Saturday, June 22, 2002
Can someone explain to me the definition of the title of "Educator"? In what way does it differ from "teacher" or "professor"?
A guest editorial in today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer, was written by Louise M. Wisechild, an "educator" and author. Her article is a standard issue snivel about the evils of big business, out to destroy the environment, poison the populace, and trample the "workers" (sometimes referred to as "employees") under them. She also launches a broadside against the defense industry.
An online search reveals that she is indeed a published author, with at least three books under her belt. However, none of the 71 citations google found on her defined her specialty, or where she teaches. (Her books deal with the subject of adult survivors of incest, possibly from a feminist angle, as a number of the citations lead to feminist organizations).
The only other writing of hers I was able to find online was this article, which appears to be yet another indictment against a military response to the September 11 attacks, and an assault on the military itself. It sounds like something written by Susan Sontag, only more forcefully anti-military.
Perhaps my association with the armed forces is causing me to overreact, but I have developed a great deal of enmity towards this woman from her writings. Would she call me a baby-killer or a warmonger if we were to meet? I cannot say. Color me offended.
UPDATE: 23 June/19:55 Dr. Weevil has found a wonderful satire by Saki, written in 1923, that captures the mindset of people such as Dr. Wisechild, and provides a plausible response to such an attitude. Go here to read his post, an excerpt from "The Toys of Peace", and a link to the entire text. Many thanks to the Doc for the ultimate rebuttal.
posted at 01:29 PM | permalink | Comments (4)
Headline of the day
Both the print and online versions of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer carry an editorial with this headline:
Right decision not to execute retarted
posted at 01:02 PM | permalink | Comments (1)
New look for Spoons
The Spoons Experience has a new look, courtesy of Stacy Tabb, at Sekimori. One blog at a time, they are making the blogosphere a nicer place to view. Check the new site out, and if you are a blogger looking for a slick new look, give Stacy and Robyn a yell. They are top-notch in all respects.
posted at 10:19 AM | permalink | Comments (0)
Friday, June 21, 2002
More Search requests
Some of the requests that have brought people here recently:
+blog +response +comment (Somehow, I am the number one return on this search)
arabic sex site pic (I was somewhere between 111-120 when the search was run; it's changed since then)
israeli odds bombings target gamble palestinian (another number one; I have no idea what this guy was looking for)
Netenyahu self-hatred (this is a little more obvious, and a lot more offensive)
westerfield conspiracy theory (rolls eyes, shakes head)
And of course, last but not least we have horologium, which was hit three times in the last week. For those who are curious, Horologium is another constellation. It comes from Latin, and the literal translation is "clock", hence the graphic and the (bad) pun for a motto.
I also had at least two searches for specific names of people who are not particularly notorious, so I assume they are auto-googling. I will not name them, as there is no need to embarass them.
posted at 08:38 PM | permalink | Comments (2)
Amtrak is broken...
...and needs major work to be fixed.
Daily Pundit linked the article I wish to discuss, but I have a lot to say about this subject. (Make sure to read the comments at his site, as they are germane to my argument).
The article discusses some of the changes that have been proposed for Amtrak, but the biggest money drain on the railroad is only touched upon brieflylong-distance routes. Amtrak CANNOT compete against the airlines for long-distance travel, and it is blindingly obvious to even the most casual observer.
Case in point: I will be traveling to Florida for two weeks in late July/early August. A quick search on Travelocity found a fare on Northwest Airways for $261.50. It had one connection each way (in Minneapolis) and would take about 8 hours each way (allowing for time zone changes and the layover in MSP). By contrast, the Amtrak trip would entail two train changes (in Chicago and Washington, DC) and would take 4 DAYS each way. To top it off, the Amtrak ticket would cost $425, more than 60% higher than the air fare.
Amtrak is caught in a dual mandate, one that they cannot possibly hope to fulfill. They are simultaneously expected to make money and serve every little podunk town in the US. Many point to the European rail system as a model for Amtrak, but forget that the distances in the US are far greater than in the European countries (the distance between Seattle and Miami is slightly greater than the distance between Lisbon, Portugal, and Budapest, Hungary, which is a trip through at least seven different nations). Further, the US has a much higher proportion of people with cars, which lessens the need for trains. What works in Europe won't necessarily work here in the US.
Amtrak has profitable routesone in the NE corridor, between Boston and Washington, with service to cities in between, and the Pacific Surfliner, between San Diego and Los Angelesbut they are smothered by routes that serve very few passengers. One of the proposals is to break Amtrak up into several regional lines, with their own priorities and decision-making capabilities. This is a start. Another would be to look at the personnel issueAmtrak has a lot of employees on each train, and some are probably not needed. Significant cost savings could be realized by simply eliminating some of the extra positions currently required by union rules (the unions are going to have to work with the management on this issue, unless they want *all* of the jobs to go away.) By working with state and local governments, these smaller, more nimble companies could develop ways of moving larger numbers of people than Amtrak currently does, while recognizing that the days of transcontinental rail travel are over. Heavy rail along commuter lines might be a viable option, as the "baby Amtrak" could supply the rolling stock, and local governments would pay the traditional subsidies directly to the company (all heavy rail projects in the US receive subsidies; this is not going to change; the new companies would provide some competition to the companies that are formed to operate with these subsidies, however).
I feel that there is a place for Amtrak (I was a regular user of the train when I lived in San Diego, as I had friends who lived in Irvine; I used to take the train when I visited them every few months). If Amtrak can be transformed from its current money-pit on wheels to something that can at least break even, it should be considered a major victory.
posted at 08:06 PM | permalink | Comments (1)
Words fail me.
Arafat Said Ready to Accept Plan.
"The Plan" is what Ehud Barak proposed in 2000; the one that Arafat rejected as unacceptable.
(Link courtesy of JunkYardBlog.)
posted at 03:56 PM | permalink | Comments (1)
Abu Sayyaf Leader Killed?
Reuters has this item, which says that the Filipino army has apparently killed Abu Sabaya, the leader of the group that specializes in kidnapping.
One terrorist leader down, but still far too many to go. Hopefully, killing the leader of Abu Sayyaf will result in the disintegration of the group, which has been a scourge to the Philippines for quite some time.
posted at 01:47 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, June 20, 2002
PC in the Sports World
Since my previous post has put me into an ornery mood, I am going to take a whack at another subject which annoys me: sports teams and their mascots. (This article in today's Seattle Times started the gears in my mind on this subject). And I know it's not terribly original, as several bloggers have pontificated on the subject. However, I've not yet contributed to the discussion.
A number of Aboriginal Americans activists have been pressing to force sports teams (and by extension, college and high school mascots) to change their names because of a perceived bias towards the aforementioned groups. They have received support from many of the talking heads, and two of the more "progressive" daily newspapers, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and The Oregonian, refuse to identify teams such as the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians, except as "the team from Washington" or "the team from Cleveland".
While I can see that the term "Redskins" might be considered insensitive, and some might find the image of Cleveland's mascot irritating, I find the wholesale press to change team names to be wrong-headed, especially since those who presume to speak for their "people" do not enjoy universal support. The Times article cited above features one; another is the leader of the Seminole nation, who has given his blessing to Florida State University to use the image of a Seminole warrior as their mascot. The self-appointed spokespersons dismiss dissent as irrelevant; one must stay focused on the message.
The overarching theme for name changes (and perhaps one of the reasons I am so opposed to it) is Political Correctness. The appearance of sensitivity to Aboriginal Americans is one aspect; another is an attempt to soften the aggreesive tone of some of the teams' names. Ever wonder why the Washington Bullets became the Washington Wizards? The new owner felt that the old name glorified gun ownership.
I wonder what will be next on the chopping block. The Vikings, Fighting Irish, Orangemen, Spartans, Celtics, Cowboys, and Canucks are all caricatures of various ethnicities. The Saints and the Padres unfairly promote Christianity over other religions. The Titans trivialize the beliefs of the ancient Greeks. The Kings are oppressive towards womyn. The Hurricanes and the Cyclones might offend those who have suffered from weather phenomena. The Jets might offend Muslims who feel that the team recalls September 11. And of course, all teams named after animalsBlackhawks, Dolphins, Tigers, and even the Banana Slugsare insulting to Mother Nature and all of her children.
Of course, I have employed some particularly tortured logic to make my point, but I still think that it is a valid point.
posted at 08:26 PM | permalink | Comments (1)
WARNING: This post is a diatribe. While the language is not offensive, the thoughts expressed within may offend some. If you have delicate sensibilities, please skip to the next post, or hit the “back” button on your browser.
After hearing about yet another Islamakazi in Israel, I have come to the conclusion that the only appropriate course of action for Israel is to remove all Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip, which will become the state of Palestine. The wall that separates the Gaza from Israel shall be sealed (no entrances into Israel from Gaza) and shall be patrolled to prevent incursions.
The West Bank, from which all of the bombers originate, shall be formally annexed into the state of Israel. Residents of the West Bank will be offered a choice between Israeli citizenship and deportation. Those who stay (who are not likely to be those who plan to blow themselves up) will be afforded the full range of civil rights accorded all Israeli citizens. Leaders of groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizbollah are exempted from this—they (and their families) shall be deported, regardless of their stated desires. The Mossad know who these people are, and undoubtedly will be able to provide documentation to the outraged UN.
The schools present a particularly vexing problem, as they currently serve as a breeding ground for hate and glorification of martyrdom. Palestinian textbooks (all of them, regardless of subject) must be destroyed. New textbooks, in Arabic where applicable, that are not propaganda, shall be published as soon as possible. It may be too late to salvage some of the older students, but hopefully, teaching students instead of indoctrinating them will break the fetish of martyrdom.
Freedom of religion shall be respected, but since Islam is a religion of peace, incitement to violence shall result in the arrest and jailing of any cleric who advocates bombing or attacks upon other citizens of Israel, whether they are Muslim, Jew, or Christian.
There will be no negotiation, with Arafat or with any other “Palestinian” organization. The Palestinians can form whatever society they wish in their country, with its scenic view of the Mediterranean Sea. One can rest assured that they will receive plenty of developmental aid from Europe, and since it will be dedicated to a relatively small area, they will be able to create an Islamic paradise for all Palestinians.
posted at 07:31 PM | permalink | Comments (1)
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
Comments are back
Robyn has finished importing the comments from the old blog over here, so you can check out what was being said back in March, April, and May.
Also, there is a little button on the side for the terminally curious, to see where the last 50 referrals to this site originated. Charles Johnson over at Little Green Footballs is the creator of the script, which is pretty nifty.
If you haven't explored the site, check out the bio page, peruse my archives, and visit the sites on the right, especially the ones you haven't heard of before. They are an ecletic group, ranging from very liberal to very conservative, but all are interesting.
posted at 06:28 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
Sunday's Washington Post had an editorial about the futility of dealing with the District of Columbia's Superior Court in a mistaken child support collection case. While it appears to have been exasperating, it was nowhere near as bad as what men in California have endured. Los Angeles County, in particular, has taken a "collect child support regardless of the facts" stance, which has led to men paying child support even when DNA testing proves they are not the father.
Bill Quick discussed this situation earlier this week, and examples of Gil Garcetti's vendetta against men can be found in L.A. Weekly and the Alliance for Non-Custodial Parents Rights. This is an unconscionable violation of the Fourth Amendment rights of the men involved, because it is unquestionably an unreasonable seizure of their property (in these cases, the portion of their paychecks that is garnished to pay for children they did not father). Garcetti was removed from his post by the voters in 2000, but his toxic legacy lives on.
posted at 05:18 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, June 18, 2002
Making it Personal
Laurence Simon's file 13/Amish Tech Support is normally a witty, amusing blog. Today, he takes a moment to consider one of the most recent bombings, in this post. It's very powerful, and I don't even know Mr. Simon. Imagine the visceral reaction he must have felt.
Read it, and consider the implications.
Remember that Israel is a country of only six million people. We have *cities* with more people. There are few in Israel that have not had friends or relatives who have been witnesses or victims of the bombings.
(Link courtesy of Cut on the Bias and Craig Schamp.
posted at 01:35 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
After witnessing the dustup at Daily Pundit over the coinage or popularization of "blogosphere", I wonder if the world is ready for another new word. But I've never let controversy stop me from putting my foot in it, so here goes.
"Blitherati"the media anointed-experts (such as Paul Ehrlich) who have absolutely no clue. There are undoubtedly numerous other examples, but I am working overtime to keep my political biases from listing everyone that I think is mentally defective. Ehrlich is a safe choice because he has consistently sounded the same theme, and has been consistently been proven to be totally wrong.
There is a chance that someone will take offense to my characterization (thereby immortalizing the word), but it is more likely that it will disappear without a trace, like Chris Kanis's "blogerati".
FWIW, I did a google search and a dogpile search, and came up empty (12:10 pm, 18 June 2002). So as far as I can tell, I am the first to use this word. Let's see how this turns out.
posted at 12:24 PM | permalink | Comments (1)
Monday, June 17, 2002
Molly Ivins had a lot to say in her column today, but it is a combination of slanders, half-truths, and junk science. Let's take a look.
AUSTIN, Texas In the Most Chilling Quote category, consider this gem from Mitchell Daniels, director of the office of Management and Budget, concerning the administration's ongoing campaign to deregulate everything in sight: "We must learn to speak the vocabulary of consumer protection."
Oooo, Grandma, what big teeth you have! The Wall Street Journal did an admiring profile this week of the "regulatory czar," John D. Graham, who works for Mitchell. Graham, you may recall, was the subject of a peppy confirmation fight on account of he founded Harvard's Center for Risk Analysis. The center is heavily funded by business and industry groups and by individual businesses. You will be amazed to learn that the center often criticizes regulations disliked by the very people who give it money! Graham once claimed that government regulations kill 60,000 Americans a year, a figure that turned out to be ... evanescent.
Gee, a pro-business group that gets support from businessgo figure. I fail to see where that is a problem. Do you think that the groups that give wads of cash to environmental litigation groups are opposed to their activities and reports? As to the "60,000 deaths a year" claim, it isn't backed up by any stats, but then again the nanny-state advocates don't back their claims up with facts, either.
Graham said in a recent speech: "There is no grandiose plot to roll back safeguards. This administration is pursuing an agenda of smarter regulation." Ah, smarter regulation; well, that's different. The Journal appends a handy graph showing that on Czar Graham's watch, the Bush administration has rejected rules at the highest rate since President Reagan's first term.
This appears to be an attempt to show how evil Graham is, by invoking the spirit of the liberals' Anti-Christ. As far as I am concerned, I think it is a good thing that the person in charge of regulation isn't rubber-stamping everything that comes before him. We have too many regulations as it is; thorough review of a regulation is not a bad thing.
Less than two weeks after Sept. 11, The Washington Post reported on an e-mail written by a lobbyist and circulated at Graham's request. Graham had asked her "to convene key lobbyists to identify and rank" the regulations business most wanted to target. Among the 57 listed were parts of the Family and Medical Leave Act, food-labeling requirements, reporting toxic emissions and mine-ventilation standards. That may sound to some like a grandiose plot, but here's the genius part of smart deregulation: Instead of doing this secretly (well, OK, the memo wasn't supposed to become public), the OMB now puts all the info about who meets with Graham right up on its website, www.whitehouse.gov/omb/inforeg/regpol.html. The site offers a log of his meetings, letters he sends to agencies and general guidance he issues on rulemaking, says the WSJ.
In what way does this differ from the previous administration's policy of rounding up all of the enviro-nut jobs and nanny-state advocates to identify "loopholes" that they wished to close, previously unregulated realms to manage (remember OSHA's attmept to regulate the homes of those who worked from their house?) and otherwise boldly go where no rules had gone before? As to the public disclosure of with who Graham is meeting, it should be a refreshing change of pace from the stonewalling tactics of both the Bush and Clinton administrations when it came to disclosure. Of course, as far as Ivins is concerned, with Republicans, it's "damned if you do, damned if you don't" because she will find a way to put a negative spin on any action.
OMB Watch, a public interest group, took a close look at Graham's performance on the problem of underinflated tires: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates hundreds of people die each year as a result of underinflated tires.
Since Ivins is so down on groups that get support from business, I took a look at OMB Watch. Despite their claims to be all for openness and accountability, their financial disclosures (available at their website) are unrevealing. They don't have any reports later than 1999, and the reports they do provide block the groups that provide them with their income. Since that info was not available, I took a look at their Board of Directors. There are two board members who do not list an affiliation, and two university professors. The remaining seats are filled by the Preamble Collective, Jobs Now Coalition, Civil Rights Forum on Communications Policy, AFSCME, The Arc, Sierra Club, AFL-CIO, United Auto Workers, and Food Research and Action Center. Given the large number of unions and environmental groups running the show, it's small wonder that they would be critical of a Republican appointee.
After the big flap over bad tires on SUVs, Congress told the highway safety people to fix the problem. The safety people were fixing to require a pressure sensor in each tire with a dashboard warning to tell the driver when one was dangerously low. But no new rules can be put in place without the OK from the rules czar, and Graham told the safety people to go back to the drawing board.
In rejecting the safety folks' plan, Graham argued that they should instead allow a cheaper "indirect system" favored by automobile manufacturers, which works with anti-lock brakes. Graham fully acknowledges that the "direct" system works better, but he claims the cheaper, less effective alternative would serve as incentive for manufacturers to install anti-lock brakes, and the brakes would save more lives than the tire pressure gizmo.
No, that is incorrect. Graham did return the proposal for further review. He instructed the NHTSA to consider the alternative system, and the effects of increased antilock braking system usage, which was not considered by the NHTSA in their original report. He did not direct them to rewrite the report to suit an agenda, as Ivins implies.
Now this might make sense if anti-lock brakes saved lives. But Graham cites a study whose own author contends it does not show that anti-lock brakes would save lives.
I am not familiar with the report he cites, but there have been studies that have shown a significant reduction in multi-vehicle accidents due to the effects of ABS.
"This is hardly the first time Graham has implausibly interpreted evidence to fit his preconceived point of view against regulation," says the OMB Watch report. In 2000, while serving on the EPA's Science Advisory Board, he claimed studies showed low levels of dioxin can actually protect against cancer, that it is an "anti-carcinogen."
I always wonder if people like that would feed dioxin to their own children. According to the EPA, dioxin even at low levels is linked to cancer, infertility, immune system damage and learning disabilities. The Bush administration is dragging its feet on regulating the chemical.
There is significant doubt to the effect of dioxin on humans, other than temporary skin conditions caused by contact with large quantities of dioxin. For a dissenting view, see this report from the Ludwig von Mises Institute, regarding the largest dioxin accident in history. For a more humorous view of dioxin, see this report on dioxin levels in Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Gary Bass, chair of Citizens for Sensible Safeguards, says Graham is "a nice guy doing enormous damage. He deserves credit for more transparency at OMB so we can see how he's gutting safety, health and environmental protections. He cloaks his actions under the guise of science, but it's mostly pseudo-science."
Gary Bass is, coincidentally, the Executive Director of OMB Watch. Further, CSS doesn't have a website of their own; their website is part of the OMB Watch website. One source, one message.
I love how the left always refers to any efforts to reduce bureaucratic red tape as "gutting" regulations. Any attempt to consider the economic effects of regulations is portrayed as an effort to poison us all and pillage the land.
The OMB Watch report concludes: "By invoking anti-lock brakes, Graham gives the appearance of being chiefly driven by safety concerns although it should be remembered, this concern is expressed in the context of rejecting a safety standard. This is reminiscent of Graham's opposition to EPA's 1997 regulation to prevent against smog, which he argued would actually increase the rate of skin cancer. As with the tire pressure monitoring case, Graham did not attack the standard directly, as an industry lobbyist would, nor did he focus on costs alone. Instead, he cast himself as an advocate for greater public health while opposing the regulation. Ironically, when Graham expresses concern over health or safety, this is usually bad news.
"In playing this role, Graham frequently pits one possible health or safety measure against another, forcing an unnecessary trade-off to justify inaction, which has long been his hallmark."
Of course, any type of dissent from the prevailing views of regulatory superiority must be considered nothing more than wrongheadedness. More regulation is always better.
Once again, we have a press release masquerading as news. At least this was in the opinion section, where it belongs. (Of course, one could argue that it belongs in the comics, because it is a joke. But *I* would never suggest such a thing.)
posted at 07:00 PM | permalink | Comments (2)
Welcome to all of you visiting from Instapundit, Daily Pundit, Cut on the Bias, Craig Schamp, Ain't too Proud to Blog and Media Minded who are visiting for the first time.
Later tonight I will have a rebuttal to Molly Ivins, who seems to believe that there are no problems that cannot be solved by overregulation. I need to do a little research to back up my claims, but rest assured that the sources she cites are not the altruistic saints she portrays.
posted at 12:20 PM | permalink | Comments (0)
Welcome to the new blog. I have a new URL, a new name, a new look (courtesy of the fabulous Robyn), with the same old writing as before.
Please don't use the comments for posts earlier than this post, as they will get wiped when the comments from the old blog get imported (which should happen in a day or two).
posted at 02:24 AM | permalink | Comments (2)
Sunday, June 16, 2002
I am infected
Check out the Human Virus Scanner. Here's my result: (some of these are not accurate!)
Human Virus Scanner
The virus that have infected you will be show here along with thier cures, if known.
Viruses you suffer from:
Eat some real food. Something which you can identify the source of every ingredient, not the point of manufacture.
Gnome is better than workbench. BEOS is better than Amiga OS. The TV Modulator was a pain in the arse and an EXTERNAL power pack? I ask you. And it didn't have a built in MIDI port like some of its rivals.
Read "God's Debris" by Scott Adams (yes, the Dilbert guy)
Try MacOS X. It's based on UNIX, it has a smoother UI than Windows and it doesn't suck.
As an extra feature the boxes look nice.
Having a well-known name doesn't make it good.
Free love is passe and potentially dangerous, and patchouli smells like cat piss.
Face it, the elected government is in control. Actually that's quite scary.
Consume more stuff! It's easier to buy new stuff than to recycle.
Viruses you might suffer from:
Install the latest version of Microsoft Windows. Learn to love it.
Rule, Britannia! Britannia rule the waves! [repeat]
Life is not a game. Roll 3D6. On a 4 or more go out and do something with your life.
Stop wearing the stick-on ears.
Buy a suit. Invest your money. Eat hotdog buns on a friday.
Computer Games (90%)
Stop staring at the screen and get some fresh air. You should see a doctor about the RSI in your thumbs.
posted at 12:19 AM | permalink | Comments (0)
Use a mouse with more than one button.