Answering a Question With a Question

Instapundit asks:

ARE BLOGGERS a sickly lot?

I counter:

ARE BLOGGERS a fertile lot?

Evidence:

  • The Patriette:
      It will be the first time we’ve seen each other since I found out that I was pregnant back in September!
  • VodkaPundit:
      One last thing. Assuming I can get online from the hospital, I’ll be liveblogging the birth sometime in the next four-to-14 days. That is, assuming Melissa doesn’t break all my fingers in the process.
  • My beautiful wife:
      I’m still alive and well. Though not always feeling 100% of late, but that’s ok. There’s a little Noggle due to arrive on June 30, 2006.
  • Sarah K.
      ok, so we’re on the Disney Magic, having a magical time. we’ve just arrived back in our room after dinner at Palo, the super-fancy restaurant on the ship….

    (give them time, they’re just married….)

Sickly, but fertile? Or is the blogosphere just a large Tarot card dataset from which you can derive data to support any conclusion?

Eminent Domain By Any Other Name

The helpful city of St. Louis wants to relocate a corporate citizen:

After a raging fire destroyed the Praxair Inc. plant on Chouteau Avenue in June, St. Louis officials pledged to help the firm find a new location.

Pledge to help, of course, is a synonym for not renewing permits and, through regulatory rigamarole, preventing the corporation from repairing and reopening the facility in its present location. Because of an industrial accident that scared people, but ultimately didn’t hurt or kill anyone.

Fortunately, though, the city had some choice property on its hands that it could unload offer to the ungrateful company:

On Wednesday, the company said thanks, but no thanks. It said the site proposed is contaminated by remnants of the Manhattan Project.

“Praxair is not interested in building a new facility on a floodplain within a Superfund site where, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has indicated, there may be risks of radiological exposure,” Praxair Distribution President Wayne Yakich said in a statement.

So, as a result of this helpful assistance from the city of St. Louis, it will drive a private business from its municipality along with the employment and tax revenue that come from private businesses employing people. As a result, the city of St. Louis will break ground on another entertainment destination with a half life of 18 months to provide, briefly, low-paying service jobs or the city of St. Louis will offer tax breaks, incentives, and other regulatory foolery to draw some other business which has not caught fire recently to the city.

All in a day’s work for your city officials, who get a headline two-fer for driving out the evil, stand-alone corporations and bringing in the parasitic crony capitalist corporations.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Finds the Jews

Kudos to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and its investigative journalists for finding the Jews in the woodpile:

One of the hottest musical offerings of this holiday season may be a catchy radio jingle for a New Jersey-based vehicle donation program:

“1-877-KARS4KIDS. . . K-A-R-S, cars for kids . . . 1-877-KARS4KIDS. . . Donate your car today.”

The advertising spots, which have been airing on KMOX since before Thanksgiving, offer few details on the vehicle donation program. They tell listeners the program is a “recognized charity” and donors will receive a “maximum deduction” from the Internal Revenue Service for their vehicles. The ad also says donors will receive a “free vacation voucher” good for a three-day, two-night stay.

What is left unsaid, and what also is conspicuously absent from the charity’s Web site, is that almost all money raised through the Kars4Kids charity goes to a Lakewood, N. J.-based program set up to pay for private schooling and other educational programs. It aims to bring Jewish schoolchildren and adults closer to their heritage.

Curse those Hebes and their desire to teach Jewish children about Jewish culture!

How very investigatory of the Post-Dispatch to wade through a world full of Muslim charities collecting money to blow up innocents, Irish charities collecting money to fund the IRA, and Chinese Taoist charities collecting American defense secrets to sniff out the Zionists.

(Submitted to the Outside the Beltway Traffic Jam.)

True Internet History Fact

In 789, a band of raiders from a tribe in what would later become Holland crossed the English Channel and looked for easy prey and pillage. They eventually rounded the south of England and landed in Wales. For the next two years, they sacked and pillaged, and by 791 had completely stripped Wales of its vowels. Returning the their homeland, these proto-Dutch used the stolen vowels to garrishly adorn every name and many words in their native tongue.

It’s true: you read it on the Internet.

Book Report: A Specter Is Haunting Texas by Fritz Leiber (1968)

I bought this book as part of the much-vaunted by-and-sell-on-eBay thing I had going on in the early part of the century. I didn’t sell it, and I didn’t mark it a quarter in my own family yard sale; instead, I’ve read it. As you know, I’m on a neo-classic science fiction kick these last couple of weeks (see also my report on Man Plus by Frederik Pohl).

The book has the double-effect thing I enjoy so much. As a piece written in the late 1960s, it captures something of its time and the state of the science fiction of the era; however, its setting is hundreds of years hence. After colonizing the near solar system, the world fell into atomic warfare with which the colonists wanted nothing to do; as a result they evolved for life in free-fall. Meanwhile, the east and west coasts of America endure massive nuclear strikes which leave the fascist Texans safe to emerge as the rules who conquer the Americas and continue the struggle against the Chinese and the Russkies.

Oddly enough, although someone from the twenty-first century could look upon this and see blatant politicization-as a blogger, it’s my sacred duty–this book doesn’t contain any; the setting is simply the setting. Also, the author doesn’t have much to laud about the others in the book, whether the oppressed workers nor the Russian socialists. Instead, it’s all part of the setting, and it is what it is.

A thespian from the Sack–a free-fall colony near the moon–comes to Texas (as the whole Western hemisphere, give or take a couple hippie republics, is called) to stake a claim on an old family mine. As he’s unused to gravity, he wears an exoskeleton to function, and finds himself playing the role of the foretold leader of the revolution–or at least the figurehead as he plays the leader to earn his passage to his mining claim.

The voice fits the thespian from off the planet well, and the book is rather enjoyable. If you’re not too caught up on the latest science fiction, and if you can find a copy, it’s worth checking out.

Memo from the Academy

It’s supposed to be an op-ed about gender feminism run amok, but Lionel Tiger (seriously) proffers the following metaphor which reflects ill on its creator:

Into this acrimonious climate has whispered a breath of spring air in winter–an extraordinary document that may have surprising impact because of its severe countercultural implications and its almost sweet innocence of purpose. In early November, the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Men issued its first report (www.nh.gov/csm). The commission was proposed in a 1999 bill by state Rep. David Bickford. The House passed the bill, awarding a budget of $69,561. But months later, the state Senate stripped away funding. The commission was finally established in 2002. According to its report, the Senate’s effort to defund it reflects “the inaction of good people who apparently have been led to believe that legislative activity designed to primarily benefit men is somehow not appropriate politically, financially, or otherwise.”

To the contrary, the commission’s report frontally accepts that there are intrinsic differences in how men and women cope with health, education, responsibility and violence. It concludes that social policies must not begin by denying differences. If you’re running a zoo, know the real nature of your guests. This applies nationally, not only in New Hampshire.

Social policymakers, probably the government and its intelligentsia friends, are running the zoo. That makes you, gentle citizen, an animal for them to cage in Byzantine programs and Gordian knots of regulation.

Book Report: Mommy Knows Worst by James Lileks (2005)

I bought this book at the local Borders at full price because I enjoyed Interior Desecrations, and I cannot handle a day I don’t start with a Bleat. Also, Lileks’ is the life I want to live, to the point that I am shaving myself a high forehead to go totally all Single White Female. Perhaps I’m revealing too much and strengthening the case for a restraining order.

But anyway.

If you read it on the Internet, it must be true; ergo, I came into this book with a different set of expectations than a casual readers, and Lileks, like a jeweller with a loupe in, took his little hammer and shattered my crystalline acceptance about my upcoming next twenty years. There’s so much upon which I had not already dwelt. Like teething. For crying out loud, that’s going to last forever, and like the teeth will burst forth all snaggled from sealed gums….Although history has proven that most have survived this ordeal, I’m not looking forward to it.

So instead of reading this book with a knowing humor, with the shared knowledge of travails past, I have to look at it as a set of future tribulations, knowing that many of the quaint solutions we will apply will one day be the subject of Gnat’s sequel to her father’s work.

Who’s My Libertarian Candidate Next Time?

My Republican Senator, Jim Talent, thinks the Patriot Act requires fighting meth:

A conference report by Senate and House negotiators to extend for four years provisions of the USA Patriot Act includes a comprehensive anti-methamphetamine package restricting the sale of products containing ingredients needed to cook the drug and providing new tools to police and prosecutors to combat dealers.

Sens. Jim Talent, Missouri Republican, and Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, said the Combat Meth Act — together with anti-meth measures championed in the House — were included in the Reauthorization Conference Report filed Thursday.

Yea, verily, I shall not vote for Jim Talent in his re-election bid. And if that elevates the latest incarnation of Carnahanism (Russ, no doubt) to the Senate, who is to blame?

No doubt the Missouri Republicans would put me on that cross.

(Link seen on Instapundit. Click there, little brother; that poor Tennessee law professor needs the traffic.)

N00bs

Check out this guy. Trying to bask in my reflected fame, brah, is no way to read a book, as you’ll strain your eyes.

That’s right, it’s my semi-literate brother starting a blog. He’s got one insightful post with post-therapy recovered “memories”, but never fear, ladies….he’s got a full profile so you can see what a chunk of man he is.

Steinberg Bites Pit Bull Controversy

Neil Steinberg has the right perspective on the current municipal fad of banning individual breeds of dogs:

After a safety study found that most railway accidents involve the last car of the train, railroads started getting rid of the caboose.

An old joke. But a form of illogic still too often used. Eliminate the thing that seems to cause the problem. Consider the severe, burdensome restrictions — basically a ban — proposed in the City Council against pit bulls. Pit bulls often maul people because pit bulls are a popular, powerful dog that people train to be aggressive. Should they be banned, certain Chicagoans won’t stop wanting mean dogs — they will only shift to another breed that is also powerful and can be trained the same way. Lose the caboose, and the next car in line becomes the last car on the train. Rottweilers will be next, then bull terriers. Soon only pugs will be legal.

Steinberg is an optimist, of course; given how the mandatory non-smoking section in restaurants went to all restaurants and then all municipalities once the anti-smoking agitators got to legislating, why would anti-dog biting agitators leave pugs to kill and maim one person every millenia?

Book Report: Man Plus by Frederik Pohl (1976)

I bought this book as part of a sack of books for a buck on the last day of a library book fair in some rural southwestern Missouri county earlier this year. It’s a Stated First Edition, woo hoo! Unfortunately, it’s also a former library book, with all the stamps, scrawlings, and pockets, but a nice acetate cover anyway. Oddly enough, it’s a former Granite City library book, which means this book has been to Springfield and back in its limited lifetime.

But I digress. This book describes the progress of the Man Plus program, a program designed to modify a man to survive on the surface of Mars and to get that man to Mars. It’s a good old school science fiction piece, set in the near future for the time (the president in the book is the 42nd President, which we all know served in 1993-2001. It features an limited omniscient narrator who uses the third person the identify interested onservers who are not a part of the Man Plus project, but who direct it from behind the scenes. This compelling little mystery kept me turning the pages and offers some foreshadowing that keep the story moving.

Overall, a good book, the kind I ate up in my formative years to make me the lesser geek I am today.

And for those of you keeping score at home, this book marks my 94th read of the year. Unless I start hitting the coloring books, I won’t make 100 this year, but my goal was 70, so I did well. Of course, I haven’t met any of my other personal goals this year, and I likely won’t read this many next year with the impending lifestyle change upcoming, but I’m rather pleased with my bookishness this year.

Book Report: Firestarter by Stephen King (1980)

I bought this book a long, long time ago when I was doing the eBay thing. Undoubtedly, I bought it for a buck or less and hoped to turn that into a quick three or four dollars, minus eBay’s cut of fifty cents plus twenty percent plus PayPal’s quarter plus twenty percent plus whatever shipping cost over what I charged plus the cost of packaging compounded with the cost of gas to the post office and my time in preparing and shipping the item. In retrospect, perhaps my bottom line is better off that I didn’t actually sell the book on eBay. Now that I’ve come to better appreciate Stephen King, my library is certainly better off.

As you probably already know, gentle reader, this book deals with a father and his daughter on the run from a clandestine government organization called the Shop. A participant in a small study while in college, Andy McGee (the father) found that he had special abilities beyond those of normal men. He married another participant, and together they begot the very special titular pyrokinetic daughter Charlene. The clandestine officials kill the mother and pursue the father and daughter so they can study them and perhaps use the child’s power on the Russkies. Hell, you know how it works out, sorta; you remember the Drew Barrymore movie, back when it was startling that the little girl from E.T. could be dangerous–back before the little girl who played the little girl from E.T. became actually dangerous.

The book moves along quickly and captures not only early King narrative, but also some of the zeitgeist of the time. Unfortunately, the book’s ending also reflects that zeitgeist, without any cathartic retribution or quiet return of the hero to normalcy; no, we get an indication that the child will tell her story to the one periodical that will stick it to the man, a periodical of some influence at the time, perhaps, but not any more. Of course, it wasn’t 2005 in 1980, so I couldn’t certainly expect Charlie McGee to start a blog, but come on.