On Hewitt’s Side

Perhaps this fellow is a part of Hewitt’s rank and file:

A man was arrested after trying to steal a weapon from a gun shop so he could “take some action and rescue Terri Schiavo,” authorities said.

Michael W. Mitchell, of Rockford, Ill., entered Randall’s Firearms Inc. in Seminole just before 6 p.m. Thursday with a box cutter and tried to steal a gun, said Marianne Pasha, a spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Although one would hope that “Hewitt’s Side” is staffed by people who are generally smarter than to try to rob a gun store with a box cutter.

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Build a Meme Workshop

This morning, Weber and Dolan (teh best morning radio show evar!!!1!) asked listeners what albums they could sing from memory. I didn’t call in because I would have filled the segment myself.

Not that you care, but here’s a partial enumeration of albums I could sing end-to-end were they playing (although for many, I am taken aback when they’re played on CD and there’s no pause between the song at the end of side 1 and the beginning of side 2).

So, anyway:

  • 52nd Street by Billy Joel
  • Glass Houses by Billy Joel
  • An Innocent Man by Billy Joel
  • Piano Man by Billy Joel
  • Greatest Hits Volume 1 by Billy Joel
  • Greatest Hits Volume 2 by Billy Joel
  • Scoundrel Days by a-ha
  • Hunting High and Low by a-ha
  • Stay on These Roads by a-ha
  • East of the Sun, West of the Moon by a-ha
  • Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
  • Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd
  • Animals by Pink Floyd
  • The Wall by Pink Floyd
  • A Momentary Lapse of Reason by Pink Floyd
  • Flesh and Blood by Poison
  • Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich by Warrant
  • David Gilmour by David Gilmour
  • About Face by David Gilmour
  • Sports by Huey Lewis and the News
  • A Pocket Full of Kryptonite by The Spin Doctors
  • I’m Your Man by Leonard Cohen
  • These Eyes by The Guess Who
  • The Return of Bruno by Bruce Willis
  • No Time to Kill by Clint Black
  • Repeat Offender by Richard Marx
  • No Fences by Garth Brooks
  • Greatest Hits Volume 1 by The Eagles
  • The Scattering by Cutting Crew
  • David Gilmour by David Gilmour
  • Weird Al Yankovic by Weird Al Yankovic
  • Dare to Be Stupid by Weird Al Yankovic

What can I say? I listened to these things over and over in my high school and college years. Note that none of these albums dates past 1994. Telling.

Now, you play. What albums could you sing every song on if that album is playing?

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Hugh Hewitt Excludes Me

Hugh Hewitt, responding to something by Andrew Sullivan that I haven’t and won’t read, says there’s no conservative crack-up occurring:

On this side, Andrew, the ABC polling team, Charles Fried and –sort of– William F. Buckley and some additional, talented essayists. On the other side –my side– the president, all of the leadership of the GOP in the House and the Senate, every possible GOP presidential candidate who has spoken on the issue, all but Boortz of the vaunted “Republican noise machine,” and the rank and file.

Hewitt enumerates a large number of elected leaders and the only voters he names are the rank and file. That is, the dyed-on-the-sheep conservatives.

However, those elected leaders didn’t get elected by just the rank and file. Bush was elected with a coalition of moral/religious conservatives, libertarian-conservatives, and hawkish Democrats. During the election season, I was pleased with how inclusive the Republican electorate was becoming. Now, after the election, it’s condensing to its rank and file “Hewitt’s side” is sacrificing government constraint and government fiscal discipline to legislate its morality.

Now that Hewitt and his side have gotten my libertarianesque vote in the election cycle, they’re ready to excommunicate me from the Republican orgy. I, and some of the others not on Hewitt’s side, will remember this next election cycle. When a third party candidate comes along with just enough strength to draw our protest votes and the Clintonocracy is restored to the throne, will Hewitt’s side learn its lesson?

Probably not. But the last time we had a Republican legislature and a Clinton presidency, it worked out to the best for domestic policy. The Republicans wouldn’t give Clinton what he wanted, and Clinton could veto what Hewitt’s side wanted. Of course, the United States lost ground in foreign policy and international safety, but perhaps we need to toggle between good domestic policy and good foreign policy every decade or so to keep the republic as healthy as possible.

Which, unfortunately, seems only to be heroic measures at the end of the republic’s life.

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A Technology Consumers Won’t Embrace

Ever need to phone 7,000 people at once?

If you ever need to get in touch with several–or several thousand–people at once, Send Word Now has the software for you.

The New York City-based start-up is promoting a communication application at PC Forum that lets a user type a message on a PC that then transforms into a phone call to a few people, or a few thousand. (PC Forum is owned by CNET Networks, owner of News.com.)

Though the urgent message currently needs to be typed into a PC (or broadcast from a company’s server farm), on April 7, Send Word Now will announce that customers can broadcast messages with a Palm handheld.

Wonder how companies will use this technology, huh? Two words: Phone Spam.

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Do Not Eat

A study commissioned by a number of environmental groups interested in regulating chemicals has uncovered, in a shocking twist, that your house contains things that the environmental groups want to regulate more (Study finds toxic chemicals in dust samples from U.S. households):

Americans are exposed to a variety of potentially dangerous chemicals in their homes from products such as computers, frying pans and shower curtains, according to a new study released Tuesday.

The study, called “Sick of Dust,” found 35 hazardous industrial chemicals in household dust samples from 70 homes in seven states, including California. It was commissioned by nine environmental groups, including the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland and the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition in San Jose.

“It literally brings home the fact that hazardous chemicals are in our daily lives,” said Beverly Thorpe, international director for Clean Production Action, one of the study’s sponsors. “We feel now is a prime opportunity to overhaul chemical regulation in the United States.”

The researchers tested the dust samples for six types of chemicals, including pesticides and flame retardants. All the chemicals are legal, but many are known to be harmful to immune, respiratory, cardiovascular and reproductive systems. They said infants and young children are especially vulnerable to exposure.

I should have chipped in a couple dollars since this also proves a maxim of mine: Do not eat the dust bunnies.

I’d like to take a moment to elaborate on this thesis and enumerate some other things I don’t think you should put in your mouth or slide down your gullet:

  • Dust brontosauri. If you’re like me, your dust has clung together in much larger beasts than mere bunnies; these are probably worse and more toxic than mere dust bunnies, although they’re just as cuddly and furry.
  • Color newspaper inserts. Although the richly-colored flame-broiled burgers look appetizing, and come to think of it, so do the vinylly-sided homes, the colored inks might, in fact, be bad for you. So I implore you to do what I do, stick to the healthy black inks and eat only news pages.
  • Charcoal briquette residue. Although the fine grey powder does provide a noticeable high when snorted, it also brings the risk of mockery and various and sundry cancers.
  • Windex. You know, Mai Tais just don’t look right without a touch of something blue, but you should choose Boone’s Farm Apple Wine Product instead of any glass cleaning product. Listen, Mr. Yuck was right.
  • Insect carcasses after the exterminator has left. I don’t care if Fear Factor is your favorite television show, the reason that the bugs are now easier to catch is that their little bodies are pumped full of poison. If you break the record for ants consumed in an hour, it might be your finest hour, but it could also be your final hour. Chocolate covering is not an antidote.

Face it, the world is full of substances that could hurt or kill you, and the government cannot regulate them all. If you’re really having that much trouble keeping toxic substances out of your mouth, perhaps you should consult with your psychoanalyst and see if he or she can get you promoted to the next stage of psychosexual development.

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Forget Taiwan

Same old story, underplayed as usual: Report: China Faces Severe Water Shortages:

China’s already severe water shortages are worsening due to heavy pollution of lakes and aquifers and urban development projects with a big thirst for water, such as lawns and fountains, state media reported.

More than 100 cities have inadequate water supplies, with more than half “seriously threatened,” the official Xinhua News Agency cited Qiu Baoxing, a vice minister of construction, as saying.

“The uneven distribution of the limited resource and serious pollution further deteriorate the situation,” Qiu said.

In Beijing, for example, each resident has access to only 10,593 cubic feet of water a year, compared with the world average of 35,310 cubic feet, Xinhua said in a separate report.

That reminded me of an article I read in the November 1997 edition of The Atlantic Monthly entitled “Our Real China Problem” by Mark Hertsgaard (available online to subscribers here) which documents the impact of China’s population growth and industrialization on China’s environment. Excerpt:

At least five of the cities with the worst air pollution in the world are in China. Sixty to 90 percent of the rainfall in Guangdong, the southern province that is the center of China’s economic boom, is acid rain. Since nearly all the gasoline in China is leaded (Beijing switched to unleaded gas in June), and 80 percent of the coal isn’t “washed” before being burned, people’s lungs and nervous systems are bombarded by an extraordinary volume and variety of deadly poisons. One of every four deaths in China is caused by lung disease, brought about by the air pollution and the increasingly fashionable habit of cigarette smoking. Suburban sprawl and soil erosion gobbled up more than 86 million acres of farmland from 1950 to 1990 — as much as all the farmland in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. Farmland losses have continued in the 1990s, raising questions about China’s ability to feed itself in years to come, especially as rising incomes lead to more meat-intensive diets.


Beijing has so little water that Party leaders have questioned whether the city can remain the capital, according to Yu Yuefeng, the staff director of the Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Conservation Committee of the National People’s Congress. With a nervous chuckle, Yu told me that the problem has eased in the past two years, thanks to higher than normal rainfall, but, he conceded, “This is a roll of the dice. We have to rely on the gods to keep the rains coming.” In his privileged Party position Yu can afford to laugh. The problem is not so amusing for some 50 million people in rural northern China who must walk for miles or wait for days to obtain any drinking water at all. As for farmland, population growth has reduced the supply per person to about the size of one third of a tennis court.

That article appeared seven and a half years ago.

If China wants to conquer, Taiwan might only be a starting point. If China goes the militaristic conqueror route, it will need clean land, arable land and fresh water. Which would worry me if I shared a frontier with China.

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The Hottest Thing Since

Apparently, entrepreneurs have decided that some people don’t want to sing a la karaoke; they want to lip synch comedy routines:

Karaoke is soooooo 1990s. For those who’d rather make people laugh at their punch lines than cringe at their high notes, the new wave in participatory entertainment is Joke-e-oke.

The premise behind Joke-e-oke is that, at some level, everyone wants to be a comedian. It’s a form of entertainment software that allows people, momentarily, to realize this ambition while emulating the classic comedy routines of their favorite comedians.

The idea for Joke-e-oke is simple. It’s basically karaoke with stand-up comedy material. Many dream of the chance to be a comedian with killer material in front of a laughing crowd. With Joke-e-oke, people are able to live out their comedy fantasy of being their favorite comedian onstage, choosing from a list of stand-up comedy icons to perform. A built in laugh track is added, timed perfectly to accent punch lines.

Wow, those whacky entrepreneurs will try anything! But seriously, I think this will be the hottest thing since Movieoke, which is at least six degrees Kelvin above absolute zero.

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Red Herring?

How come I haven’t heard Terry Wallis mentioned at all by those who want to save Terri Schiavo.

Granted, comatose ain’t vegetative, but still, I would expect some comparison.

UPDATE: Because in this highly-complicated case in which most commentators have incomplete or inadequate knowledge, it’s important to introduce more incomparable situations as direct metaphors for the possibilities. Obfuscation through opination. That’s the other thing the blogosphere does best.

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The Longest Yard

In San Francisco, high school athletic officials have banned the postgame handshake and goodsportsmanship greetings after girls’ soccer games:

A series of ugly run-ins between girls soccer teams in San Francisco’s high schools has prompted a ban on that proverbial act of good sportsmanship — the post-game handshake.

Not only that, but “all soccer players will be barred from saying a single word to their opponents, opposing coaches or officials upon the conclusion of every soccer game,” Donald Collins, the school district’s high school athletic commissioner, decreed in an e-mail to all coaches and referees Monday.

So instead of winners and losers exchanging friendly or even perfunctory high-fives, “all soccer players will immediately proceed to their respective sidelines upon the conclusion of every soccer game,” Collins commanded.

You know, one of the arguments against home schooling is that public schools help socialize children. There’s your socialization, ma’am: socialized like inmates, not allowed to interact with those from different high schools to show that the participants understand the limited nature of the game and understand that although they have competed fiercely, they respect each other.

Just because a few girls didn’t. So the schools will socialize to the lowest common denominator, which will always prove to be a half step above animal given human nature.

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Outside What Box?

While declining to support a local sales tax increase for some communities in Wisconsin so that those communities could then spend the money, Wisconsin state senator Alberta Darling had some confusing praise:

“I applaud them for thinking outside the box, but I don’t want to add another tax,” Darling said.

Adding another tax is outside the box? A sales tax increase represents creativity in government in the suburbs of Milwaukee?

Pardon my skepticism, but that doesn’t sound new at all. It sounds rather….common for government “leaders.”

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The Noggle Blitzed

You know, I don’t normally play chess because most knowledgeable opponents recognize the Noggle Blitz for what it really is–a shortsighted attempt to take as many of the opponent’s pieces as fast as possible while sowing confusion with those inexplicable queen-for-knight swaps.

Of course, I don’t normally drink hard liquor either. But this Shot Glass Chess Set might make me take up both. Take a piece, do a shot!

I wonder what the blogosphere’s resident chessophile would think?

UPDATE: Pejman says what he thinks.

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What Did You Think Would Happen, Casinoport?

November, 2004: Maryland Heights voters pass Proposition D, which charges wireless companies $1000 per communications tower (city press release announcing proposition here; results here and here; mayor does happy dance over his new revenue in city newsletter PDF here)

March, 2005: news in my wireless bill:

Attention Chesterfield, Manchester, Maryland Heights, Vinita Park, and Wellston MO Customers

Next month, we will begin collecting a City business license surcharge of 5.0 percent (5.5 percent in Maryland Heights) to recover the cost of a business license tax that the City claimes must be paid by Verizon Wireless. This surcharge will appear in the Verizon Wireless Surcharges section of your bill as the item labeled CITY BUS LIC SURCHG. This surcharge is a Verizon Wireless charge, not a tax, and is subject to change. If ytou have any questions or concerns about the City’s imposition of its business license tax on wireless companies, please contact your elected City officials at 636-537-4000 (Chesterfield), 636-227-1385 (Manchester), 314-291-6550 (Maryland Heights), 314-428-7373 (Vinita Park) or 314-385-1015 (Wellston).

Some of us saw that coming and recognize that a business tax–even those the City wants to spend on beautification projects of all things–get passed onto the customers. Verizon’s surcharge is very upfront; in most cases, these additional taxes designed to soak corporations just get rolled into price increases, and the consumer and city resident pays for them anyway.

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Not Quite The Victim

Agency says school chief bought less than $2,000 in gambling credits: Official embezzled $844,477, said he had gambling problem:

Gambling records at Missouri’s 11 riverboat casinos indicate that a former northwest Missouri school superintendent who stole more than $844,000 from his school district bought less than $2,000 in slot machine credits or table game chips since 2001.

Ronnie Gene DeShon, former superintendent of the Pattonsburg School District, admitted in federal court earlier this month that he embezzled $844,477 over four years. He said he used to money to feed his gambling addiction.

But Troy Stremming, president of the Missouri Riverboat Gaming Association, said if DeShon lost hundreds of thousands of dollars gambling, it wasn’t at Missouri’s riverboat casinos. Gambling records at the riverboat casinos indicate that DeShon bought less than $2,000 in slot machine credits or table game chips since 2001.

I would say the embezzler played the victim card, but he wasn’t playing cards at all. Instead, he pushed an obvious sympathy button to lessen his punishment.

Like this guy, I took money from my employer’s account last year and deposited it in my personal account, although I understand this is less of an issue when you’re self-employed. In case it’s not, I want to document my addictions and disorders that led me to this sad low:

  • Sex.
  • Coffee.
  • Beer.
  • Sprecher’s Root Beer.
  • Yellow Tail Shiraz/Cabernet.
  • Gambolling.
  • Napping.
  • Reading.

Does that press your sympathy button, or your envy button?

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Tomorrow’s Anti-Gun Arguments Today

From this Haaretz article:

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Interior Ministry has begun placing restrictions on the use of weapons by Palestinian militants, Palestinian security officials said Monday, a step toward fulfilling a long-standing Israeli demand that the armed groups be dismantled.

A Palestinian security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Interior Ministry has distributed a letter outlining weapons restrictions to hundreds of militants in the West Bank.

The restrictions limit militants to a single weapon, and bar them from loading the weapons or carrying them in public, the official said. He said the measure obligates militants to license the weapons with the Interior Ministry and forbids them from changing their serial numbers.

Many militants possess more than one weapon.

Watch for Feinstein or Schumer to start saying, “Even Palestinian militants can only have one weapon; why should US citizens be allowed more?”

(Link seen on Roger L. Simon.)

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