Friday, March 07, 2008

My new Laser Grip is here

Very exciting for the SSJ resident gun nut. I'll try my new Crimson Trace Laser Grip at the range this weekend.

I've noticed as I've, ahem, aged, that as my vision goes nuts (I've been nearsighted forever but am now nearsighted and farsighted), my ability to aim has deteriorated. That is a problem.

Wearing contacts, having to put on readers to be able to sight my pistol, putting on the safety glasses on top of that, having to nod my head to focus my readers to sight the pistol, and nodding again to use the contacts to focus on the target...well, one can see the difficulties.

Hopefully I will now just have to focus on the target and lose the readers.

Leningrad Cowboys

The "Joe's Bar" clip is apparently from this movie. I doubt the bar is real, at least really in Houston.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


I made the decision (or at least started thinking about it) to cross-over at least a few days before the radio folks started talking about it.

My mayor can beat up your mayor

From the Austin American Statesman:

Wynn said he values the therapy and that "anger can be one of the topics."

"It helps me," Wynn said.

The mayor made the comments in a news conference at his office this morning, two days after Travis County prosecutors charged him with assaulting a man at his condominium building during a party in March 2006. Wynn posted a $500 bond Tuesday and has been ordered by a justice of the peace to either perform 20 hours of community service or seek private counseling before May 2. A court order said the Class C misdemeanor charge would be dismissed if Wynn meets those conditions.

The funny part of this deal is I actually know him a little bit. We were inducted into a local service organization on the same day about 4 1/2 years ago. He's played in golf foursomes behind me and in front of me and ... he's a really nice guy.

Cross Over Voting

I had to shame C into not voting Democratic on Tuesday. When we got to the polling location, there was a big line for the Dems - no one in line for the other side. She had been talking crossing over for several days, so I quite loudly started voicing my opinions about do so. Perverting the primary process, destroying the democratic process, being a sheep for all the right-wing radio pundits, etc. It worked - she went to the right (was it coincidence that upon entering the room, the Dem line was to the left and the Republican line was to the right?

Later that evening, I made the mistake of watching election coverage on both Fox and CNN (to prove how fair and balanced I am). It was nauseating. Going on and on and on about the 1% precincts reporting and what message was being sent. Graphics and so much crap going horizontally and vertically across the screens it was making me dizzy. And on CNN, double digit "experts" talking about who-knows-what. And when the vote total changed by 10 votes, Wolf would almost have a stroke. I lasted about 20 minutes before I had to turn it off.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

SSJ in Cyrillic

I notice we had a four minute visitor from St. Petersburg.

It takes couple of seconds to load.

Eating a Second Sandwich

Ok, I haven't fully consumed the first sandwich but Michael's MN Cousin (I note that she now has a Blogger ID) has quite properly chided me on my New Hampshire cross-over comment. I hereby retract and admit I was wrong, really wrong. Goes a long way in completely destroying my already microscopic credibility. I had to confess to the person at the office to whom I first put the point. I don't know how I got my fact so wrong. I suppose I had relied on something anecdotal I'd heard.

I also wasted the better part of the afternoon trying to find evidence to support my position to no avail.

I'll be more careful going forward.

In hindsight, there was way too much on the line so early in the process for the really to much in the way of Democrat cross-over anyway. It would have been much more likely in Michigan or Florida where, I assume, many Democrats probably would have felt that a vote in the Democrat primary would not mean a lot.

Having said all that, I still wouldn't characterize all such cross-over votes, including my own, as insincere. Is crossing over less pure? Sure, but I don't think it insincere.

Prison Population in US

From one of the centers of the Pew Charitable Trusts called the Pew Center on the States, a look at our prison population of more than one percent of our adult population is now incarcerated. It's a long pdf but at least take time to cruise the graphs.

Re: New Hampshire Votes

From the Union Leader and CNN:

But CNN's exit polls showed 37 percent of Republican primary voters were self-described independents, and 39 percent of them went for McCain, while 27 percent supported Romney. Romney had expected a big advantage among registered Republicans but the two broke even in that category, CNN said.

Maybe I should have just said Independent voters. Certainly there is much less reason for Democrats to be crossing over this year. I was probably being defensive after having my character impugned.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

'fess up

Who lost the links?

I hope it wasn't me.

Political Hijinx

Voted for Hillary.

Update: am confused at the attacks I've taken today (not here but at the office, our reader is too sophisticated). I've committed some kind of ethical breach in spite of the fact that the rules established by the D Party allow my participation. If one wants only D voters to vote, make it a closed primary.

For every D attack I've suffered today, when confronted with the fact that McCain won New Hampshire (and other states) on the strength of Independent and D crossover votes, the claim is, "I didn't know that."

HH is uneasy about the strategy ("they did a bad, bad thing") but I have more reasons than most. I live in a county that is entirely Blue (in a state that will undoubtedly go Red) so I have no choice but to ignore or choose the lesser of two evils on the down-ticket. Further, between the two D senators, I prefer the one for whom I voted because they're trying to kill us (Michael, you convinced me of that in spite of today's moderate protest of my action..."I don't want an incompetent in times like these." ).

Monday, March 03, 2008

Imprimus Speaker on Nuclear Energy

Another reason why I love this publication. Thanks, Hillsdale College. William Tucker on NE:

Consider: At an average 1,000 megawatt coal plant, a train with 110 railroad cars, each loaded with 20 tons of coal, arrives every five days. Each carload will provide 20 minutes of electricity. When burned, one ton of coal will throw three tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We now burn 1 billion tons of coal a year—up from 500 million tons in 1976. This coal produces 40 percent of our greenhouse gases and 20 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.

By contrast, consider a 1000 megawatt nuclear reactor. Every two years a fleet of flatbed trucks pulls up to the reactor to deliver a load of fuel rods. These rods are only mildly radio-active and can be handled with gloves. They will be loaded into the reactor, where they will remain for six years (only one-third of the rods are replaced at each refueling). The replaced rods will be removed and transferred to a storage pool inside the containment structure, where they can remain indefinitely (three feet of water blocks the radiation). There is no exhaust, no carbon emissions, no sulfur sludge to be carted away hourly and heaped into vast dumps. There is no release into the environment. The fuel rods come out looking exactly as they did going in, except that they are now more highly radioactive. There is no air pollution, no water pollution, and no ground pollution.

I've got to figure out who this guy is but I'll trust Hillsdale for now.


As the hair from my head falls and the hairs on my face grow grey (I prefer silver, or grey over gray), I heard for the first time today from a colleague how distinguished I'm becoming.


The Derb on inflationary medical costs...


The other day I had the opportunity to ask an actual economist this question [why a technologically driven medical industry’s prices increase while similar industries’ prices decline] —
a Nobel-Prize-winning economist, in fact. He gave me a brisk economist’s answer: “Because someone else is paying for it.” Well, … but for most Americans, this is true.

What’s to be done? All the proposals coming out of the presidential candidates’ campaigns amount to making the “someone else pays” principle more universal, which doesn’t seem to me a very promising approach. I mean, it might get me off the hook by turning everyone else into a “someone else”; but when choosing among political options, we should be mindful of what is good for the nation at large, not merely what is good for ourselves.

Is there a way out? Possibly. A friend tells me: “About a year ago my wife had an endoscopy done while we were in China on business. The cost was 150 yuan, less than twenty dollars. Recently in Arizona she had the same procedure. This time the bill came to $3,776.12. The only difference being in China they let her take the picture home with her.”

Seems to me there is a terrific arbitrage opportunity here for Chinese doctors, dentists, and hospitals. According to
The Economist, they are hungry for patients anyway. The China trip wouldn’t be appropriate for all medical situations, of course. If you fall off a ladder and break your leg, hobbling to the airport for a China flight isn’t really your preferred option. It does seem surprising, though, that the Third World isn’t getting more of our medical business. I’m betting this will change.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Hey, what happened to our links?

Red Russian Army Choir & Leningrad Cowboys sing Sweet Home Alabama

John J. Miller at the Corner says this is why we had to win the Cold War.

Full-length song here.

Apparently the Leningrad Cowboys are Finns.

Coulda been worse, coulda been Free Bird.

Um, it is worse, there's these:

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door


Stairway to Heaven (almost Free Bird)

My personal fave...the Army guy is pretty darned good, Happy Together

and, for Michael, Those Were the Days

or, sans the Red Army Choir:

My Way

And from Joe's Place in Houston??????

Born to be Wild

Who but me actually owns Uriah Heep’s original? Easy Livin'

Tax Policy 101

I think I have this radio ad quote exactly transcribed, “We’ve got to stop giving tax breaks to companies that are moving overseas and give those tax breaks to companies that are investing in the United States of America. Enough is enough.”

Isn’t this exactly backward on its face? Aren’t those companies leaving to escape high taxes?

And why doesn’t anyone ever explain how corporate taxes are just national sales taxes anyway? We pay those taxes whenever we buy their (or the ultimately marketed) products or services.