

Will it increase the cost of wine? You bet ya. Will you be able to buy as much as you want from home? You bet ya.


Friday, December 10, 2004

Anarchy in the Streets is overrated

Alex Tabarrok of Marginal Revolution post a link to this wired story, Roads Gone Wild. I personally have never read an article like this. The interesting part is how the merger of psychology and road planning is affecting the building of roads.

It seems that less control works better than trying to control the driving situation more. By increasing human involvement,you engage people and their problem solving skills more, reducing car accidents. Interesting.

Personally, i am more interested in using technology to remove the human from the equation all together, or at least help the person drive better. We are seeing cameras in the rear and night vision copies. I would like to see a car that drives itself, so i can make better use of my free time, by making more of it. I do not have to surf the internet (although that would be nice), but preferably i would like to read a hard copy book or a computer book of some kind.

It seems to me this new traffic paradigm might solve problems, but it seems like technology wave is going backwards.


I was going to post about roads, but

PHOTOS: NFL cheerleaders


Thursday, December 09, 2004

Something i can agree with

"Five Indiana Pacers players and seven Detroit Pistons fans were charged Wednesday in one of the worst brawls in U.S. sports history — the melee last month that broke out on the basketball court and spread to the stands. "

That is exactly what my mom would do. It was not I am right and my sister was wrong, we were both wrong and punished if we fought or we were both right if we did not fight.


Nothing to say so i guess i will talk about movies

Last night i treated myself to a movie: The Bourne Supremacy

Lets just say that i started this movie with high hopes, but i was supremely disappointed. They should have left him alone, and not have made another movie.

The movie does start off strong, and i thought Bourne was about to go on a rampage and kill a few hundred thousand people. Alas, that did not happen. This movie instead of being about killing was about NOT killing. For example, the bad Russian secret service agent was left to die, which is a lot different than being killed. Bourne at one time was one of my favorite movie killers, but i am sure that Creasy, in the latest release of man on fire, would kick this once hard ass killer's, butt.

After some cool, looking-through-the-scope-and-you-are-dead-if-i-want-you-to-be-scenes, we start to get some action. Though as the movie goes on, it appears as if Bourne is going out of his way not to kill people. Instead of shooting people he talks to them, he runs away more, and he records more conversations. Bourne ONLY racked up one more kill than the old guy in the movie. The are the same if you count when the old guy killed himself, that was just disappointing.

If you want to see a real you-have-pissed-me-off-so-i-am-going-to-kill-until-i-fell-better-movie, just rent Man on fire.

Or you can rent Love and a Bullet, more people die and you can keep it longer than two days.


Wednesday, December 08, 2004


"In a shock joint announcement made this morning in California, Sony Computer Entertainment revealed that it has enlisted erstwhile Xbox GPU partner NVIDIA to help the PlayStation 3 pump the polygons required for the next generation of hardware."

I was certain Microsoft had already chosen another GPU provider for the Xbox 2 . This could have been the reason why, or NVIDIA could have felt a little used, and now they are selling their selves to the highest bidder.

Impressive, the PS3 just took a huge jump in my mind.

The next gen console market just got hot, my friends, real hot (That is not totally true. Sony has just secured thier place in the console market, and the other two are going to be scrambling to catch up.) I am afraid my beloved X box is not ever going to recover from this.


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Walther P99 and SW99

How do the Smith & Wesson SW99 and Walther P99 differ?

The SW99 frame, although made by Walther in Germany, has a rounded trigger guard. The shape and composition of the SW99's slide is also different. The slide and barrel of the SW99 are stainless steel and melonite-finished. The slide and barrel of the P99 are steel and tennifer-treated. The P99 is considered by most to be superior to the SW99.


Monday, December 06, 2004

Mechanized human quadriplegic


"Last month, researchers at Brown University reported on the technology's success in a 25-year-old quadriplegic from Massachusetts.

After electrodes were implanted in his brain, the man was able to read e-mail, play video games, turn on lights, and change channels or adjust the volume on a TV.

The UW researchers are one of a handful of groups that have had success this year in implanting electrodes on the surface of the brain, said Daofen Chen, program director for neuro circuit research at NIH's neurological disorders and stroke institute.

"This (the UW work) is a significant development," Chen said."

via drudge


Saturday, December 04, 2004

Cool restaurant

cereal, cereal, and more cereal.

via of the mind


Friday, December 03, 2004

World I-will-not-stop-screwing-around-day

70 percent of all aids cases are transmitted from sexual intercourse. Sexually transmitted diseases are among the most simple diseases to protect. Change you behavior and you greatly reduce you chance of getting that class of diseases.

In Africa some people do not know this, i realize that. Ignorance is not an excuse to ask for billions to find a cure for a disease that is nearly 100 percent preventable. Once the health infrastructure is fixed in Africa (if you can keep the dirty dictator's hands out of the money jar, that should be possible), the only thing that people will have to do to not get aids, is to not screw around.

In china the panda will not screw to save itself, in Africa they will not stop screwing to save their selves. [rueful shaking of head]

I was driving to work listening to the local am station's morning news. They were giving a phone interview with a guy who apparently knew a lot about aids (actually he was just an activist). When the knowledgeable guy was asked what we could do to help the aids problem, he answered that we should get tested. That is right!?!?!? He answered that we should get tested. He then went on explained we needed to treat the aids test like it was a cholesterol test, and have it added to the normal battery of tests you get when you go the doctor.

I do not know much about viruses, but from reading a recent tech central article i learned the aids virus replicates with a high mutation rate. Which means it can become resistant easily. I do not know how easy it can mutate to use a different mode of transmission, but it if goes airborne, the entire human race is dead in 15 years, except the people who are naturally immune. It so happens aids acts much like the bubonic plague when it is inside the body, so there are a few people out there who have a natural defense to aids.


What a surprise

"Germany and France reiterate their full support for Kofi Annan whose commitment to the aims of the United Nations is total," Chirac said at a press conference after holding talks with Schroeder.

bright spot

The two leaders also welcomed the proposals for a radical reform of the United Nations which were published this week.

And this part is interesting....

"But US congressional investigators say Saddam's regime may have skimmed billions of dollars from the program, and allegations have surfaced of pay-offs to officials and private individuals from around the globe. "

May have!!! May have!!!


Thursday, December 02, 2004

office sites of the week



"Hard Work Often Pays Off After Time, but Laziness Always Pays Off Now."

and more here.


Sending kids to school

At marginal revolution, Alex Tabarrok has a great post about a Detroit school.

That's cool but what I really like is this:

After the Christmas break, Knoper said the paycheck curriculum will be ramped up a notch when the kids start paying taxes on the hallways (a form of road tax) and playgrounds.

I know when my parents started offering me money when i made the honor roll in 3rd grade, i started making the honor roll very quickly and continued to do it. Once i got into high school, i still did it even though the money i got was about the same as the money i got in 7th grade, but i did if for different reasons then. So i think this is a great idea, and hope that it goes well.


Procuring a handgun procurement study

Well, i tried the friend in accademia route, and got nothing. I sent out one FOIA request, and got a response back that directed me to the office below. I had a hard time finding this address, so i am going to publish this on the internet. I hope the government does not mind.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Gloria Marshall
Office of Investigations
425 I Street, NW – Rm 4038
Washington, DC 20536

Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear Ms. Marshall:

I am requesting the handgun procurement study, which the “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)” released a Request for Proposals in February 2004 and which “the ICE National Firearms and Tactical Training Unit” led. This study was conducted under the supervision of “the ICE National Firearms and Tactical Training Unit” and lasted a total of four months.

This study was mentioned in a department of homeland security press release here:

Included in this request, are all documents containing the test protocols, all documents containing the 50 characteristics used to arrive at a technical rating, all documents containing the final technical ratings and evaluations, all documents containing the final technical results and evaluations, all documents containing the results and evaluations of the battery “of environmental, reliability, durability, and other tests”, all documents containing laboratory analysis and armory inspections results and evaluations, and all documents containing past performance information used “to select the winning contractors.”

Documents excluded from this request are pricing information and final contract information.

In order to help to determine my status to assess fees, you should know I am not seeking this information for commercial use, but for personal use.

I am willing to pay fees for this request up to a maximum of $50.00. If you estimate that the fees will exceed this limit, please inform me first. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Enclosed is the response I received from my local Immigration Service when I placed my request for the same documents with them.



Wednesday, December 01, 2004

UN unveils sweeping blueprint for reform

Important parts:

"The United Nations unveiled a sweeping proposal to overhaul the organization, including the Security Council, in what would be the biggest UN reform since its founding in 1945."

"What is needed is a comprehensive system of collective security, one that tackles both old and new threats, and addresses the security concerns of all states -- rich and poor, weak and strong," Annan said in an introduction to the report.

He said the proposals, which must be approved by member nations, set out "a broad framework for collective security and indeed gives a broader meaning to that concept appropriate for the new millennium."

In setting out a blueprint for collective security decisions, the report also takes implicit aim at the United States over the Iraqi war, which was strongly opposed by Annan and many Security Council member states.

"There is little evident international acceptance of the idea of security being best preserved by a balance of power or by any single -- even benignly motivated -- superpower," the panel said.

"The yearning for an international system governed by the rule of law has grown," it said. "No state, no matter how powerful, can by its own efforts alone make itself invulnerable to today's threats."

"It outlines three principles for collective security -- that current threats go beyond national boundaries, that no nation is strong enough to defend itself alone, and that not every nation will be willing or able to protect its own people or refrain from harming its neighbours."

Revamping the Security Council, the top UN decision-making body, is likely to be the most contentious issue, and the panel itself came up with two competing proposals for expanding the council's membership to 24 seats.

One method would add six new permanent members to the council, which has had the same five permanent states -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- since the United Nations was founded in the wake of World War II.

That proposal would also add three new non-permanent members to the 10 current non-permanent members, who hold rotating two-year seats.

The six new permanent seats, without the veto power that the current five have, would be allotted to two nations from Asia, two from Africa, one from Europe and one from the Americas.

The other proposal would create a third tier of council member nations, which would be given four-year, non-permanent seats, which could be renewed.

I know i have quoted most of the article, but i thought it was important enough to do so.

My thoughts.

Revamping the security council is not enough, you must do away with it and provide all countries a vote on security issues with measures requiring a three fifths requirement to pass.

Security is collective and not limited to size, location, or wealth. The UN security council treats it as it is. This allows America to make a case directly to the countries, and providing information as needed to convince the reluctant ones. This would also allow the UN security council to take up clear cut regional issues, such as the Sudan issue. This will also have the effect of security the most discussed aspect of the UN.

This could also have the effect of making it nearly impossible to do anything inside of the UN inside of a security context. I personally do not have a problem with that because it would make all member countries more aware of the fact that UN cannot do jack if you are attacked.

Changing the security council to a majority rules situation would solve the veto problem, but i do not see that happening anytime soon.

As to the "no nation is strong enough to defend itself alone" comment. I would agree, but can the UN do any better in it's current configuration or future configurations?